This season, Ohio State will look to bounce back from its two-loss outing a year ago, get back to the Big Ten title game, and make a run for the College Football Playoff.
How do the Buckeyes look at their 2022 football schedule?
The ESPN Football Power Index prediction engine set to work on that, simulating Ohio State’s football season 10,000 times to generate the team’s odds for each game.
Week 1: vs. Notre Dame
Arguably the toughest game on the Buckeyes’ slate this fall, the Fighting Irish will likely be a top 10 ranked team and come with the top offensive line in the nation and one of the best receiving targets at tight end. that Michael Meyer.
But the Irish still have questions at quarterback and in the defensive backfield, against which Ohio State’s elite receiving corps should have home advantage.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 83.5%
Week 2: vs. Arkansas State
Butch Jones may be the savior the Red Wolves are looking for, but he can’t save this program in time for early September at Ohio Stadium.
ASU was a two-win team a year ago, one against an FCS squad, and the other against UL Monroe. An early season shot for the Buckeyes to impress the College Football Playoff selectors with a big performance.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 99.3%
Week 3: vs. Toledo
Toledo was a 7-6 team last fall, but this time brings back a strong quarterback return, some proven production at the skill positions, and a defense that ranks inside. in the Top 50 in the country.
This should be an improved team when it enters MAC play, but there’s nothing like the speed to match up against the Buckeyes’ deep threats anywhere on the field.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 98%
Week 4: vs. Wisconsin
Ohio State owns the last eight against the Badgers, including three Big Ten Championship Game wins.
Much of Wisconsin’s defense — a unit ranked No. 1 leading Georgia nationally in yards allowed and second in points surrendered – won’t be back in 2022, but with the coaching and talent on offer, it’s still a must-have. the best in the conference.
Graham Mertz looks like a dud at quarterback, but Braelon Allen has blossomed into one of the best rushers in the Big Ten – the youngster carried 1,268 yards last season with 12 touchdowns and a nearly seven ypc average.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 92%
Week 5 vs. Rutgers
Rutgers’ third-worst scoring offense in the Big Ten was good for just 19 points per game last fall, while giving up nearly 25 ppg to opponents.
Ohio State should have a quick advantage at the line of scrimmage, just like the Bucks did a year ago in a 52-13 loss.
Noah Vedral should return at quarterback, but he has real competition in Gavin Wimsatt. If the Knights move there, expect a faster, more mobile offensive attack.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 98.5%
Week 6: at Michigan State
Ohio State trounced a rejuvenated Spartans team last fall in a 56-7 loss, and that was with running back Kenneth Walker on the field.
He won’t be back, but quarterback Payton Thorne is, and he’ll have receiver Jaylen Reed going deep as well.
But how well does Mel Tucker fix MSU’s terrible secondary year after year? The unit is the worst in the Big Ten in 2021 and ranks 111th in college football.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 83.1%
Week 7: vs. Iowa
Iowa returns most of a physical, well-coordinated defense that is Top 25 in the country, but also loses center Tyler Linderbaum and has yet to figure out how to consistently attack deep downfield.
Ohio State fans don’t need to be reminded of the last time their team met a Big Ten West opponent: the ill-fated trip to Iowa City in 2017, when OSU’s playoff hopes went up in smoke in a a 55-24 Hawkeye rout that no one saw coming.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 95%
Week 8: at Penn State
Sean Clifford returns after a 3,000-yard, 21 TD outing in 2021, but Penn State has big holes to fill on a defense that ranks third in the Big Ten in scoring.
James Franklin, fresh off the $75 million deal he signed last year, also needs to come up with a strategy to run the ball after finishing second-worst in the conference last season and losing only to LSU’s Noah Cain. Ohio State has won the last five in this series.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 82.9%
Week 9: at Northwestern
Just a year removed from playing Ohio State in the Big Ten title game, the Wildcats have stumbled through 2021, winning one conference game and losing their last six, not scoring more than 14 points in any of these.
NU is the worst scoring offense in the league and the only team to fail to score at least 200 total points. Predicting what Northwestern will do going forward is always tough business, but on paper this team isn’t going anywhere.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 96.8%
Week 10: vs. Indiana
What a difference a year has made for the Hoosiers, who went from a 12th-ranked, 6-2 team to a two-win finish.
IU was good for just 17 points per game last fall and will lose wide receiver Ty Fryfogle. But it got Missouri transfer quarterback Conner Bazelak, a 2,500-yard passer, something for first-year coordinator Walt Bell to work with.
Indiana has put up less than 11 ppg in Big Ten games and allowed more than 35, not exactly a formula for success.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 98%
Week 11: at Maryland
It was one of the more productive offenses in the Big Ten last season, good for more than 440 yards per game, but the Terps surrendered more than 32 points per game against conference foes and still need help in every phase. on that side of the ball.
Ohio State has combined for 139 points in its last two games against Maryland, but was able to pull out a 52-51 victory last time out in College Park.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 90.6%
Week 12: vs. Michigan
Jim Harbaugh is back after flirting with the NFL again, but he has some major surgery to do at running back, offensive line, and defensive line – all positions that helped win the game against the Ohio State last year. And currently weaknesses that the Buckeyes can exploit in this year’s rematch.
- ESPN picks: Ohio State, 84.8%
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