The parallels between this year's Big Ten championship game in Indianapolis and 2014 are amazing.
No. 4 Wisconsin and No. 8 Ohio State are not only playing for the conference title again this Saturday, but both have the opportunity to reach the American Football Playoff.
Each team has a prominent broker. This year, both are freshmen.
And Ohio State enters the game with uncertainty in the quarterback due to an injury.
Already in 2014, J.T. Barrett suffered an ankle fracture in the final game of the regular season against Michigan and Cardale Jones left the bench to lead the Buckeyes national championship race that began with a 59-0 Wisconsin loss in the Big Ten title game.
Barrett is now senior, and was also injured in the regular season finale against Michigan, a 31-20 victory for Ohio State. This time, Barrett has a knee injury and is considered likely against Wisconsin.
There is a possibility that Ohio State may need to call freshman Dwayne Haskins if Barrett can not go. Haskins arrived in Michigan during the third quarter last Saturday and led the return of Ohio State in the fourth quarter that resulted in his sixth consecutive victory in the rivalry game.
All this sounds familiar. And yet, coaches and players who still exist insist that past history – which includes the 30-23 victory of Ohio State in Wisconsin a year ago at the last team meeting – has nothing to do with the present .
"It's a different year and a different team," said Ohio State center Billy Price, who started the 2014 game.
Paul Chryst was not the head coach in 2014 when Wisconsin suffered the beating of Ohio State in the championship game, but is obviously familiar with what happened.
"I think you always get out of all your experiences," Chryst said. "This game is about these two teams this year, both teams won the right to play in this game and, obviously, playing for a Big Ten championship is a big business."
"It's about this year, this moment."  The Badgers (12-0, 9-0) Big Ten) enter the contest (8 pm ET on Fox) against the Buckeyes (10-2, 8-1) with an unblemished record and, nevertheless, there are many skeptics They reject Wisconsin's postseason possibilities, they say the Big Ten West Division was unsatisfactory and the timeline was weak.
"I do not want to get caught too much," said Badgers cornerback Derrick Tindal. game. I feel that is why we have been able to play so well up to this point. Nobody is worried about what the world thinks of us. We only worry about who is in the locker room. We just have to keep doing it. "
Wisconsin offensive tackle Michael Deiter said:" There's definitely a lot at stake. "The most important thing is to win the Big Ten. That's something we want to do. you notice, but there's no reason to think too much, all we want to do is win Big Ten. "
The Badgers' best chance to win on Saturday night revolves around the outstanding first-year running back Jonathan Taylor, who has run behind a mbadive offensive line for 1,806 yards and leads the Big Ten in running, as he did Melvin Gordon of Wisconsin in 2014.
Wisconsin will also try to control the line of scrimmage on both sides of the ball. Their defense leads the Big Ten in the least number of rushing yards (80.5), total yards (236.9) and points (12.0) allowed per game.
"They are – I can not tell you the exact ranking – but I think" I do not number 1 at all, "said Ohio State coach Urban Meyer." And very good expert athletes. … giant offensive linemen in Wisconsin. And obviously it's a very good challenge against an elite runner. "
The No Big Ten team has made more trips to the championship than the Badger's five, including three of the last four years.
approach it the same way we have all year and go out and try to score a point more than the team against us, "said Wisconsin safety Joe Ferguson." That's what we will try to do against Ohio State. We do not need to change our formula. It has been running all year. "
Ohio State opened the week as a 6.5 point favorite, the Buckeyes are 1-1 in the Big Ten title games, winning it in 2014.
The obvious question surrounding to Ohio State before the game will be the state of Barrett, the four-year opener who tied last Saturday with Art Schlichter, a school record for quarterbacks with 36 wins.
The cartilage damage not previously revealed in the right knee Barrett, aggravated when he was hit on the bench in Michigan while he warmed up, is apparently something he has tried all year.
But until then he had not hit him on the field.Barrett leads the Big Ten on touchdown pbades On the road he has broken numerous school records and Big Ten.
If Barrett can not play or is limited, Haskins showed in Michigan that he is ready to take the reins.
" Q Whoever is there, I feel safe, "said Ohio State wide receiver Terry McLaurin. "I know that the J.T. competitor is going to do whatever it takes to play in this game."
Barrett is a big part of the Ohio State offense, which leads the Big Ten in most statistical categories. But it is based on a solid racing game led by two capable players.
Freshman J.K. Dobbins is second in the Big Ten behind Taylor in rushing yards with 1,190 yards and Mike Weber in the second year has run the same at the end of the season.
Defensively, Ohio State is strong up front with its package of "runners" that it will try to get after Wisconsin quarterback Alex Hornibrook (21 touchdowns, 13 interceptions) and decelerate Taylor.
"This is going to be a great challenge for us as a defense," said Ohio State linebacker Chris Worley. "It's going to be a battle.
" You can not worry about the playoffs. Our message has been defeated Wisconsin. Our message has done everything possible to win the game that week. "