10/05/2013 10:04 AM
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No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes at No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats
Saturday at 8 p.m. ET, ABC
Ohio State has won 28 of the past 29 meetings between these two teams, with its only loss coming in 2004 in Evanston. Since then, the Buckeyes have won four straight over the Wildcats by an average of 43 points per game.
This is the first time "College GameDay" has been on the Northwestern campus since 1995, and the Wildcats have a strategic edge coming off a bye week to prepare while Ohio State is coming off an important 31-24 win over Wisconsin.
Northwestern has won 14 of its past 17 games dating back to last year, and will welcome the return of explosive running back Venric Mark (1,366 yards rushing last year), who has missed the past three games with a leg injury.
The Buckeyes also welcomed a big return last week: Quarterback Braxton Miller showed no signs of rust as he threw for a career-high four touchdown passes while adding 83 yards rushing in the Buckeyes' win over the Badgers. While the defense gave up some yards through the air, it held the vaunted Badgers running attack to just 104 yards, which was 245 yards below its season average.
While many teams might have a letdown coming off a big win, this prime-time battle will keep the Buckeyes focused. Plus, the Wildcats have not faced any opponent near the Buckeyes' talent level as this is the first top-five team Northwestern has played since 2010 -- a 70-23 loss to Wisconsin.
Pick: Ohio State 38, Northwestern 24