The 2015 college football season opening weekend concludes with a marquee matchup featuring the top ranked and defending National Champion Ohio State Buckeyes traveling to Lane Stadium in Blacksburg, VA to take on the only team to defeat them last season the Virginia Tech Hokies Monday night at 8 pm EST. Ohio State finished 13-1 last season, defeating Alabama and Oregon to win the inaugural College Football Playoff. Virginia Tech finished 7-6 last season, and their 35-21 win in Columbus over the Buckeyes was unquestionably the highlight of an otherwise forgettable season for head coach Frank Beamer’s traditionally strong program. The Hokies finished the season up with a 33-17 win over Cincinnati in the Military Bowl.
The Hokies return cornerbacks Kendall Fuller and Brandon Facyson, who played a big role in holding the Ohio State passing game to 9 completions in 29 attempts in last season’s meeting. In this game OSU will be short-handed when it comes to receiving threats, but they will have the talented Michael Thomas and Miller, who is unproven as a receiver. Beyond those two OSU will be lacking in depth, and if the Hokies want to have a chance to pull another upset they will have to take advantage of this matchup.
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Ohio St. returns a loaded team under head coach Urban Meyer, and though he has yet to name a starting QB for this season he said he expects both J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones to play this season. Barrett who led the Buckeyes and tallied 45 total Tds last season with a 64% completion percentage until he broke his leg in the regular season finale against Michigan, is the more mobile QB. Jones, who led OSU to wins over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to win the Big 10 and National titles, has the stronger arm. Both may see action in this game, as will new H-back Braxton Miller and former Big-10 Player of the Year under center for OSU before sitting out last season with a shoulder injury.
Ohio St. vs. Virginia Tech Spread, Line and Betting Odds:
Ohio St. Buckeyes -14
@Virginia Tech Hokies +14
Over 52.5 (-110)
Under 52.5 (-110)
Betting odds taken from Bovada.lv
Ohio St. vs. Virginia Tech Pick:
Ohio St. is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games, 6-1-1 ATS in their last 8 September games and 36-15-1 in their last 52 road games. The Hokies are 13-27-1 in their last 41 games on grass, 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games and 5-13-2 in their last 20 non-conference games. The over is 4-0 in OSU’s last 4 games on grass, 5-1 in their last 6 September games and 21-6 in their last 27 games overall. The over is 5-1 in the Hokie’s last 6 non-conference games and 4-1 in their last 5 home games.
The trends favor Ohio State and the over in this game, the Buckeyes finished last season as hot as a team possibly can. They seemingly have an embarrassment of riches at the skill positions, especially at quarterback. All signs point to them avenging their only loss last season and embarrassing the Hokies at home. The line has crept up to two touchdowns, and that is simply too much to lay against a well-coached team like VIrginia Tech at home, even against the top-ranked team in the nation. The better play is the total, and with OSU short-handed at wide receiver and somewhat unsettled in terms of their quarterback situation, this game could be a somewhat sluggish affair. Virginia Tech may not score many points on OSU, ut they should be able to keep the score down enough to keep the total under 52.5. Take the under in this game.