Less than 24 hours from now, one of the great chess matches of the 2013 college football season will be underway. At Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Ohio State's sledgehammer running game takes on Michigan State and its iron wall of a defensive front.
Take a look at some of the stats:
Ohio State rushing offense (321.25 yards per game, 2nd nationally) vs. Michigan State rushing defense (64.75, 1st)
Ohio State yards per rush (7.05, 1st) vs. Michigan State yards per carry allowed (2.23, 1st)
Ohio State total offense (530.5, 6th) vs. Michigan State total defense (237.7, 1st)
Ohio State scoring offense (48.2 points per game, 3rd) vs. Michigan State scoring defense (11.8, 4th)
Ohio State yards per play (7.33, 4th) vs. Michigan State yards per play allowed (3.77, 1st)
Ohio State passing efficiency (163.99, 7th) vs. Michigan State defensive passing efficiency (91.79, 1st)
Ohio State third down conversions (52.05 percent, 9th) vs. Michigan State third down defense (28.73, 2nd)
Ohio State first downs offense (26.2 per game, 9th) vs. Michigan State first downs defense (14.1, 2nd)
Ohio State red zone touchdown percentage (83.93, 1st) vs. Michigan State red zone defense (43.48, 6th)
Ohio State rushes of 10+ yards (130, 1st) vs. Michigan State rushes of 10+ yards allowed (19, 1st)
That's 10 categories where each unit ranks among the top 10 nationally. Michigan State holds the edge in six, Ohio State owns three and the clubs share a first place ranking in offensive/defensive yards per rush.
Think about it, can you remember the last time you saw a game where there was a difference of nearly five yards per rush lining up on opposite sides of the line of scrimmage?
“This is why you coach,” Ohio State offensive coordinator Tom Herman told the Detroit Free Press. “These are the games your competitive nature can come out a little bit and say, ‘I’m going to have my offense, my checkers, my pieces are going to be more prepared and play harder and longer and with better technique and effort than yours.’
“At the end of the day, there’s only a few reasons to live this crazy life that we do. … Bankers don’t get to do this. They don’t get to go compete in Indianapolis against the No. 1 defense possibly in America and say — come out hopefully on top — and say, ‘My guys did that.’ ”
I don't know where you live, but chances are the weather should be awful on Saturday night. So settle in and feast your eyes upon one of the best schematic chess matches we'll see all year between two smart coordinators - stacked with talented, experienced rosters - before one or both of them take head coaching jobs.
The Big Ten Championship kicks off at 8:17 p.m. ET on FOX.