In the peanut gallery…

Allison Mueller

Each week sports reporters Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel will face off on a hot topic in sports. The world of sports is changing quickly and constantly, but we want to slow it down and take a better look at the juiciest gossip, scandal, rumor or issue that is making headlines this week. Lambert and Thiel will take different sides and battle it out, telling you why you they are right.

This week’s topic: Ohio State vs. Michigan State

Last Monday, Ohio State University and Michigan State University were No. 1 and No. 2 in the Associated Press Top 25 in college football, the first time a school from the Big Ten conference has been ranked that high since 2006. This week, Matthew Lambert and Sam Thiel voice their opinions about which team will end the season at the top. Let’s talk about it… (Recap by Sam Thiel)

Matthew Lambert/Winonan

For Big Ten football fans, recent years haven’t been very good to us. Now mind you, Ohio State won last season, but before that it was 2002, and, again, it was Ohio State. Now, the top two teams in the country are Ohio State and Michigan State, and both teams able to make a serious push towards the championship this season. I’m skeptical though of Ohio State and I have a feeling the Spartans will be hoisting the trophy when it’s all said and done.

First off, their schedule is a breeze, but not so easy they won’t be hindered come playoff decision time. All of their tougher games come at home, including the important Nov. 21 matchup against Ohio State. Watch the Spartans roll through their opponents for the number one spot in the playoff.

Second, the Spartans have a lot more stability within their roster. Now comparing coaches is ridiculous. Mark Dantonio and Urban Meyer are quite possibly two of the best ever and have game plans that normal fans never understand, but the Buckeyes have a huge problem at the worst possible position to have a problem at: quarterback.

J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones are two efficient quarterbacks, but it has to kill their confidence in what they are doing to them. Meyer, name a starter and let’s move on. Dantonio has no doubt who is starter is at quarterback, which leads me to my next point.

Connor Cook will be a dark horse candidate for the Heisman this season. He will have an outstanding senior year and ride that momentum into the NFL Draft, but until then, his stability at quarterback and game managing skills will be essential for the Spartans. In his career, Cook is 23-3, 2-0 in bowl games, has thrown for 6,063 yards, 47 touchdowns and 15 interceptions. Those are very important numbers. A quarterback who has won a lot of football games and rarely turns the ball over. I’ll take him on my team any day.

Sam Thiel/Winonan

With former Heisman trophy winners and national championships in their past, the players on Urban Meyers’ Ohio State Buckeyes team know how to win.

Coming off a dominant season that culminated in a 42-20 victory over the University of Oregon in the National Championship game a year ago, the Buckeyes headed into the new season with high hopes of repeating the taste of championship glory.

The Big Ten division has always played second fiddle to the Southeastern Conference (SEC) for the last decade, with teams such as Florida, Alabama and Auburn winning National Championships every single year. Until Urban Meyer came to Columbus.

In Meyer’s three years as head coach of the Buckeyes, Ohio State has claimed Division Championships in all three years and recorded 24 consecutive victories.

The Buckeyes are surrounded with talent. Defensive end Joey Bosa, halfbacks Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson and wide receiver Corey Smith may have started the season on the bench with suspensions, but they will return before the season is over. Running back Ezekiel Elliott has made himself a household name in the college football world after his performance in the National Championship game.

The only problem for the Buckeye offense is at the quarterback and with two quarterbacks to choose from in Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett, most teams would be lucky to have one good quarterback, let alone two.

Finally, the schedule works in Ohio State’s favor more than Michigan State. The Buckeyes play one ranked team during the regular season, the Nov. 21 game against the Spartans. The Buckeyes were also projected to win all 12 of their games in the regular season by double-digit points, according to the Las Vegas Superbook. That’s dominance.