Ohio State needs to keep winning if it has any hopes of a BCS championship berth and will look to cruise against a struggling Iowa offense when the Buckeyes host the Hawkeyes Saturday afternoon. Television coverage begins at 3:30 p.m. ET on ABC/ESPN2.
After starting out 4-0 with little-to-no problems, the Buckeyes faced their two biggest tests of the regular season in their last two games, when they hosted Wisconsin and traveled to face Northwestern. Ohio State came away with tight wins in each contest, downing Wisconsin by a touchdown and scoring twice in the last minute to beat Northwestern by ten. They have had a bye week to prepare for the Hawkeyes.
Iowa's season started in poor fashion, with a loss to a now-ranked Northern Illinois team renewing calls for Kirk Ferentz's job. The Hawkeyes recovered, winning their next four games (including victories over in-state rival Iowa State and conference rival Minnesota) before losing by 12 to Michigan State two weeks ago. They have also had a bye week to prepare for this contest.
Rankings and records: Ohio State is No. 4 in the AP Poll, No. 3 in the Coaches' Poll, and No. 4 in the Harris Poll Iowa is unranked. The Buckeyes are 6-0 (2-0 in the conference) while Iowa is 4-2 (1-1 in Big Ten play). Ohio State leads the all-time series 45-14-3 and has won the last three counted games between the two schools (a win in 2010 was vacated).
Vegas: Ohio State is a 16.5-point favorite. OddsShark has more.
Weather: Expected to be in the high 50s and partly cloudy with a slight chance of rain.
Three names to know
Ryan Shazier. Ohio State always has at least one really, really good linebacker, and Shazier's the guy this year. He's averaging nearly eight tackles per game and has eight for a loss and two fumbles forced.
Braxton Miller. The junior quarterback is one of the most dynamic players in college football, with a cannon for an arm coupled with an innate ability to make tacklers miss.
B.J. Lowery. If the Iowa defensive back can make some plays, the Hawkeyes could stand a chance. He has three interceptions this year and has returned two for touchdowns.
Two things at stake
Ohio State's weak schedule means they have to remain undefeated (and receive help) in order to make the national title game.
For Iowa, a win over Ohio State would be an historic upset that would likely calm down the calls for Kirk Ferentz's job.
How to witness
TV: 3:30 p.m. ET on ESPN2/ABC.
Online streaming: WatchESPN.
For all the Ohio State coverage you could ever want or need, head over to Land-Grant Holy Land. For the Iowa perspective, check out Black Heart Gold Pants. For all things Big Ten, read Off Tackle Empire.