College Footbal Pick
Ohio State was the first unanimous preseason No. 1 a year ago and now find themselves in the mix with everyone else. That said, their expectations remain the same: National Championship or bust. Bowling Green has had a few nice seasons, but they bring in a new head coach (Mike Jinks) and quarterback, which aren’t good recipes for success against the Buckeyes in the opener. And so, as expected, the Buckeyes are a -27.5 point favorite as seen at 5Dimes Sportsbook.
The Bucks lost a ton of players from last year, 16 starters in all, but Urban Meyer isn’t too worried about that with talent still abound in Columbus. Of course, it’ll be almost impossible for them to be as good as a season ago, even if they only made it to the Fiesta Bowl. But to help, Meyer can lean on experienced quarterback J.T. Barrett, who now has the position all to himself. He saw time here and there in 2015, competing with Cardale Jones, but with the spot locked down, there will be no questions coming in. Back in 2014, with the job his when Braxton Miller went down, Barrett finished with 45 total touchdowns and 10 interceptions.
And Barrett is probably all OSU will need in this Game to come out with a win. The backfield will likely be led by a freshman in Mike Weber, with Noah Brown and Corey Smith, two guys that were hurt a year ago, lead the receivers.
While Bowling Green has had some success the last couple years, they’ve always had an issue on the defensive end, allowing close to 29 points per Game in 2015. against big-time opponents last year, the Falcons faltered, most notably giving up 59 points to Tennessee in the opener. This could be a similar effort against Barrett and company.
But to make things worse for the Falcons is that their offense won’t be as good with regular QB Matt Johnson graduated. The high-flying offensive scheme will remain, but James Knapke is not as good as Johnson. Back in 2014 when he saw action with Johnson hurt, Knapke threw for 15 TDs and 12 INTs, not good enough. The offense still has weapons in running back Fred Coppet and receivers Ronnie Moore and Teo Redding, but Knapke has a lot riding on his shoulders, especially in this first Game.
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Ohio State isn’t as good on the defensive end, but with middle linebacker Raekwon McMillan running things, he’ll keep this unit in check. And that will probably be everything the Bucks need in this Game.
OSU disappointed more often than not last year, especially against the spread, but now with a lot of new starters, they may surprise. In this first Game against a bad defense and questionable quarterback, the Buckeyes should be able to break this Game wide open and Barrett could push for 50 points in the opener. If that’s the case, it’ll be up to Knapke to reach at least 20 points, something that was previously the norm for the Falcons.
Not about to get involved with a high number like this, though we’ll lean towards Ohio State -27.5. Instead, we’ll make a slight call on the OVER 63.