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Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes plan for Michigan State week in flux

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Ohio State is entering a pivotal week. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Scarlet Sunrise

Scarlet Sunrise: Buckeyes plan for Michigan State week in flux

Good morning, Ohio State fans, and welcome to the Scarlet Sunrise. Football will always be our focus, but every day we’ll cover news, notes and analysis from across Buckeyes sports. Join us each morning to get caught up on everything you missed in the world of Ohio State football, recruiting, basketball and more.

Buckeyes plan for Michigan State week in flux

Ohio State football is officially sidelined right now, as the program cancelled its game against Illinois that was scheduled for Saturday and paused all team activity until further notice due to an uptick in positive COVID-19 cases. The Buckeyes did not reach the threshold to cancel the game against the Illini, and they still could have played. But the administration and coaching staff, along with medical professionals, thought a cancellation was the right thing to do.

Now, the biggest questions remain. Can the Buckeyes get back on the field this week? Will they travel to Michigan State to take on the Spartans? Will the Buckeyes be eligible for the Big Ten title game? And most importantly: Are all Buckeyes who have tested positive on track to fully recover?

There are plenty of questions to be asked, and the Buckeyes enter a huge week in their season, which seems to be hanging in the balance over the next few days.

Miss any of the coverage surrounding the program this weekend? We have you covered:

Polls even more meaningless than ever for Buckeyes

The health and safety of the Ohio State players and staff is the most important part of the season right now, not the pending trip to Michigan State this weekend or the latest polls that came out Sunday.

And the polls mean even less than they usually do for the program. Still, the Buckeyes are right in the thick of the College Football Playoff conversation despite the uncertainty, sliding down a spot to No. 4 in the latest Amway Coaches Poll. The Buckeyes remained No. 3 in the AP Poll.

Alabama retained the top spot after bulldozing rival Auburn in the Iron Bowl. The Crimson Tide are followed by Notre Dame, Clemson, Ohio State and Florida. Texas A&M is No. 5 in the AP Poll. Ohio State still received one first-place vote in the Coaches Poll but none in the AP Poll.

Nov. 29 Poll (Coaches | AP)

No. 1 – Alabama

No. 2 – Notre Dame

No. 3 – Clemson (Coaches)/Ohio State (AP)

No. 4 – Ohio State (Coaches)/Clemson (AP)

No. 5 – Florida (Coaches)/Texas A&M (AP)

Buckeyes heavily favored against Michigan State despite uncertainty

The Buckeyes football facility is shut down due to an uptick in COVID-19 cases within the program. Coach Ryan Day is sidelined for 10 days because of a positive test. The Buckeyes aren’t sure when they are allowed to practice again or prepare for a road trip to Michigan State on Saturday — or if that game can even happen at all.

Even with all the uncertainty, the folks in the desert understand the talent gap between the Buckeyes and Spartans. Ohio State opened as a 24-point road favorite for the matchup with Michigan State that is scheduled for Saturday, according to VegasInsider.com.

Ohio State is 2-2 against the spread this season, covering the 26-point spread in the opener against Nebraska and then a week later at Penn State. The Buckeyes failed to cover the spread in sloppy wins over Rutgers and Indiana in their last two games. Ohio State is 5-1 against the spread in its last six road games in which the Buckeyes were favored.

Michigan State is 2-3 against the spread this season. Both of those wins came when the Spartans were double-digit underdogs — to Michigan and Northwestern.

Weekend Kickoff presented by Bryant Heating and Cooling Systems

Lettermen Row Weekend Kickoff presented by Bryant Heating & Cooling Systems: The Whatever It Takes Pregame Show will be back at Urban Meyer’s Pint House next Thursday to break down the canceled game last week, talk about the pause in team activity and preview the weekend full of college football games, including the Buckeyes road game against Michigan State.

The next edition of the show will be Thursday, Dec. 3 at 7 p.m., and there will be plenty of Ohio State guests on hand to break down the latest developments and preview the weekend of football ahead, including the Buckeyes potential game against Michigan State. Come out to see Bobby Carpenter, Zach Boren, Anthony Schlegel and other former Buckeyes greats give their insight about the upcoming games and how they think the Buckeyes will fare against the Spartans.

Get set with the panel of former Buckeyes with analysis, stories, delicious food from Urban Meyer’s Pint House in Dublin and some cold Coors Light. Don’t miss the next show Thursday at 7 p.m.

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Spencer Holbrook

Spencer Holbrook covers Ohio State football and basketball for Lettermen Row. A graduate of Ohio University's Scripps School of Journalism, he's in his second year covering the Buckeyes. He was previously the sports editor at Ohio's student newspaper, The Post, where he covered Ohio University football and men's basketball.