The two most impressive teams in Week 1 of college football not named Alabama, in my opinion, were the Ohio State Buckeyes and Michigan Wolverines. Which, coincidently enough, they are the biggest rivals in perhaps all of college football. In other words, I am already looking forward to this clash later in the season. It’s going to be some kind of spectacle, a game that is probably going to have major implications hanging in the balance. The last time Michigan and Ohio State really had a meaningful game, was back in 2006 when Chad Henne was at the controls for Michigan.
Henne to Mario Manningham was the best thing going in college football at the time, and the best thing going for Michigan in a decade. While Brady Hoke enjoyed success with the Wolverines for a season, which resulted in a Sugar Bowl win, Michigan still wasn’t the perennial powerhouse that they were known for. Jim Harbaugh has flipped the script in less than two years.
This brings us to, well, the Tulsa Golden Hurricanes against the Ohio State Buckeyes. It doesn’t quite have the same circumstance and excitement as the Michigan matchup will have in November, but as they say, every game in college football counts. Just ask the multitude of teams that were on the losing end of an upset last week. Sure, Tulsa is severely outmanned from a talent perspective. If Ohio State wants to run the score up they could do that, but this is college football, where big upsets can and do happen every week. Ohio State knows about upsets, notably, losing to Virginia Tech early a couple of seasons ago. But what do you know, the Buckeyes overcame the loss to win the National Championship.
J.T. Barrett was there for that magical run, but he ended up taking a backseat to Cardale Jones later in the year. If you recall, Ohio State was loaded with Braxton Miller, Barrett, and Jones at quarterback. Miller was coming into the season as a Heisman candidate, before he blew his knee out before the season ever got going. Barrett was next in line, and took his good and bad days, but it was ultimately Jones who stepped in to save the day for a hobbled Barrett. Saved the day, and won a National Championship. Barrett has all of the experience in the world in this Urban Meyer offense.
He had talent then, and has presumably only improved at this juncture of his career. Barrett was expected to be the savior when Miller went down, but now it’s his time to rise up to the occasion. In Week 1 against Bowling Green, he was flawless in his opening act for the Buckeyes. We’ll see if he can perform an encore against Tulsa this afternoon in Columbus.
Tulsa Golden Hurricanes vs. Ohio State Buckeyes NCAAF Betting Odds:
vs. Ohio State -28(-110)
Odds provided by Bovada.lv
Tulsa vs. Ohio State Pick:
J.T. Barrett, like nearly every Ohio State quarterback for the last twenty years, is going to have some nice help to his side. The Buckeyes have produced some quality running backs, and next in line to be the next Ohio State great is Curtis Samuel. Ezekiel Elliot is in the NFL now, so the idea here is for Samuel to put up the same gaudy numbers. Samuel got out to a quick start in Week 1, accumulating around 300 yards of total offense. With Samuel running wild, Barrett made his mark against the Bowling Green defense as well, tossing 6 touchdowns in a 77-10 win for Ohio State. It was the perfect start to the Buckeyes’ quest to make it back to the college football playoff. There was no chance of any upset brewing in Columbus.
Ohio State is a three-headed juggernaut, led by Barrett and Samuel. Barrett has the ability to beat a defense on the ground, or with his arm. Throw in Samuel and defenses needed to prepare for three dangerous outlets for the Buckeyes. Samuel is a solid receiver out of the backfield so you can include that in there as well. Tulsa dispatched San Jose State with ease in a 45-10 win last week. San Jose State fields one of the worst offenses in college football, so this is going to feel like 0-100 for the Golden Hurricanes on Saturday afternoon.
Tulsa utilizes the spread offense as well, but a different variation of it. They like to sit back in the pocket with Dane Evans and let him whip it around the yard. Evans is not a runner, he rarely takes off with the ball. He is a pocket passer through and through. The Tulsa offense is dictated by their passing game. If that is nullified, it’s game over for the Golden Hurricanes.
Here is the variable playing right into Ohio State’s hand in this game: the weather. All weather reports having this game being a mess, with wind, rain, and possibly a thunderstorm. How is Tulsa going to be able to get the ball down field against Ohio State in these kind of conditions? They are a timing offense that would prefer sunny skies with no wind, well they aren’t going to get it Saturday afternoon in Columbus. So, what are they going to do, pound the ball against the Buckeyes and win like that? No, they won’t even stay close. It’ll be short gains and a punt.
Could Ohio State pound the ball with Samuel and find success? I would say so. And despite the weather, I see them being able to dink and dunk it thanks to Tulsa playing close to the line. With nice weather, I probably would have leaned Tulsa here with a play on the OVER. However, I don’t envision the Tulsa offense doing much in poor conditions in Columbus.
PICK: OHIO STATE -28 (-110)