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Like every other year, Ohio State is dealing with some turnover, losing multiple players to the NFL, from wide receiver to everywhere on the defense. And after how the Buckeyes bowed out a season ago, Urban Meyer decided to change things up with Ryan Day and former Indiana coach Kevin Wilson coming in to lead the offense. But the biggest thing entering 2017 is that they’ll have one of the best and most experienced quarterbacks in the country in J.T. Barrett.

So while the offense has some new pieces and coordinators, the presence of Barrett (61.5% completion, 24 TDs, 7 INTs, 845 rushing yards, 8 rushing TDs) should be all the difference. All of his top pass catchers are gone so that’s somewhat of a worry, but K.J. Hill, Terry McLaurin and Binjimen Victor are expected to step into those spots along with speedster Parris Campbell. Mike Weber (1,096 yards, 9 TDs) returns to lead the backfield with Barrett. The offensive line may be the biggest question even with only one starter leaving. The problem is that some of the returning guys struggled a bit last season meaning some movement could happen in the lineup.

Defensively, the Buckeyes should be just fine in the front seven with a stacked and experienced line with Nick Bosa, Dre’Mont Jones and Michael Hill being only a few of the pieces. This group was deep last year and return just about all of those guys. At linebacker, Chris Worley and Jerome Baker provide plenty of experience. The question is what will happen in the secondary, although the Bucks have plenty of talent to work with even after losing three guys to the NFL. Denzel Ward and Damon Webb should help the unit gel, while players like corner Damon Arnette and safety Jordan Fuller get acclimated to more work.

The Buckeyes ended last season in disappointing fashion, but with a ton of returning starters and Barrett back in charge, they have the ability to get back to the Playoff. In fact, the Bucks have the second-best spring odds behind Alabama to win the National Championship (+750 at 5Dimes Sportsbook), also making them the favorite to win the Big Ten at +175.

This year, they’ll host Oklahoma, which should be a part of OSU’s early-season winning streak. Assuming they don’t fall to the Hoosiers in the opener, the Bucks should be unscathed in their first six games before the Big Ten schedule picks up. In a matter of four games, they travel to Nebraska and Iowa, while hosting Penn State and Michigan State, with the season finale coming in Ann Arbor this season. That Michigan game could be fun, but the Wolverines lost a ton of guys from last year’s group. Even with five road games, the Buckeyes have the talent and the quarterback to make an undefeated run, although Penn State may have other ideas yet again.  

2017 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Schedule

Aug. 31 at Indiana
Sept. 9 vs. Oklahoma
Sept. 16 vs. Army
Sept. 23 vs. UNLV

Sept. 30 at Rutgers
Oct. 7 vs. Maryland
Oct. 14 at Nebraska

Oct. 28 vs. Penn State
Nov. 4 at Iowa
Nov. 11 vs. Michigan State
Nov. 18 vs. Illinois
Nov. 25 at Michigan

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