By now, you probably know that no Republican has won the White House without winning Ohio. The Buckeye State is so important that Mitt Romney of Massachusetts and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin have visited a total of 45 times. Ann Romney has visited the state once. Ohio is so vital that the Republican ticket wouldn’t dare do anything to jeopardize its prospects. Even if it means possibly throwing your home state’s football team under the bus.

Ryan was on the “Today Show” this morning touting Romney’s performance at last night’s debate when Matt Lauer put him on the spot. On Nov. 17 — 11 days after the election — there will be a football game pitting Wisconsin against Ohio State. “I want you to tell the people of Ohio,” Lauer asked, “who’s going to win that game?”

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

RYAN: They spoiled us last year, we spoiled them the year before... It really depends on who has the better record is going to lose, because that’s what happens.
LAUER: Who’s going to win the game, Congressman? Tell the people of Ohio who's going to win the game.
RYAN: It always depends on who’s got the better record. … It’s in Madison this year; home-field advantage works well, but if we’re doing better, they’ll beat us, and if they have a better record, then we’ll beat them — that’s always how it goes before the Badgers and the Buckeyes. How’s that for an answer?
LAUER: It’s a terrible answer. That’s OK, I’m out of time — you’re lucky on that one.

There were laughs all around. But with 18 electoral votes and the keys to the Oval Office on the line, making a choice between his home state and the Buckeye State is no laughing matter.