Before discussing anything around Ohio State football, I want to extend my condolences to Ohio State linebacker Curtis Grant and his family on the passing of Curtis Grant's father. Hope Curtis Grant is doing as well as he can, after losing his father.
After a bye week, Ohio State welcomes Iowa into Ohio Stadium for the first time since the 2009 season. The 2009 game against Iowa was extremely important to Ohio State, a 27-24 overtime victory. While the 2009 game versus Iowa went into overtime, sending Ohio State to The 2010 Rose Bowl for winning the conference, this game will take on importance, albeit on a different scale.
The national narrative of the 2013 Ohio State season has been if Ohio State will be able to earn a spot in the BCS national championship game if the Buckeyes go undefeated. Currently ranked third in the USA Today Coaches Poll, Ohio State needs to win out against all remaining opponents, and win impressively. This is where Iowa comes into the picture.
Style points are necessary for Ohio State to be in the national championship picture. Alabama, Oregon, and Clemson are all presently favored as national championship contenders over Ohio State. While I am not advocating that Ohio State try to embarrass or humiliate Iowa, I believe Ohio State needs to come out with an emphatic performance against the Hawkeyes to get their name back into the national conversation.
This weekend, the national focus will be on Florida State @ Clemson. What could be better for Ohio State, to have a strong performance against Iowa at, as the lead-in game into the national game of the week with Florida State/Clemson at ?
Again, I am not suggesting that Ohio State try to embarrass Iowa. Winning is the most important thing. What I will suggest is Ohio State needs to have more of a performance reminiscent of the September victories against San Diego State or Florida A&M, versus the type of recent victories Ohio State had against Wisconsin or Northwestern.
An Iowa player I will keep an eye on - senior TE C.J. Fiedorowicz. Fiedorowicz may be a familiar name for Ohio State fans, as Ohio State actively recruited him years ago, as an Illinois prep player. While Iowa has several Ohioans on its roster, none of the players were offered scholarships by the Buckeyes.
Substance is key for the Buckeyes, but offering it up with a little bit of sizzle certainly cannot hurt.