Ohio State Buckeyes
Odds and Schedule
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Ohio State is the favorite to win the Big Ten this year. While the Buckeyes lose plenty of talent, they have Urban Meyer’s recruiting class and plenty of big-name returnees. After starting his tenure with 24 straight wins for OSU, they lost their final two Games last year to Michigan State in the Big Ten Championship and then to Clemson in the Orange Bowl.
The Buckeyes are current odds to win the national title are 13 to 1 at 5 dimes sportsbook, which places them 4th overall, behind only Florida State, Alabama and Auburn.
The unfortunate thing for Conference opponents is that this team probably won’t regress on either end of the field. Even with top RB Carlos Hyde and WR Corey Brown gone, the Buckeyes still have their most important player, quarterback Braxton Miller. Despite battling injuries last year, Miller was a dynamic force totaling 36 touchdowns, which included1,068 rushing yards. If he can stay healthy for the entire year, Miller will definitely be in the Heisman conversation. Ezekiel Elliott will likely take over in the backfield and should have no problem carving up yards. Devin Smith can be a factor in the receiving Game, but Dontre Wilson might be the bigger playmaker as a hybrid RB/WR.
The offensive line loses Four starters, but this is Urban Meyer and Ohio State we’re talking about, so don’t expect a major drop-off in the quality of play.
The prospects for the defensive side look even better with possibly the best defensive line in the country. They return all starters including two of which were All-Conference players. The linebacking core is solid as well even with the loss of Ryan Shazier. OSU’s secondary is their only real concern, especially with the loss of top cornerback Bradley Roby. They have the athletes, but even with Roby it was their weakest spot a season ago.
To help matters in their aim for the College Football Playoff, their Schedule shapes up real nice to have a chance at an undefeated regular season record yet again. The one Game the Buckeyes are circling on their Schedule will be at Michigan State, the team that ruined their chances at a National Championship a year ago. The Spartans have won this meeting two of the last three times, so it’s going to be a dog fight and it could easily decide the winner of the East division.
That Game will be by far their toughest on the road, as others include Maryland, Penn State and Minnesota. The Nittany Lions and Gophers will be difficult Games, but Miller and company should be enough to win those. Other than that, the Buckeyes get quality opponents in non-Conference play, but they shouldn’t lose any of those Games.
The season finale against Michigan is always fun, but it’s hard to see the Wolverines winning unless OSU has some injuries.
Ohio State is a team that can run up the score, but their weak secondary hurt them at times against the spread in certain matchups last year. If they can figure that part out, watch out for some big wins.
2014 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Schedule
Aug. 30 at Navy (in Baltimore)
Sep. 6 vs. Virginia Tech
Sep. 13 vs. Kent State
Sep. 27 vs. Cincinnati
Oct. 4 at Maryland
Oct. 18 vs. Rutgers
Oct. 25 at Penn State
Nov. 1 vs. Illinois
Nov. 8 at Michigan State
Nov. 15 at Minnesota
Nov. 22 vs. Indiana
Nov. 29 vs. Michigan