Ohio State Win Total Prediction
The Urban Meyer-era is over at Ohio State. Will the Buckeyes be able to remain a national championship contender with him gone in 2019?
Urban Meyer stepped away from Ohio State after seven seasons with the program, leaving behind a record of 83-9 and a 54-4 mark in Big Ten play. Ryan Day takes over the program after he stepped in for the suspended Meyer early in the 2018 season. Ohio State won at least 11 games in all seven seasons under Meyer. According to oddsmakers, Ohio State is listed with an over/under of 10 wins during the regular season in 2019. The over is listed at +110, while the under is listed at -130.
The Buckeyes were always an offensive power under Meyer. Last season they ranked second in total yards at 535.7 per game and second in passing yards at 364.3 per game. They also were eighth in scoring at 42.4 points per contest. A lot of changes are coming this year, though, as Dwayne Haskins is gone after throwing for nearly 5,000 yards and 50 touchdowns last year. Justin Fields is a Georgia transfer that is expected to replace him. He is very much unproven right now. The Buckeyes have to work in a lot of new primary receivers and four new starters on the offensive line. What the team does have is a stud in the back field in J.K. Dobbins. The junior rushed for 1,053 yards and 10 touchdowns last year and also had 26 receptions for 263 yards.
The Ohio State defense wasn’t anything special last year, as it gave up 25.5 points and 404 yards per game. The Buckeyes could need a better performance this year with so many questions on offense. The defensive unit returns seven starters this year. Leading tacklers Jordan Fuller and Malik Harrison are back at safety and linebacker, respectively. Each put up 81 tackles and an interception last year. Sack leader Chase Young is also back at end. He had 10.5 sacks in 2018 and is a definite NFL prospect. Safety Shaun Wade is also back after picking up three interceptions last year.
Ohio State has very manageable non-conference games this year, as it hosts Florida Atlantic, Cincinnati and Miami (Ohio). The Buckeyes will host Michigan State, Wisconsin, Maryland and Penn State in Big Ten play while making road trips to Indiana, Nebraska, Northwestern, Rutgers and Michigan.
Will Ohio State take a step back without Meyer? It seems likely, but will it be felt immediately? The Buckeyes still have his recruits from recent years and they still develop tremendous talent up front. However, that winning culture that Meyer creates may not be around. Can Ohio State execute at key times under a rookie coach? The schedule isn’t too challenging this year outside of games at Nebraska, Northwestern and Michigan. Michigan State, Wisconsin and Penn State may be tricky, but those three games are at home. Given all the offensive changes, I have concerns that Ohio State is going to be able to get to 11 wins. The lack of experience on offense and at head coach could be what turns the close wins to close losses.
College Football Prediction: Ohio State Under 10 Wins -130