OSU Notebook: Big 10 rivalry, injury updates and more

July 26, 2013

CHICAGO - No one will say it, but the Big Ten didn't expand and create a season-ending conference championship football game for it not to include the league's two flagship programs, Ohio State and Michigan.
Two years in, though, that's exactly what's happened. And 2013 provides the last chance for a rare Ohio State-Michigan double to happen as the schools will be in the same division following next year's new realignment. It's a long way from now to the first weekend in December, but it certainly seems possible that Ohio State and Michigan will be good enough to play two weeks in a row. 
"It would be great for the fans," Ohio State coach Urban Meyer said. "And it would be terrible for the health of the coaches." 
Stress and spotlight would be at an all-time high if this year's game in Ann Arbor serves as an appetizer for another in Indianapolis. An automatic BCS berth would be on the line, and it's possible one team would be playing for a trip to the BCS title game. 
With its greatest rival having a chance to derail that.
"It would be weird," Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller said. "You would have to prepare. It would be a little bit of pressure."
Said Ohio State safety Christian Bryant: "If that happened, I think the second one would be more intense. You'd have one team angry from losing the first time, and both teams would know exactly what is at stake. So much would be on the line. It would be a battle."
Classify the possibility under "good problems to have." It's certainly a storyline worth watching. 
ON THE MEND -- Meyer said Ohio State senior center Corey Linsley is "about 85 percent" recovered from foot surgery and should be back to action during the Buckeyes training camp which begins in early August. 
"Corey is a freak," Ohio State tackle Jack Mewhort said. "He'll be back. He's better and getting better every day. He'll be in there when we need him."
Ohio State returns four offensive line starters and Meyer has said the potential is there for the group to be one of the best in the Big Ten and in the nation. But he remains concerned by the vacancy at right tackle, and that becomes one of August camp's biggest battles after nothing was resolved in the spring. 
Sophomores Chase Farris and Taylor Decker are the leading candidates.
"We need somebody to step up," Meyer said. 
HIGH PRAISE -- New Wisconsin coach Gary Andersen said he believes Wisconsin senior linebacker Chris Borland has the tools "to be one of the best linebackers in the country."
The senior from Kettering Alter High School near Dayton takes that both as a compliment and as a challenge. 
Borland has overcome three shoulder surgeries -- he missed all of 2010 -- to earn a fifth season in the Wisconsin program and a chance to be a repeat All-Big Ten selection.
"I'm fortunate," Borland. "There was a time I thought I'd have to move on because of the injuries. I've learned to take nothing for granted and enjoy every day, every opportunity."
Wisconsin plays a night game at Ohio State in the Big Ten opener for both teams on Sept. 28, a game that serves both as a homecoming and an in-state curtain call for Borland.  
"Of course we're taking them one game at a time," Borland said. "But if I said anything about that one besides that it's really big, I'd be lying."