Ohio State knows its possible to reach the College Football Playoff with one loss, but there’s a long way to go until the end of the season and the Buckeyes have looked far from great in their first two Games. At the least, they should get back to winning as -30.5 point home favorites (at 5Dimes Sportsbook) against Army this week.
The Black Knights have won both their Games, but scraping past Buffalo may be as good as this team gets. against superior opponents not named Navy last season, Army had no chance, losing big to Air Force (31-12) and Notre Dame (44-6). If Ohio State shows up like everyone expects coming off a loss, this could be a similar result to that Army-Notre Dame Game last year.
Offensively, the Buckeyes should carve through this Army defense. J.T. Barrett has only completed 55.7% of his passes in the first two Games, but he probably won’t have to pass much with J.K Dobbins (253 yards) getting a heavy workload alongside Barrett. It also wouldn’t be surprising if Mike Weber was given a bigger role in this Game and that could lead to more than one guy rushing for more than 100 yards.
Army hasn’t seen a good offense yet so this one could get ugly, considering how it looked last season. To cover this Game, the Black Knights will have to find a way to move the ball against one of the better defensive fronts in the country. While they’re averaging 7.4 yards per carry, that doesn’t mean much when your previous opponents were Fordham and Buffalo. Ahmad Bradshaw hasn’t needed to throw the ball, but that will likely change in this Game. He’s 2-of-10 for 17 yards so far after going 40-for-91 last season. If Bradshaw throws for more than 100 yards in this Game, it’d be a surprise unless one of his passes goes for 90 yards.
Unfortunately for Army fans, that’s not a recipe for success against Ohio State. against much more dynamic offenses, the Buckeyes held both Oklahoma and Indiana to less than three yards per carry. Even though Army runs a much different offense with a triple-option, that doesn’t mean Ohio State will be terrible against it. All signs point to the Bucks dominating the line of scrimmage, which would in turn make Army’s offense close to useless.
Anyone backing the Black Knights will probably look to the 2014 season when Ohio State won the National Championship. In OSU’s first Game that year, it struggled to pull away from a Navy team that ran for 370 yards on 5.9 yards per carry. Of course, the Buckeyes are better defensively these days and Army is not at the same level that Navy was when Keenan Reynolds led the team. Still, that’s something to consider.
Our Pick – Ohio State -30 and OVER 52.5