2019 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Predictions and Odds to Win National Championship
It's a new era at Ohio State. Urban Meyer is officially gone - though after missing the first three games of last season, it felt like last year was a transition year. Ryan Day is in charge now, and he's making changes to make the team his own. It's a tough position he is in - after being the interim coach last year when Meyer was out, he needs to prove that he is a viable long-term solution and not just a stop-gap before the next real guy comes along like Luke Fickell was after Jim Tressel left and before Meyer arrived.
Day is certainly making some noise early on, stealing two coaches from hated rival Michigan - including their highly-regarded defensive line coach Greg Mattison to be his new defensive coordinator. And he grabbed Justin Fields at QB, winning the hotly-contested battle for the Georgia transfer. He is taking over a team that lost just once last year - a blowout at Purdue that cost them their shot at the playoffs. And while he had some big losses, he doesn't have a lot of excuses. If he is any good, and lucky, he can make his own mark and move out of the shadow of Urban Meyer quickly. But he might want to keep his realtor on speed dial just in case.
2018 in a Nutshell
Except for one game, it was an impressive season. It wasn't always easy, but they opened up 7-0 by squeezing past Penn State in an instant classic, handling a tough game against TCU, and dominating some weaker opponents. But then that Purdue game happened. Purdue wasn't very good, which made the massacre by 29 points even harder to understand. They had a scare the next time out as well, beating Nebraska by only five points. And after beating Michigan State handily, they needed overtime to get past Maryland on the road. It wasn't an impressive streak, but before things got too ugly they crushed their opponents from Michigan in the season capper, rolled over Northwestern by three touchdowns to win the conference championship, and beat Washington in what was a very boring Rose Bowl. It was a season that could easily have gone way off the rails, but they kept it together and achieved everything they could without making the playoff.
Key Additions and Departures
Aside from the coaching changes we have mostly addressed, the biggest change for the team comes with the Draft. The team had nine players drafted. Nick Bosa was the first player off the board, going second overall, but injuries led him to have little real impact last year so his loss isn't quite as meaningful as it could be assumed given his draft choice. Dwayne Haskins was also a first-rounder who will be missed. However, if Fields can meet his massive expectations, then that loss will be minimized.
One area of concern is the offensive line, where two tackles graduated and center Michael Jordan left early - a surprise for many. They still have two experienced veterans on the line, but a lot of work is left to be done, and they will need some luck from the young players.
Biggest Area of Concern
With the departure of their star QB, their top receiver, their most reliable running back, and much of their offensive line, the offense could be a big area of concern for this team. Add in a new passing game coordinator, and a new head coach who came from the offensive side of things looking to establish himself, and you have a team that has a whole lot of questions to deal with on that side of the ball.
Ohio State Buckeyes Schedule Analysis
The good news for a team dealing with changes is that the schedule starts out soft enough to let the team ease into things. The opener against Florida Atlantic could get weird - any game involving Lane Kiffin runs that risk - but it should be a fairly comfortable win. And so should a game against Cincinnati, one at Indiana, and at home against Miami of Ohio. Things get tougher when they travel to Nebraska and then host Michigan State, but the Buckeyes can still expect to be reasonable favorites in both games. The same goes for home games against Wisconsin and against a Maryland team that isn't great but which always seems to get up for big games. Rutgers is a gimme, and then they finish out by hosting Penn State and then traveling to play a very good Michigan team. It's easy to argue that their two toughest games come at the end. That's a good thing, though - if they win them, they are fresh in the minds of the people that matter.
2019-20 Ohio State Buckeyes Betting Odds and Trends
Ohio State is the fourth choice to win the national title at BetOnline at +800, sitting behind only co-favorites Clemson and Alabama at +225 and Georgia at +700. New arrival Justin Fields is the fourth choice to win the Heisman Trophy at +1100, behind favorite Tua Tagovailoa at +250, Trevor Lawrence, and Jalen Hurts.
2019-20 Ohio State Buckeyes Predictions and College Football Picks
The team is facing a lot of change, and they aren't quite as strong on paper as they were last year. And the coaching staff has changed a lot. Losing an iconic coach can have a huge impact - even when the new guy is perfectly competent, as the case appears to be with Day. I expect a strong season, but playing at Michigan is going to be brutal if the Wolverines play to their potential, and I don't see the Buckeyes winning their conference this year.
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