Ohio State Buckeyes
Ohio State kind of disappointed last season even with a Big Ten Championship, Cotton Bowl win over USC and 12-2 record. The Buckeyes had bigger ideas, but the early loss to Oklahoma and then beat down by Iowa cost them a shot in the CFP. That’ll be their goal again this season, but with a new quarterback, there’s less expectation on a national level. Of course, in Columbus, the expectation is to always win a National Title under Urban Meyer and they still had the third-best odds in the spring to do so, listed at +155 at 5Dimes Sportsbook to make the College Football Playoff (+750 to win it all).
Coming out of the spring, quarterback was still a toss up between Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell after Joe Burrow left as a graduate transfer. Haskins came up huge in the win over Michigan last year and he’s the favorite for the gig (+3700 spring odds to win Heisman). Either way, both quarterbacks are talented and have the tools to run the Ohio State offense, especially with the skill players at their disposal. The Bucks will have one of the best backfields in the country between J.K. Dobbins (1,403 yards) and Mike Weber (10 TDs) with a couple other younger guys behind them. Wide receiver is also stocked with all the top guys returning in Parris Campbell (584 yards), K.J. Hill (549 yards) and Terry McLAurin (6 TDs) still around, among others. The only unknown on the offense is on the line with two starters gone, but there’s little reason to worry about that as there are plenty of guys in the waiting including future stud tackle Thayer Munford. The OSU offense will be one of the best in the country again.
The same could even be said about the defense with eight starters gone. The Buckeyes lost a lot of high-end guys across the unit, but they’ll be fine. Nick Bosa is still there to hang out in opponent’s backfields and sophomore Chase Young is a future star at end. Linebacker will be just fine and possibly better with Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard in bigger roles. The Bucks had to replace two guys in the secondary, but again, there’s little to worry about and the experience of safety Jordan Fuller will only help. The goal for the defense is to be more consistent than a year ago and not let a team like Iowa embarrass them on an off day.
Fortunately for the Buckeyes, the Schedule sets up perfectly with TCU being their difficult non-Conference Game. The biggest thing is that their quarterback gets settled in before the trip to Penn State at the end of September. That Game could decide a lot even though it’s early in the season. From there, everything is favorable for the Bucks outside of a trip to East LAnsing, a team they’ve been even with outside of last year’s beat down. Other than that, it’s hard to see teams like Nebraska and Michigan stealing wins in Columbus unless something goes awry with the offense. The Buckeyes have enough talent to run lesser Big Ten teams off the field and the defense should be plenty talented to compete in road Games. Expect another double-digit win season at a minimum with a shot to make the CFP as long as it can win one or both of the trips to Penn State and Michigan State.
2018 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Schedule
Sept. 1 vs. Oregon State
Sept. 8 vs. Rutgers
Sept. 15 vs. TCU (AT&T Stadium, Arlington)
Sept. 22 vs. Tulane
Sept. 29 at Penn State
Oct. 6 vs. Indiana
Oct. 13 vs. Minnesota
Oct. 20 at Purdue
Nov. 3 vs. Nebraska
Nov. 10 at Michigan State
Nov. 17 at Maryland
Nov. 24 vs. Michigan