Jody Victor : Ohio State is looking to keep its Big Ten title hopes alive as they hit the road this Saturday for a Noon ET kickoff at Illinois. OSU and Illinois will be meeting for the 95th time since the series was inaugurated in 1902. Until the series was interrupted in 2003, the two teams had played every year from 1914 to 2002.
Ohio State leads the series 60-30-4 and has a 32-12 advantage in Champaign. Between 1968 and 1982, the Buckeyes put together a 15-game winning steak against the Illini, the longest streak in the series by either team. Illinois won five in a row between 1988 and 1992. Ohio State has won three of the last four meetings, but Illinois was a 28-21 winner last year in Columbus.
The question is, which team will win the Illibuck? Illibuck is a wooden replica of a turtle presented to the winner of the Ohio State-Illinois football game. The tradition began with a live turtle in 1925. Illibuck is the second oldest trophy exchanged in the Big Ten, behind the Little Brown Jug between Minnesota and Michigan.
In the polls this week, the Buckeyes are ranked 10th in the USA Today/AFC coaches' poll, 10th in the Associated Press media poll and 10th in the Harris Poll. Illinois is unranked. In the latest installment of the BCS standings, Ohio State is 11th.
The Noon game at Memorial Stadium in Champaign will be televised by ESPN.