The media blitz is starting early.
No. 4 Ohio State travels to Evanston this week as the No. 16 Northwestern Wildcats host one of their biggest games in recent memory. ESPN's "College Gameday" will be broadcasting from Evanston on Saturday morning, and the game will also be nationally televised Saturday night. Still days away from the game, the hype is building at a pretty furious pace.
Monday afternoon, both Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald and Ohio State coach Urban Meyer joined ESPN U's "College Football Daily" to discuss the upcoming Big Ten clash.
"You want to be on this type of stage," Fitzgerald said on the show, referring to all the extra attention. "This is why you want to play Big Ten football. And for our guys, in particular, an opportunity to compete against a team that's outstanding on this stage."
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Meyer, leading the 5-0 Buckeyes, had plenty of good things to say about the 4-0 Wildcats, heaping praise on Fitzgerald along the way.
"Outstanding football team. They're so well coached offensively and defensively," Meyer said. "They don't do a ton on defense, but they're really well coached, where they're supposed to be, they give up some yards but not points. And offensively, it's almost a mirror. They run a lot of the same stuff we do. And I think they have one of the best coaches in the country."
The Buckeyes are coming off a huge win over Wisconsin on Saturday, a big-time statement by Ohio State that they are the top dog in the conference. Meyer made a point to say that he hopes his team never gets tired of winning. The Buckeyes impressed a lot of folks Saturday, including their next opponent.
"It was a great football game, two very, very good football teams going at each other," Fitzgerald said of Ohio State's win. "The explosive plays, big plays that Ohio State's offense was able to accomplish really was the difference in that game. And then Ohio State's great job defensively, really limiting one of the most dynamic running teams in Wisconsin and holding them down to be one dimensional."
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The challenges are steep for both sides. For Northwestern, they must take on one of best teams in the country that has shown no signs of slowing down this season. For Ohio State, they need to go on the road and play a top-20 team, certainly a lot different from their only other road contest this year, when the Buckeyes traveled to Cal.
"This will be a little bit tougher environment," Meyer said. "I'm hoping somehow there's a lot of scarlet sneaking in to that stadium. But it's going to be an environment against two top 20 teams that are fighting for a championship. And that's really what college football, especially this time of year, is all about."