The Ohio State Buckeyes ran through the first ever college football playoffs with dominating victories over Alabama and Oregon in route to their eighth championship in the program's history. The Buckeyes now enter the 2015-16 season returning all three starting quarterbacks from last year and are in the unprecedented position of having to choose between three of the best players in all of college football. After 2014's surprising late-season surge, Ohio State jumped ahead of its rebuilding curve; the question on everyone's mind is if the team can go back to back.
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The oddsmakers currently view the Buckeyes as the team to beat with the rest of college football's power schools coming in a close second. The defending national champions certainly have the talent; the unknown is whether they can navigate a tough Big Ten conference and another potentially loaded playoff bracket next year. Let's take a closer look at Ohio State's 2016 national title odds with predictions and analysis. All lines come from Bovada.
Ohio State Buckeyes Odds to Win the 2016 National Championship Story Lines
2014's early-season injuries ultimately turned into a blessing for the squad as it was forced to turn to second- and third-string quarterbacks J.T Barrett and Cardale Jones, respectively, after Braxton Miller went down for the entire year. Both quarterbacks showed flashes of brilliance and Jones looked unstoppable during the NCAA Championship Game against Oregon last January. Ohio State coach Urban Meyer now has the "problem" of choose between the players, but according to reports Jones is still considered the starter by default as Miller and Barrett continue to rehab from last year's injuries.
Jones has been considered the best prospect of the bunch and seems to have the highest ceiling with major size, arm strength and power-running ability. Barrett, however, may be the most "ready" to lead Ohio State on another national title run, and his ability to extend plays with his legs, while also being an elite passer, probably makes him the best fit in the offensive system Meyer wants to run. Do not be surprised if Barrett eventually takes over the starting job and Ohio State use Jones in goal-line packages.
Ohio State Buckeyes 2015 Schedule
Ohio State has seems to have a manageable and almost "easy" schedule heading into the 2015 season and will not face a major opponent outside of the Big Ten. The school does have interesting matchups against Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers and Penn State on the schedule, but there is nothing to suggest that the Buckeyes will lose more than one game this season. In fact, an undefeated regular season is not an unreasonable expectation for the defending national champions.
Sept 7: @ Virginia Tech
Sept 12: Hawaii
Sept 19: Northern Illinois
Sept 26: Western Michigan
Oct 3: @ Indiana
Oct 10: Maryland
Oct 17: Penn State
Oct 24: @ Rutgers
Nov 7: Minnesota
Nov 14: @Illinois
Nov 21: Michigan State
Nov 28: @ Michigan
Ohio State Buckeyes 2016 National Championship Odds and Trends
Title Odds: +325
2014 ATS Record: 10-5; 5-3 home
2014 Total Record: 12-3; 8-0 home
Ohio State was one of the best ATS squads in college football last season, partly because injuries and low expectations caused them to be undervalued throughout the year. Heading into 2015, do not expect the team to have the same ATS record as all eyes will now be on the Buckeyes and their high-powered offense. Odds wise, Ohio State being placed as a big favorite, the second-best odds are with Alabama at +700, feels like the right move. The squad is young, it employs an athletic core of receivers and probably has the three best quarterback in the Big Ten on the roster.
Ohio State Buckeyes 2016 College Football National Championship Picks and Predictions
Ohio State was largely written off after Miller's injury early in the year, and the team didn't receive much media attention until late in the season when it was in contention for the Big Ten title and a playoff spot. The Buckeyes were always expected to be talented, but inexperience was supposed to be the team's weakness over the next couple of seasons. However, Coach Meyer seems to have created another college football powerhouse that he expects to compete for multiple national titles over the next three or four seasons.
There are a few things to expect from Ohio State this season: the first is that the team should win the Big Ten, the second is that it should make the college football playoffs and the third is that at minimum it should play in the national title game. Wagering on Ohio State to win the 2016 national title is as good, if not better, than any other futures wager on the board.
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Read more articles by George Monroy
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