Column:

Big Ten prediction — and 10 things to know about Ohio State and Wisconsin.

Ten things to know about a Big Ten title game that features two top-10 teams:

1. J.T. Barrett really wants to play. Ohio State’s fifth-year quarterback got his right knee ’scoped Sunday. Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer gushed over Barrett’s determination to suit up, saying he has been getting “15 hours of treatment a day. … Every time I walked by the training room, he was there … when I get in at 6 and when I go home at night.”

Meyer said that Barrett practiced in full Thursday, adding that “it’s not normal” for a player to have such a high pain threshold.

Other coaches say they have seen players line up six days after knee surgery, provided that the knee does not swell. It’s case by case.

And, yes, for those wondering about the whole student-athlete thing: Barrett was not available Friday to discuss this, but he reportedly is taking two online classes this semester. And people can use iPads to study, analyze film or play Candy Crush while they’re getting treatment on a knee.

2. Barrett might be limited as a rusher. And that could be significant because in big games, the Buckeyes want the ball in his hands. He carried it 17 times (95 yards) against Penn State and went for 67 yards on 15 carries at Michigan.

3. Wisconsin is having an easy time blocking out all the insults and playoff speculation. ESPN’s Tim Tebow, a Florida/SEC alum, said Friday that Alabama “would probably beat the brakes off” Wisconsin and that the Badgers, based on his film analysis, “are not one of the four best teams.”

Badgers coach Paul Chryst, while cautioning that he did not want to speak for his players Friday, said: “It has not been hard for our group to be able to lock in to this week. … It's all about winning the Big Ten championship. And that's huge. And what comes after that, whatever it is, we’ll embrace it.”

Ranked fourth by the CFP selection committee, Wisconsin will make college football’s final four with a victory. No. 8 Ohio State might need to win impressively to leap No. 5 Alabama if the other league title games hold to form.

4. Wisconsin is as consistent as oatmeal. Ohio State is sweet and sour. The 12-0 Badgers have not trailed in the fourth quarter of a game this season. Oklahoma and Iowa crushed the 10-2 Buckeyes but they lead the Big Ten in scoring (43.8 points per game) and made Rutgers, Maryland, Nebraska, Michigan State and Illinois look like Division II teams.

“Ohio State has this wild inconsistency between their best and being beatable,” Fox Sports analyst Joel Klatt said. “I think Wisconsin is the exact opposite. It is the same team every snap, every down, every week.”

5. Expect to see plenty of Dwayne Haskins. The redshirt freshman quarterback has completed a remarkable 70.2 percent of passes this season (40-for-57) but doesn’t pose as much of a running threat as Barrett does.

“Haskins is talented, but you can tell the coaches are much more comfortable with the veteran,” BTN analyst Gerry DiNardo said. “They simplified the offense (at Michigan). There were some non-executing option plays — they look like the option but the quarterback is not reading (the defense). It’s predetermined who will carry the ball.”

6. Meyer isn’t playing head games with the media and public. Asked if Haskins could be part of the game plan even if Barrett is fully healthy, the coach replied: “Oh, sure. Absolutely.”

7. Wisconsin is dealing with new injuries. What else is new, right? This team kept cruising after losing top linebacker Jack Cichy and deep threat Quintez Cephus. The latest man to go down, tight end Zander Neuville, is lost for the season with a right leg injury.

The Badgers will miss his blocking ability and hope the 236-pound Kyle Penniston can pick up the slack.

8. Chryst provided a bit of comic relief Friday. When a reporter called Ohio State “one of the most talented teams in college football,” the Wisconsin coach interjected: “I know.”

9. Wisconsin does have one huge issue. The Badgers have turned it over 21 times, second in the league to Illinois’ 26. Alex Hornibrook had thrown at least one interception in eight straight Big Ten games until last Saturday at Minnesota. Freshman back Jonathan Taylor has lost five fumbles.

10. The pick: Wisconsin. The Badgers (six-point underdogs) are way better than Tebow thinks. The defense is elite and the rushing attack has been held south of 168 yards only once this season, by Northwestern (109). The Buckeyes pick on weaklings, but Wisconsin is no joke. Wisconsin 27, Ohio State 24.

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Twitter @TeddyGreenstein

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