B. Green vs. Ohio State Prediction
The Ohio State Buckeyes hope to have an easy time with Bowling Green on Saturday at Noon ET, but will they put up enough points to hit the over?
According to oddsmakers at Bovada.lv, Ohio State is a big favorite in this game, as the Buckeyes are getting odds of -27.5 points against the Falcons on Saturday. The over/under total is listed at 63.5 points. These two haven’t met since the 2006 season, but BG has covered the spread in their last four meetings with the Buckeyes.
Ohio State is coming off a 12-1 record in 2015, with its lone loss coming against Michigan State, 17-14. The Buckeyes had the talent to repeat as champions, but the loss to MSU kept it from a playoff appearance. This year’s team lost a lot of talent, but does return J.T. Barrett under center. After a 2014 season that saw him throw for 2,834 yards and rush for 938 yards, he saw limited action in 2015 but finished the season as the starter. He threw for 992 yards and rushed for 682 yards over the end of the year. The big issue for the Buckeyes will be replacing the key players at RB and WR, most notably Ezekiel Elliott. Elliott rushed for 1,821 yards and 23 touchdowns in 2015 and was the focus of the offense. Barrett can handle some of the running responsibilities, but the team will have to find a new feature back. Defensively, Ohio State also took some losses, but its recruiting has given it plenty of depth over the years to where it should be able to patch those losses quickly.
Bowling Green is coming off a 10-4 season in 2015 in which it won the MAC Championship. The Falcons lost head coach Dino Babers to Syracuse. Mike Jinks takes over. He comes from being an assistant at Texas Tech since 2013. He has a lot of work to do with this offense, as they lost QB Matt Johnson (4,946 yards, 46 TDs in 2015), top receivers Roger Lewis and Gehrig Dieter (179 receptions, 2,577 yards and 26 TDs combined) and leading rusher Travis Greene (1,299 yards, 15 TDs). James Knapke will be the starting QB and he does have experience, playing often in 2014 for the injured Johnson, Knapke threw for 3,173 yards and 15 TDs in 2014. He also returns four starting linemen on offense. Defensively, BG was good for the MAC, but the Falcons gave up 59 points to Tennessee and 44 points to Memphis last season.
Ohio State shouldn’t have a problem scoring plenty of points in this opener. Barrett is a great play maker and won’t need much time to gel with his backs and receivers. However, the defense should pose problems for a new-look Bowling Green offense. With the total set at a lofty 63, it’s hard to see that hitting without the Falcons at least putting up about 21 points or so. I just don’t see that happening because of Ohio State’s defense and the Falcons having no reliable skill players established.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL WEEK 1 PREDICTION: BOWLING GREEN/OHIO STATE UNDER 63.5