[If you just want to read some predictions, you might want to skip to the bottom.]
When I write my predictions for each game, I don’t just write my predictions. I think about them. I visualize every possible possibility, which is like possibilities squared. So you’ll have to forgive me if through all of that data I might miss a prediction or two.
Imagine listening to a full symphony orchestra and being responsible for picking out any particular note.
“Hey, I want you to raise your hand when you hear the third oboe player play a C flat for a double half measure in the midst of all of the other noise going on.”
You can’t do it, and it has nothing to do with whether or not those are even musical terms I used. I think one is actually a Starbucks order, but that’s beside the point. There is a ton of information that goes through my brains when I decide on a prediction, and sometimes that information isn’t properly vetted because of all of the noise.
I only bring all of this up because I have received grief from people who were upset that I graded myself a perfect 5-for-5 with my Oklahoma game predictions. Forgive me for assuming the best of me just this once. Just once. You couldn’t even allow me this sliver of a glimpse of a whisper of feeling good about myself.
So, in order to appease the prediction shamers, I went back and graded my Oklahoma predictions. We’ll do those first and then get into a quick recap of the Army predictions. I hope this makes you feel really good about yourself.
1. Ohio State’s running backs will combine for at least 225 yards rushing.
Outcome: Failed it. Mike Weber and J.K. Dobbins rushed for 101 yards and, based on their low number of carries, that was seemingly 80 more yards than OSU wanted them to get. You’ve never truly made it in this business until the coaches that you cover are willing to lose a huge football game just to make you look bad. But I’ll tell you this — YOU are the ones who look bad. Not me.
2. J.T. Barrett will complete a pass that travels at least 30 yards in the air down the field.
Outcome: Nailed it. Remember that Austin Mack catch that was reviewed? It was a 31-yard gain. Boom!
3. A cornerback will be involved in a turnover.
Outcome: Nailed it. On fourth down, Baker Mayfield threw an incompletion to a receiver being covered by Kendall Sheffield. You’re damn right I’m counting this.
4. Parris Campbell will score a touchdown.
Outcome: Failed it. Not sure how they expect him to score if they don’t give him the ball. I expected a touchdown to come on the ground, and I even said it in my prediction. Clearly, the coaches were bound and determined to keep that from happening. But notice how they got Campbell involved in the run game the next week. So transparent and petty.
5. Ohio State will hold Oklahoma to under 100 yards rushing.*
Outcome: Nailed it. The asterisk allowed me to remove any yards that came from backup quarterback Kyler Murray. Without those nine yards, the Sooners were held to 95 yards.
Now we move to the Army game. It would be hilarious if I just assumed a 5-for-5 and moved on to my UNLV predictions. But I won’t.
1. J.K. Dobbins will have a 40-yard carry.
Outcome: Nailed it. I want you to see the rest of this prediction, since you asked. “And I fully expect him to go over 100 yards in about 12-14 carries. … I’m really feeling a long run for him and at least one more of 30 yards or more.” Dobbins had a 52-yard touchdown. He rushed for 172 yards on 13 carries. And he also had a 36-yard carry. That’s FOUR correct predictions in just one prediction. The fact that I only get credit for one correct is asinine. Imagine hitting a grand slam and only getting credit for a solo shot. I guarantee you if you ever nailed a prediction like I just did here and only got 25% credit, your week would be ruined. This is the 19th such time I have done this and it still hurts every single time. My self worth comes from people knowing how smart I am, and so when I am forced to limit their perceptions of me, I get pretty upset.
2. Army will be held to 40 yards passing.
Outcome: Nailed it. Army passed for just 19 yards, which was half of what I predicted, which means that I got this prediction doubly correct! That’s six correct predictions. So far I’m 6-for-2, which is upwards of … sixty…two?… percent?
3. Dwayne Haskins will throw his first career touchdown pass.
Outcome: Failed it. Urban Meyer’s love of country and hate of me kept Dwayne Haskins from making this happen. I can’t get too upset, however, because I have to pace myself. It’s a long season.
4. The Buckeyes will have a non-offensive touchdown.
Outcome: Failed it. This is what I get for allowing Stupid Tony to have a crack at it.
5. At least three true freshmen will have tackles.
Outcome: Nailed it. Amir Riep, Chase Young, and Jeff Okudah all had tackles. Weed it and Riep.
Season Total: 10 of 15 Correct
I’m not the type of person to pat myself on my back for getting predictions correct. I’m supposed to get them correct. That’s why I spend hours upon hours every day studying tendencies and watching animal videos on YouTube. While I appreciate the occasional feedback and thank yous that I get from the readers, your silent wonderment has always been plenty.
Now with all of that out of the way, we can finally move on to UNLV.
1. Somebody other than J.K. Dobbins will have a rush of 20 yards.
I fully expect J.K. Dobbins to have a couple of these himself. In fact, I could see him having 120 yards rushing in the first half. But he won’t be the only Buckeye with a 20-yard carry. Parris Campbell will certainly have an opportunity on a sweep of some sort. Antonio Williams could add one as well. I have no idea how much Mike Weber will play, but he’s a candidate as well. Wouldn’t it be amazing if the only 20-yard rush came from Drue Chrisman on a fake punt?
2. A cornerback will have an interception.
I feel like Kendall Sheffield is due for an interception. The Buckeye defense is excited to be playing a normal offense once again, and the secondary is looking forward to making amends for their performance the first two weeks of the season. Last week was merely a break in the action. Business picks back up on Saturday and there are some corners who are looking to make some plays. This might be where freshman Jeff Okudah makes his bid for playing time as well.
3. A freshman will have a sack.
After three games, no freshmen have sacks for the Buckeyes. Only a few freshmen have even seen snaps on defense. There are more of them seeing time, however, including redshirt freshman Tuf Borland, who might be getting the start at middle linebacker on Saturday. While I was mulling this prediction over for the last four hours, the image that kept appearing in my “mind camera” was Chase Young in the second half getting his first sack. But a Borland blitz on first down in the first quarter will work too.
4. Antonio Williams will rush for at least 45 yards.
Yeah, you’re not impressed with that number, but Antonio Williams’ current career-high rushing total is 44 yards, which came in the Indiana game. I’m thinking he goes for at least 70 in this one because he could be very busy in the fourth quarter. Rather than jump to 70, however, I’m just going to stick with Williams getting a career high. If Mike Weber and Demario McCall are still not good to go, then Williams could end up leading the Buckeyes in carries in this one.
5. There will be three receptions where a player picks up at least 20 yards after the catch.
Ohio State only has seven completions of at least 20 yards this season, so expecting three catch-and-runs of 20 yards is pretty stupid. That’s what we’ve come to expect from Stupid Tony, though. Stupid Tony is the kind of guy who shows up at a tailgate with an empty flask and somehow before he leaves, his flask is full. That being said, a catch-and-run is the best bet for a big gain because, as we’ve seen, the Buckeyes aren’t allowed to complete deep passes.
Bonus: The first legit bomb of the season will be completed.
It has the be this week, right? UNLV plays man-to-man defense, which is something that Ohio State hasn’t seen yet. Will they change to a zone coverage scheme like others have? Probably. That doesn’t mean they’ll be good at it.