Northwestern has been waiting for this game a long time: since the beginning of this week, after it was clear College GameDay was coming to town. Since the team's last game two weeks ago against Maine. Since the schedules came out, and it became clear this game would have a pair of good teams and a ridiculous atmosphere. Since Northwestern started playing football well again and needed an opportunity to knock off a marquee opponent with everybody paying attention.
This is, as many have noted, possibly the biggest game in Wildcats program history, or at the very least the biggest regular season game in recent Northwestern history. And it's finally game day. Err, GameDay.
Everything y'all need to know:
Game time: 8 p.m. Eastern, 7 p.m. Evanston time
Announcers: Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit, Heather Cox as sideline reporter
Radio: WMVP-ESPN1000 (Dave Eanet, Ted Albrecht, Sam Valenzisi) | SPORTS USA (Adam Amin, Gary Barnett, Troy West)
Kickoff forecast: 72 degrees, thunderstorms, 70 percent chance of precipitation
Odds: Ohio State -7, -280
Rankings (AP/USA Today): Northwestern, 16/15, Ohio State, 4/3
What this means to each team
Northwestern: Northwestern has a chance to change its program. Really. No hyperbole. A win over an opponent of this caliber is rare at NU -- no wins over AP Top 5 teams in the modern era of NU football -- and would bolster the upward momentum the program has. And since this is the highlight game of the week with College GameDay and the ABC Primetime slot, everybody's watching and can see the change.
A win would also put Northwestern well ahead of every other team in the Legends Division a race that many people doesn't think has a true frontrunner. A win start the Cats out 1-0 in-conference and would be by far the biggest of any team in that division. A loss, though, is expected, so wouldn't be a huge downer.
Ohio State: Urban Meyer's squad is looking to stay undefeated in his tenure, but it won't be easy: Northwestern is actually the highest ranked team they've faced under his watch. The Buckeyes aren't just the favorites for a Big Ten title, with their ticket to the Big Ten Championship Game practically stamped after beating Wisconsin last week, they're a contender for a national title. A loss here drops them out of the mix. In fact, since Northwestern might be their toughest opponent, a close win might not even be that helpful -- its in their best interest to crush the Wildcats.
Ohio State blog: Land-Grant Holy Land
Northwestern injury report: Out: Sean McEvilly, Jaylen Prater. (Venric Mark is a full go after missing three games and is expected to start at running back and return punts.)
- Bill Connelly's very very good preview
- Sippin' on Purple/Land-Grant Holy Land collaborative preview
- Northwestern offense vs. Ohio State defense
- Ohio State offense vs. Northwestern defense
- Venric Mark injury update
- GameDay signs thread
- Northwestern's uniforms?
- Why this game is so important
- Prediction thread
- Full Ohio State-Northwestern StoryStream with all this and links to jokey things too
More from Sippin' On Purple:
- Northwestern-Ohio State: Previews/Predictions time for Buckeyes-Wildcats!
- On being in New York for Ohio State-Northwestern, the game that could change Wildcats football
- Northwestern vs. Ohio State preview: Three questions for the Wildcats' defense
- Northwestern apparently going ALL-BLACK EVERYTHING uniforms against Ohio State
- Northwestern vs. Ohio State: College GameDay is seriously, really still a thing, and we're maybe Chicago's Big Ten Team