College Football Pick
This Game maybe wasn’t expected to be one of the tougher ones for Ohio State before the season, but that sentiment has changed a bit with how Wisconsin has looked. The Badgers are coming from a week off after giving Michigan a real challenge in Ann Arbor the week after demolishing Michigan State in East LAnsing. That said, Ohio State’s convincing win at Oklahoma may trump anything Wisconsin has done.
After losing boat loads of talent from a year ago, the Bucks haven’t taken any kind of step back and a lot of that has to do with quarterback J.T. Barrett, one of the early contenders for Heisman. Barrett didn’t have any early-season QB competition, which looks like has helped his success. Barrett is completing close to 70% of his passes and already has doubled the amount of passing touchdowns that Cardale Jones finished with last season.
But along with Barrett, freshman Mike Weber has filled in great for Ezekiel Elliott, while Curtis Samuel gives Ohio State a threat not only in the backfield, but also as a receiver. And right now, they are just running over opponents, but will that work in Madison?
No question, this will be Ohio State’s toughest test yet. Wisconsin’s defense looks as good as a year ago and that showed up against the Wolverines. Michigan was running through opponents, but the Badgers held them to just 130 yards on 44 carries (sacks included). OSU’s offense is at a different level with Barrett leading the way, but we just haven’t seen them against a good defense this year. Expecting the Buckeyes to drop 30-plus points may not be realistic.
But with that being the case, will Wisconsin be able to Scorethemselves? Alex Hornibrook couldn’t do anything against Michigan’s defense last time out, completing 9-of-25 passes for just 88 yards and three interceptions. Ohio State’s defense may not be at the same level, but this group still contained a good Oklahoma offense on the road.
With Hornibrook still an unknown at quarterback, the Badgers will try and ride Corey Clement as much as possible. He was fine against Michigan, rushing for 68 yards on 4.0 yards per carry, but it obviously wasn’t enough. As of note, the Sooners ran for 177 yards on 36 carries against OSU a few weeks ago, so there is some hope of finding holes for Clement.
These teams didn’t meet last year and it’s hard to take the 2014 Game into account as Ohio State went into Madison and won 59-0. That was a different Badgers team, though.
This Wisconsin defense looks legit and they have the stats to back it up. After Michigan was carving through everyone, the Badgers held their own on the road. Barrett is a harder task, but playing at home for the first time in a few weeks, the home crowd will be wild.
However, Wisconsin backers still have to put their money in the hands of Alex Hornibrook, which doesn’t seem like a good idea at this point. against above average defenses, Hornibrook will continue to struggle and that may be Wisconsin’s downfall in this Game if Clement can’t bust loose for 100-plus yards.
Our Pick – Ohio State sure has looked like an unstoppable offensive MAChine this year eh? But check this out…….
As Our readers know, we like to rank offenses and defenses using yards per point numbers as we believe those numbers to be the best indicators of the true strengths and weaknesses of a football team.
Here are the yards per point numbers along with the national ranking of Ohio States opponents thus far.
Bowling Green 11.0 (125)
Tulsa 12.1 (113)
Oklahoma 11.8 (118)
Rutgers 11.3 (124)
Indiana 15 (57)
They have literally faced THE WORST defensive teams in the nation with the exception of Indiana who ranks 57th. The higher the yards per point number, the better the defense. Not surpsingly, they scored their lowest point total, 38, against Indiana in a 38-17 non cover win.
Here are Wisconsins defensive yards per point number and their rank……
Wisconsin 23.8 (1)
Wisconsin has the #1 raned defense in the nation. They faced the #1 offensive team in the nation (Michigan) in their last Game and held them to just 14 points and that Game was ON THE ROAD.
Our concern here, is the Wisconsin offense and their ability, or lack of ability, to put points on the board.
That being said, the Game is a rare home night Game for the Badgers (12-4 all time). Their last home night Game was a 48-17 destruction of Nebraska in 2011 and the last time before that was a 31-18 win over then #1 Ohio State in 2010.
Lastly, let’s talk about REVENGE. The last time these two met was in the 2014 Big 10 Title Game which Ohio State won 59-0! That result tied the WORST EVER defeat for the Badgers in the history if this storied series that dates back to 1913! (they also lost 59-0 in 1979).
Expect a better Wisconsin showing this time around. Wisconsin +10.5