Updated: Sep 20, 2022
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
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
Going into the month of October, it is likely the Buckeyes will be 4-0. Entering their second Big Ten game and fifth consecutive home game of the season, they are unlikely to be rattled by the likes of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Since entering the Big Ten, Rutgers is 0-8 against the Buckeyes and have been outscored 428-88. Plus Ohio State has scored 50 plus points in six out of the eight matchups. Rutgers has scored 20 or more just twice.
Former Buckeye DC Greg Schiano has done a great job making Rutgers into a much more competitive team, but they are still miles away from competing in the Big Ten East. Senior quarterback Noah Vedral was the starter for all 13 games last season, but has found himself in a position battle with the highest Rutgers recruit of all time in Gavin Wimsatt. Whoever the starter is at this point in the season will have to have a career game if they have any hope of upsetting the Buckeyes. 5-0 go the Buckeyes.
My prediction: OSU wins 69-18
Photo: Emilee Chinn/Getty Images
Week 6: Michigan State vs Ohio State
At this point, Ohio State has played a fairly difficult schedule, with two top-25 opponents in the first month of play, and with five straight weeks of play under their belt, the October 8th matchup in East Lansing against Michigan State, the first road game of the season, is a huge trap game for Ohio State. The biggest storyline for the Spartans is will they be anywhere near as good this season without their star running back from last year in Kenneth Walker III. We haven’t seen the mid-season let downs from Ryan Day’s Buckeyes which we were used to when Urban Meyer was at the helm, but you always have to be careful with a bye week and some difficult scheduling just beyond that.
Ohio State may get caught looking ahead here and find themselves in a slugfest with their rivals “little brother”, and once again find themselves on the receiving end of a Spartan upset if they can't get things together. However, the loss of Kenneth Walker III worries me too much for the Spartans, who failed to find balance last season and struggled to win with their defense consistently. Payton Thorne will be back for his second season at the helm and third season at MSU. He looked solid last year managing a run-oriented offense, and MSU will need to stick with it to have another good season this year.
Third year back Jordan Simmons appears the likely candidate to take over the running back spot from Walker, but he has only ever been used as a No. 2 option with the Spartans, and it’s unclear if he’ll be able to have even half the amount of production which Walker had last season. If this year's Buckeyes are anything like what we saw last year, then Ohio State should be in a brawl with the Spartans in the first half and then pull away in the late stages. Buckeyes take a 6-0 start to the season into the bye.
My prediction: OSU wins 38-17
Photo: Jack Westerhiede
Week 8: Ohio State vs Iowa
Coming out of the bye week will be no easy task as the Buckeyes will go up against one of the longest tenured coaches in college football in Kirk Ferentz. He's a coach who's had plenty of experience in pulling upsets in his time, especially against the Buckeyes. The Hawkeyes are coming off a Big Ten West Championship, but their quarterback play still leaves much to be desired with Spencer Petras returning for his senior season. The defense will give the Buckeyes everything they can handle and then some, but I have serious doubts about the Iowa passing game. Once again this season, the game will come down to Ohio State’s rush defense, which hasn't been something Buckeyes fans have come to rely on in recent years.
Ohio State has been winning via offense under Ryan Day; don’t expect it to go away. Ryan Day is still undefeated coming off of a bye week, and this Buckeyes team has lots of potential this season. With this being said, the Buckeyes survive a battle and move to 7-0.
My prediction: OSU wins 23-20
Photo: James Lang – USA TODAY Sports
Week 9: Penn State vs Ohio State
Halloween weekend, and the Buckeyes return to Happy Valley for Penn State’s annual stripe out. Ohio State and Penn State have become must-see late night television and hopefully they get another 7 p.m. game because of it. While Ohio State currently has a five game win streak going against the Nittany Lions, they have all been close ball games, with the games coming down to the wire nearly every time. The Ohio native Sean Clifford is still hunting for his first win against the Buckeyes, and he comes in with a team which has gone 11-11 in the last two years.
Parker Washington takes over as WR1 for Penn State and will likely have a great season as will Sean Clifford. Penn State never quite got their rushing game going last year. Despite the fact Ohio State’s secondary can be questionable at times, you have to run a balanced offense to beat the Buckeyes, and Penn State hasn’t shown in recent years they have the ability to create balance. Hopefully, Penn State can find a rushing attack at some point this season, but unless Noah Cain or Keyvone Lee see more carries, or Nicholas Singleton lives up to the five-star recruiting ranking, it won't happen.
James Franklin re-signed last year for a 10-year massive contract with Penn State, meaning they believe in him. This will be the biggest test of his career because of that. An upset is possible here considering the rivalry which has been brewing, but inconsistency from Penn State these last two years keeps the Buckeyes favored to win it here. 8-0 to Ohio State.
My prediction: OSU wins 35-17
Photo: Dan Harker/theozone.net
Week 10: Northwestern vs Ohio State
The Buckeyes will keep things on the road for their only back-to-back road trip of the season. They take on the Wildcats of Northwestern, who have seen a rollercoaster of success the last four years under Pat Fitzgerald. Winning the Big Ten West twice and then coming in sixth and seventh the other two years. Currently the pattern says this should be an up year for Northwestern, and a late season matchup between these two teams should be fun if history holds true, but Ohio State has won nine in a row against the Evanston football squad, and the last three matchups have seen the Buckeyes win by double digits. Two of those matchups were in the Big Ten Championships during those two good years for Northwestern.
However, just because their recent history says this should be a good year does not mean it will be one. Northwestern has no QB on the roster who threw for 1000 yards or has thrown more than six touchdowns. Sophomore RB Evan Hull should be the bright spot for this offense this year coming off a 1000 yard Freshman season and looking to break out in a big way, but the team also returns a defense which ranked 101st out of 130 FBS teams last season and will likely be dominated by the Ohio State offense. With no true passing game threat, Ohio State should take an easy win over a team who's goal is a .500 season. 9-0 to the Scarlet and Gray.
My prediction: OSU wins 49-14
Photo: Brian Spurlock – USA TODAY Sports
Week 11: Ohio State vs Indiana
Next up for the Buckeyes will be the Indiana Hoosiers in Columbus on the 12th of November. Indiana is coming off their worst season in over a decade, and the worst season under Tom Allen thus far. They were unable to get a single win in conference play, but they are bringing in the No. 5 recruiting class in the Big Ten. Which should mean they may be a team to watch in the next two seasons. However, Indiana is losing their starting QB, WR and RB from last season. They have plenty of depth, but considering they weren’t able to earn starting time on last year's team doesn’t provide much hope for a strong Hoosier showing in this game. Ohio State should take an easy win at home as the temperature starts to drop. 10-0 looms as the Buckeyes continue to roll.
My prediction: OSU wins 56-14
Week 12: Maryland vs Ohio State
Maryland the following week on the road should act as a solid tune up game for TTUN. The key word here is should, but Maryland has been no slouch in making some noise in the Big Ten these last few seasons. The Terps have seen their fair share of upsets and near-upsets so far, not to mention a Buckeye scare a few seasons ago in a game Maryland could have won. Maryland continues to improve every season they’ve been in the Big Ten and have started utilizing the transfer portal to their benefit. A winning season last year is likely to transfer over to this season as well. Look for a strong overall showing this year by the Terps QB Taulia Tagovailoa. He's rated as a top-5 QB in the Big Ten this season and should be the day one starter for the Terrapins this season. He’s shown some flashes of great QB play, but so far in his career he has lacked consistency with his performances. With four-star in-state freshman Cameron Edge sitting behind him, the margin for error will be much smaller for Taulia this season.
Maryland was a young team last year and returns many starters this season. I expect the Buckeyes to get caught looking ahead to the Michigan game and end up falling short in this game, but not short enough to lose to Maryland. Ohio State still maintains a huge edge in every department, and an upset seems highly unlikely. Buckeyes are now 11-0.
My prediction: OSU wins 52-42
Photo: AP Photo/Paul Sancya
Week 13: Ohio State vs Michigan
Finally, Thanksgiving weekend, 2022, redemption. THE Game. This is the defining moment of the next era of the greatest rivalry in sports. Can Ryan Day reclaim the throne or has the Harbuagh era finally been ushered in to the Big Ten East?
It is likely both teams will come in as one loss teams or undefeated and as it should be, the winner will go to the Big Ten Championship on December 3rd. That Team Up North will be coming in hot to this game, rolling off the momentum of their first win in the rivalry in a decade and a potential perfect season. They haven’t won back-to-back games in the series since the 1999 and 2000 seasons. They return many starters, especially on the offensive side, which many Buckeye fans will remember tore our defense to shreds. The big miss for TTUN will be the departure of Hassan Haskins, the man who might have had the biggest impact on last year's game offensively. Aidan Hutchinson and David Ojabo, two of the Big Ten’s best defensive players last year, have gone to the NFL and left massive holes needing to be filled as well.
TTUN has had excellent recruiting classes, and they should be able to fill the holes, but much like Ohio State has felt in recent years, it’s impossible to truly fill those holes left by great defensive lineman. This should be an epic rematch and might be a make or break game for the Ryan Day era at Ohio State. With the recent success of Ohio State’s last two coaches against TTUN, back-to-back losses could launch a lack of confidence against Ryan Day, especially with speculation Brian Hartline will be in the conversation for many head coaching spots around the nation in the next few years if not sooner. Day now finds himself in the same position Harbaugh has been in for the last few years: Beat your rival and get to the Big Ten Championship, or your head coaching seat is going to be on fire.
Call it wishful thinking, but with the three best TTUN players from last season gone, I can’t see back-to-back losses for the Buckeyes with one of the best offensive rosters they’ve had in a while against their rivals. Buckeyes finish the regular season perfect for the third time under Day.
My prediction: OSU wins 38-28
Points per game - 45.7
Points allowed per game - 22.8
2022 Projected Averages via my picks:
Points per game - 45.9
Points allowed per game - 19.8
Sept. 3rd - vs Notre Dame- 7:30 p.m.
Sept.10th - vs Arkansas State- 12:00 p.m.
Sept. 17th - vs Toledo- 7 p.m.
Sept. 24th - vs Wisconsin- TBA
Oct. 1st - vs Rutgers- TBA
Oct. 8th - at Michigan State- TBA
Oct. 15th - Bye Week
Oct. 22nd - vs Iowa- TBA
Oct. 29th - at Penn State- TBA
Nov. 5th - at Northwestern- TBA
Nov. 12th - vs Indiana- TBA
Nov. 19th - at Maryland- TBA
Nov. 26th - vs TTUN- 12:00 p.m.
Dec. 3rd - Big Ten Championship- 8 p.m.
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