Buckeyes fans and players have spent the better part of the last few seasons steering clear of saying they have a rivalry with the Badgers or even admit they think about Wisconsin at all. Well, thanks to Corey Brown that's out the window now as he readily admits to hating Wisconsin.
In the article Brown is quoted as saying:
“I don’t want to go on record saying that I hate Wisconsin more than Michigan,” Buckeyes wide receiver Corey Brown said, “but I hate Wisconsin just as much as Michigan.”
Wow, that's a hell of a level of hatred to take it to. I mean for about as long as any of us have been alive it's always been the "Ohio" barbs vs. "T.S.U.N." barbs and so much verbal and physical history between Ohio State and Michigan that it's amazing to think Ohio State even has room for another piece of hatred in their hearts.
Even head coach Urban Meyer, in his 1st year at the helm of Ohio State has admitted this game is something the players and he see as a rivalry.
"Pretty good. I'm learning about it. I think they stole a season," Meyer said about the rivalry at his weekly press conference. "They (the players) were telling me that story a little bit. But it's interesting hearing our players talk about it, especially ones that I listen to, guys that have been in some of those big games. So it's real interesting."
"But this is a rivalry game, and it's a rivalry game because you have to understand who you're playing and what they've done the last few years. So they're a good very good team."
So, what's behind the recent up tick in the rivalry? Perhaps it has to do with the fact that in the past 11 meetings since 1999 the Badgers own the most wins over the Buckeyes of any Big Ten team? Or perhaps it's the fact that most every one of the 11 games have been close as well?
Wisconsin owns a 5-6 record against the Buckeyes since 1999 and that's more wins than the school to the north of OSU can boast. For a lot of casual fans that's difficult to believe to say the least, but it's the truth.
Those 11 games have been won by an average of 11 points and 5 of the 11 games have been won by single digits. Only the 1999 meeting was a true blowout with Wisconsin winning 42-17 over the Buckeyes.
But, more than all of that it's what's happened the last two times these teams have tangled that's made this a true and bitter rivalry. Neither side has forgotten the 2010 meeting where No. 18 Wisconsin upended the "perfect season" for No. 1 ranked Ohio State as David Gilreath returned the opening kickoff and walked on to a 31-18 victory. Of course last season was the Buckeyes revenge with the last minute hail-mary 33-29 victory over Wisconsin.
The last piece of the puzzle is the rivalry between the fan bases, with both sides holding not a lot of love for the other and a lot of heat being thrown around. It's safe to say that neither side can stand the others head coach these days, let alone the the fan bases.
One of the interesting things this week is you've heard the term hate mixed in with the rivalry on the Buckeyes side of things, however there seems to be an aura of respect on both sides as well, something Wisconsin running back Montee Ball admitted to during a conference call earlier this week, calling it a "rivalry of respect."
No matter what has happened in the past this season could add even more to the rivalry because of the unique circumstances surrounding this season for Ohio State. We all know by know the Buckeyes are ineligible for the postseason, however they can still win the Leaders Division title with a win against Wisconsin. On the other hand Wisconsin will be going to the championship game as the representatives of the Leaders division having clinched the best record of the eligible teams.
So, for Ohio State their shot at an undefeated season is on the line yet again and for Wisconsin it's a chance to silence the critics and take down their undefeated rivals for the 2nd time in three seasons. No matter what happens it's bound to be a memorable moment for one side or the other.