Ohio State Season Preview and Predictions

Updated: Jul 31

Photo: Jennifer Stewart / Getty Images

Week 1: Ohio State vs Notre Dame

Ohio State football kicks off the season this year with a big early season test at home against the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame. The Irish will be working with Ohio native and former Buckeyes graduate assistant coach Marcus Freeman in what will be his first year taking the reins of one of the most prestigious and historic programs in the nation. Notre Dame was a one loss team last season under Brian Kelly before he unceremoniously departed prior to the Fiesta Bowl to take the head coaching position at Louisiana State University. Freeman is currently 0-1 as a head coach after suffering a loss to Stanford in the Fiesta Bowl last season but do not be fooled. Freeman was hand-picked by the Irish to lead this team back into the promised land, and they will be gunning for Ohio State to start the year.

The Buckeyes will have their work cutout on the offensive side of the football, as Marcus Freeman showed last year at Cincinnati he can develop a high caliber defense with two- and three-star players. Now, he's working with four- and five-star players that were just on the outside of the college football playoffs last year. It should be an interesting initial test for one of the best offenses in college football last year in Ohio State.

On the defensive side for the Buckeyes, the viewers should expect the same heart attack-inducing stress, as the Silver Bullets may need a few games to adjust to the new defense implemented by Jim Knowles.

My prediction: OSU wins 45-20

Photo: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

Week 2: Ohio State vs Arkansas State

Game 2 of the year is not one many Buckeye fans are likely to tune into unless many question marks are left after the Notre Dame game. This is the normal tune up game for the Buckeyes and should be an easy win, as they are set to go up against Arkansas State.

For the Red Wolves their second year head coach Butch Jones is coming off a 2-10 start to his career, and his defense was among the worst in the nation last year. However, the defensive side does have one bright spot in senior linebacker Kivon Bennett, a potential NFL 2023 draft pick, who will be the one tasked with trying to stop the rushing attack of TreVeyon Henderson. Arkansas State does return their QB James Blackman, and his top two receivers from last year in Te’Vailance Hunt and Jeff Foreman. This should be a good test for the young secondary of Ohio State and should have them well prepared for the rest of the season.

My prediction: OSU wins 52-13

Photo: Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

Week 3: Ohio State vs Toledo

The September 17th matchup versus Toledo should be a fun game, as the Rockets finished third in a competitive MAC West last year and could stick with the Buckeyes for the first quarter of this game. However, Ohio State has not lost to an in-state opponent since 1921 when they took a loss to Oberlin. That is now over 100 years ago, before the Horseshoe known as Ohio Stadium saw its first game. Don’t expect this to change here no matter how good Toledo may be this season. Ohio State has an amazing offense and by week 3 of the season, the defense should be finding their rhythm in the new defensive scheme.

My prediction: Ohio State wins 52-7

Photo: cleveland.com

Week 4: Ohio State vs Wisconsin

A 3-0 start to the season is highly probable for the Buckeyes before they reach Big Ten play where Ohio State will try to restart their Big Ten winning streak, which lasted 29 straight games for Ryan Day before going down to their rivals from the north in Michigan to end the Big Ten regular season last year. Wisconsin is coming off a third place finish in the Big Ten West last year and will likely also start the year 3-0, this is likely to setup the second top-25 matchup of the year inside the 100-year-old Horseshoe for Ohio State, and I expect the offense for the Buckeyes to put up big numbers.

This game will be won or lost by the defense. The two games the Buckeyes lost last year were because of massive defensive let downs. This game could be the make or break point of the season on the defensive side of the ball. Wisconsin returns their leading rusher in Braelon Allen, who ran for 1200 yards last season and 16 touchdowns and is looking to lead the Big Ten in rushing this year. Wisconsin will always show off their offensive line's ability, and if Ohio State’s linebackers have not improved from last season, Allen will go big.

Graham Mertz will also be taking the reins for his third season as the Badgers quarterback and has shown improvement from year one to year two. He’s not a QB who is going to win any awards, but he can keep a defense honest unless they start picking him off. However, the top three receivers, including their tight end, have moved on to the NFL, so Wisconsin’s offense will likely be even more run heavy this year. The defense for the Badgers were ranked above Georgia last year in total defense and are likely to keep up the good fight, but the biggest question remains: Can they keep up with the speed of Ohio State? Last year, the Big Ten, outside of Ohio State, Nebraska, and TTUN, were very slow, and this allowed Wisconsin to bolster a very high defensive rating. Due to offensive struggles for Wisconsin, they will likely be unable to keep up with Ohio State offensively. My prediction is the Scarlet and Gray start 4-0.

My prediction: OSU wins 42-28

Photo: David Petkiewicz, cleveland.com

Week 5: Ohio State vs Rutgers