One of the week’s marquee matchups will have the backdrop to match, as these two nationally ranked schools will be facing off at Jerry World in prime time. AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas will play host to the game between #4 Ohio State and #15 TCU, which will be broadcast on ABC.
While it’s still very early in the regular season, it’s going to have a huge bearing on next week’s polls. If Ohio State comes up short, then those whispers about the Buckeyes possibly not being the top team in the Big Ten this season will only grow louder.
For TCU, a victory over a heavily-favored Ohio State squad would rocket the Horned Frogs up the charts. Final outcome aside, this one has the potential to be a real dandy.
Let’s take a detailed look at a game that just may be the best of the week when all is said and done.
Ohio State vs. TCU, 8 PM EST, ABC
- Ohio State -12.5 (-110)
- TCU +12.5 (-110)
- Ohio State -465
- TCU +390
- Over 5 (-115)
- Under 5 (-105)
Ohio State vs. TCU pick:
Both Ohio State and TCU enter this game with a mark of 2-0 after having dropped a ton of points on their first two opponents. The Buckeyes have outscored opponents by a score of 129-34 thus far, while the Horned Frogs have dropped 97 points while only giving up 19.
For Ohio State, opening week brought the Oregon State Beavers to town. While the game was never in doubt, the Buckeyes did give up 31 points to lesser competition. However, that was mitigated by the fact that they managed to score 77.
There were plenty of plaudits to go around on the offensive side of the ball, but sophomore QB Dwayne Haskins stole the show. Haskins threw for 313 yards, 5 TDs, and one pick, and he added on 24 rushing yards. The Beavers turned the ball over twice on the day, while the Buckeyes were able to get to the QB 5 times.
In Week 2, Ohio State welcomed the Rutgers Scarlet Knights to town. This one was even more lopsided right from the get go. When the final whistle sounded, the Buckeyes walked out with a 52-3 victory. Haskins was a star on offense once again with 233 yards and 4 scores.
A committee approach in the backfield produced 225 yards and 2 TDs. This game got out of hand pretty quickly, as the Buckeyes were up 35-0 at halftime. Since the dogs were called off pretty early, the defense had to settle for 2 turnovers and 3 sacks on the day.
TCU has had a similarly easy time through two weeks. The Southern Jaguars were first up on the docket, and the Horned Frogs dropped 55 points while the visitors could only muster 7. Sophomore QB Shawn Robinson was electric, as he was responsible for 5 TDs on the day.
Robinson threw for 182 yards and 3 TDs, and he added on 45 yards and two more scores on the ground. The Jaguars turned the ball over 3 times, while the Horned Frogs defense notched 3 sacks.
Next up, the SMU Mustangs came to town for a game that was delayed by weather concerns. Once it finally kicked off, TCU took a little time to get its bearings, as the school only had a 14-12 lead at the half. The final tally was vastly different.
TCU won by a score of 42-12 behind another strong performance from Robinson. The sophomore threw for 154 yards, 1 TD, and one pick, and he added on 67 yards and another score on the ground for good measure. Defensively, the Horned Frogs forced a single turnover and sacked the QB 4 times.
On the expectations front, oddsmakers view the Buckeyes as legitimate national title contenders with odds of 5/1. TCU is a longer shot to make that happen at 50/1. For season win totals, the Buckeyes have an expectation of 10.5 wins, while the Horned Frogs have been pegged at 8 wins.
Looking ahead to the rest of the month, TCU closes out September with a home game against Texas and a road tilt against Iowa State. For the Buckeyes, a home game against the Tulane Green Wave is up next, followed by a tough matchup against the Penn State Nittany Lions, the current #11 team in the nation.
These two schools have six times altogether, but not once since 1973. Hence, we don’t have any historical data to glean clues from for this week’s matchup. Overall, Ohio State has a 4-1-1 edge in the series.
For this week’s game, it really comes down to two simple questions: Can Shawn Robinson build off his electric start and keep the good times rolling against much tougher competition? Can TCU slow down a Buckeyes offense that looks to be incredibly dangerous?
If the answer to both of those questions is a resounding ‘yes,’ then we have ourselves a competitive and entertaining ballgame on Saturday night. If both turn out to be ‘no,’ then the Buckeyes win and likely cover. Assuming the answer is somewhere in the middle, then we at least have a game that will remain competitive into the fourth quarter.
We can safely assume that Robinson will have a tougher go of things this week, but his mobility should afford him the opportunity to pick his spots and make a few things happen. As for the Horned Frogs defense, we’re going to expect an inspired effort due to both the stage and the overall magnitude of the primetime game.
When all is said and done, the talent gap proves to be too much for the Horned Frogs to overcome. That said, the edge is not so dramatic that TCU can’t put quite a scare in the Buckeyes.
Ohio State takes the victory, but TCU does enough to keep it close and cover.