In what many people consider to be the marquee matchup of Thursday, the Ohio State Buckeyes and Indiana Hoosiers square off for an early battle in the BIG 10. It’s always nice to get a conference matchup in Week 1, even if it’s between a major national contender and a mediocre mid-tier team. Indiana has given Ohio State more than they’ve bargained for in the past, so we’ll see if they have it in themselves to compete, and maybe even pull the upset this time around.
Ohio State are coming off a 11-2 campaign, which is not what they had in mind. For a program like the Buckeyes, 11-2 is no good. Their second loss came in the CFB Playoff against Clemson. It was an uninspiring performance, which saw them lose 31-0 to the eventual National Champion Clemson Tigers.
Ohio State will be in the fold for the playoff again this season. They enter 2nd in the country, with only the Alabama Crimson Tide ahead of them in the rankings. Back at the reins will be Buckeye quarterback J.T. Barrett. Barrett has been a fixture of the Buckeyes over the past few years, but if you recall, he wasn’t the one to pull the weight late in their National Championship bid three years ago. That was Cardale Jones who stepped in to get them gold. Barrett, in his final-year, will try and duplicate that success for Ohio State.
Barrett had a good 2016, but it wasn’t staggering numbers that you saw from other quarterbacks across the nation. Ohio State is hoping he puts together a Heisman campaign in 2017. The Buckeyes will have a top-notch defense to assist Barrett. Ohio State were about an inch away from getting shown the door by Michigan.
In a controversial play, Barrett was awarded a first down by inches or even centimeters in overtime on a 4th down. Ohio State capped off the win shortly after and they barely got to the CFB Playoff. The Hosiers just hope to reach a respectable bowl game this season. They’re coming off a 26-24 loss to Utah in the Foster Farms Bowl. Head blow for our college football pick in this BIG 10 Thursday night matchup.
Ohio State Buckeyes vs. Indiana Hoosiers Betting Odds:
Ohio State -21(-110)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
Ohio State vs. Indiana Pick:
The last time Ohio State visited Bloomington, they were nearly upset but ultimately pulled it out by a score of 34-27. The Buckeyes cannot afford to sit back on their heels and take Indiana lightly. The following year they beat Indiana, 38-17 in Columbus. Indiana will be going to a new offense in their first-year under head coach Tom Allen.
Allen was previously the defensive coordinator at Indiana before taking the head coaching job. Kevin Wilson exited and went to none other than Ohio State, taking their vacant OC job. There may be some bad blood between Wilson and Indiana, so it’s going to be interesting to see how he can use it to his advantage.
I look for the Hoosiers to employ more of a methodical pro-style offense than going quick and playing wide open football. They would like to play prototypical smash mouth BIG 10 football. Richard Lagow will be back under center at quarterback for Indiana, albeit he must learn a new system. Lagow was prone to making mistakes.
Lagow is a pro-style quarterback so I believe this offense will eventually play to his strengths. However, he has a tall task opening against a fast Ohio State defense. He completed just 57.8 percent of his passes, with 19 touchdowns and 17 interceptions. The Hoosiers lose what was expected to be their starting running back, Camion Patrick, after he announced he was quitting football due to injuries. Further, the offensive line should be a work in progress with new faces on the line.
The defense should be better here, though. Allen wants to reinvent Indiana as a program that plays solid defense and can effectively run the ball. Indiana should be good in that regard, they return nine starters. In any case, I expect some growing pains for the Indiana offense. I don’t see them making an impact on a potent Ohio State defensive unit. The Hoosier defense may step up and make some plays, but the offense isn’t going to help them out any. The Buckeyes pull away in the 4th quarter and secure a 42-17 win or thereabout.
PICK: OHIO STATE -21 (-110)