Five storylines: Ohio State-Michigan State 

September, 27, 2012
9/27/12
11:00
AM ET
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Looking at the hot topics and pressing issues as Ohio State gets ready to travel to Michigan State for the Big Ten opener on Saturday at Spartan Stadium (TV: ABC, 3:30 p.m.).

B1G showcase: The Buckeyes can’t officially win the conference, but they figure to have a strong influence on the outcome. If it weren’t for the Buckeyes, the Spartans would have the highest rating in the league heading into Big Ten play and have established themselves as a threat to win a championship. The conference has obviously had some forgettable moments in September, but it will close the month with its only meeting of ranked opponents and a chance to establish a pecking order on the field instead of in the polls.

Something has to give: Nobody has been better at stopping the run in the Big Ten than the Spartans. Only one team has been more effective with its rushing attack than Ohio State, and after four games of shuffling due to injury, it should be even tougher to slow down with a full complement of tailbacks for the first time all season. In a classic case of strength against strength, the team that has the most success in the ground game when the Buckeyes have possession figures to have the edge on the scoreboard as well. The return of Carlos Hyde to partner up with Jordan Hall and quarterback Braxton Miller in the Ohio State backfield couldn’t come at a better time.

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