Bowling Green Big Underdogs in Columbus

The Associated Press
Friday, October 6, 2006; 4:19 PM

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- Bowling Green coach Gregg Brandon isn't expecting much support for his Falcons when they face No. 1 Ohio State.

"I'll guarantee you that Saturday there's not going to be too many cheering for us," Brandon said, thinking only of those 100,000-plus scarlet-and-gray souls crammed into Ohio Stadium.

He couldn't be more wrong.

There will be lots of people in places such as Auburn, Ala., Morgantown, W.Va., and Gainesville, Fla., rooting like crazy for the Falcons. They may not know where Bowling Green is _ it's just a short drive south of Toledo _ but they do know if the Falcons can pull off a colossal upset, No. 1 will be up for grabs.

How unlikely is a Bowling Green victory? The Falcons are 35-point underdogs and no Ohio school has beaten the mighty Buckeyes since the Yeomen of Oberlin hung a 7-6 setback on them in 1921.

Ohio State has gone 31-0-1 against schools within the state's borders since. The Buckeyes refrained from playing any in-state schools from 1934 (a 76-0 victory over Western Reserve) until 1992, when economics made it necessary and prudent to start again.

The Falcons, of the Mid-American Conference, will receive $650,000 for the short road trip.

"I've told our players it's probably a once-in-a-lifetime shot, to play a game like this," Brandon said.

Ohio State (5-0) is coming off a brutal first month in which it played three ranked teams (No. 2 Texas, No. 24 Penn State, No. 13 Iowa), two on the road.

So far, it's been no contest. The Buckeyes are averaging just over 32 points a game while holding opponents to under 10 points a game.

The Bowling Green game is the first of six for Ohio State leading up to what could be a huge Big Ten showdown on Nov. 18 against archrival Michigan. Before getting to that game, however, the Buckeyes play the Falcons (3-2) and then the bottom five teams in the Big Ten _ Michigan State, Indiana, Minnesota, Illinois and Northwestern.

To keep their players motivated, Ohio State's coaches have turned practices into boot camp.

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