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Football: Ohio State versus Nebraska shows why Big Ten is top conference in college football

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OSU head coach Urban Meyer stands with the Buckeyes before their game against Northwestern on Oct. 29, 2016 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 24-20. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo Editor

OSU head coach Urban Meyer stands with the Buckeyes before their game against Northwestern on Oct. 29, 2016 at Ohio Stadium. The Buckeyes won 24-20. Credit: Mason Swires | Assistant Photo Editor

Saturday will mark the fifth all-time meeting between the Ohio State and Nebraska football teams. Although the Buckeyes hold a better record all-time over the Cornhuskers with a 3-1 mark, this year will see a pair of Top 10 conference teams squaring off in a year of Big Ten dominance.

The Big Ten is tied with the Southeastern Conference and the Atlantic Coast Conference with five teams ranked in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, giving these three conferences a majority of the best teams in the nation. Two other conference teams join OSU and Nebraska in the top 10 — Michigan and Wisconsin.

So far, OSU has faced Wisconsin in a primetime showdown in Madison, which also served as the home for that morning’s ESPN College Gameday. In a thrilling game, the Buckeyes pulled out a 30-23 overtime victory. Nebraska dropped its contest with the Badgers last Saturday, and will be looking to regain some momentum late in the season.

OSU will face Michigan at the end of the season, but all eyes in Columbus are falling on the task at hand for the Buckeyes. OSU coach Urban Meyer said he knows this matchup will be a tough one while noting just how strong the Big Ten is this season.

The contest this Saturday will mark the first evening home game for OSU this season, and Meyer knows how important this game will be.

“Our primetime game against Nebraska — very good team,” he said. “Really impressed with our conference, with the quality of play, players and teams we’re playing, and these guys are really good.”

On Monday at the Cornhuskers weekly athletics press conference, Nebraska coach Mike Riley said his team will be ready to face whatever OSU will throw at them. After going 6-7 in his first year at the helm, Riley and his team are out to a 7-1 start.

When asked about the competition around him and the rise of Nebraska to national relevance once again, he put it plainly.

“You either rise up and compete, or get left in the dust,” Riley said.

This kind of swagger can be found not only at Nebraska and OSU, but also the rest of the Big Ten. All told, the conference has a total of 68 wins, tying it with the ACC for the most wins out of the Power Five conferences. Michigan is leading the Big Ten as one of five undefeated teams left in the FBS.

With the initial playoff polls now released with the Big Ten currently in with Michigan at No. 3, and OSU, Wisconsin and Nebraska looking in, it seems for sure a conference opponent or the Buckeyes themselves will be reaching for playoff glory in the near future.

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