Everybody loves college football.
If somebody tells you they don’t love it, they’re wrong.
We look forward to particular games and watching certain players.
Each week we get to see something new.
That is especially true if you think about the sheer number of individual matchups there are to watch this season.
And that’s just the Ohio State games.
And that’s just the regular season Ohio State games. There could be three other games after that!
Since we are in the home stretch of our federally mandated 9-month hibernation period, it’s okay to start talking about the matchups we’re going to see, because it’s not so far off as to be considered classless teasing.
So let’s take a look at the 100 Ohio State matchups to watch this season, beginning from the bottom, which is still going to be a hell of a lot of fun to watch.
80. Wisconsin CB Faion Hicks. vs WR Binjimen Victor
Faion Hicks started 11 games as a freshman last season for the Badgers. He’ll have his hands full with the 6-foot-4, 200-pound senior Binjimen Victor. Ohio State has played Wisconsin twice in Victor’s career, but he has yet to record a catch against the Badgers. Both teams could come into this late October game ranked in the Top 5.
79. Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant vs. WR Austin Mack
Coby Bryant is a big corner (6-1 190) who amassed 33 tackles last season, broke up nine passes, and intercepted two more. He was a third-team all-conference selection. Austin Mack doesn’t mind physicality. The Bearcats are going to come out swinging in this game. Mack’s response in his matchups with Bryant will be key.
78. Michigan SAF Daxton Hill vs. HB KJ Hill
The old vet of KJ Hill in the slot against the newest 5-star defensive back in Maize and Blue. What’s not to like?
77. Penn State OG Steven Gonzalez vs. DT Jashon Cornell
This one won’t be pretty, but Ohio State needs to stop Penn State’s dynamic running backs. Senior defensive tackle Jashon Cornell against senior offensive guard Steven Gonzalez is going to be a slugfest best reserved for professionals.
76. Northwestern SAF JR Pace vs. HB KJ Hill
This game is taking place on a Friday night, so every play will be magnified by the eyes of a national audience. JR Pace put up 82 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 7 PBUs, and 4 interceptions last season. KJ Hill may be Justin Fields’ top target this season out of the slot. Somebody’s going to have to defend him. It may as well be one of the top safeties in the Big Ten.
75. Northwestern RB Isaiah Bowser vs. LB Teradja Mitchell
Isaiah Bowser rushed for 866 yards last season as a true freshman. He is a big back (6-1 216) who runs hard. Enter Ohio State sophomore middle linebacker Teradja Mitchell. He has a fight on his hands in camp, but he would be fun to watch in this matchup.
74. Cincinnati RB Michael Warren vs. SAF Jordan Fuller
Michael Warren was second in the AAC last year with 1,329 yards rushing and 19 touchdowns. He averaged 5.5 yards per carry and earned first-team all-conferenc recognition. Warren had seven rushes of 30 yards or more last season. Ohio State’s last line of defense this season looks to be Jordan Fuller, who will need to rally to the football and be the security that this OSU defense was missing last year.
73. Maryland QB Joshua Jackson vs. BUL Brendon White
Joshua Jackson is a mobile and experienced quarterback who will be playing quite a bit of cat and mouse with Brendon White. White will be moving from linebacker to safety and Jackson will need to find him on every snap. Blitzes could come from anywhere. Keeping Jackson from getting comfortable will be key in this one.
72. Northwestern WR Bennett Skowronek vs. CB Jeff Okudah
At 6-foot-4 and 211 pounds, Bennett Skowronek is a big target for quarterback Hunter Johnson. Receivers his size are the reason why corners like Jeff Okudah (6-1 200) are so important to have. Okudah is expected to be one of the best cornerbacks in the nation this season. Skowronek caught 4 passes for 42 yards against the Buckeyes last season in the Big Ten Championship Game. He’s caught 45 passes each of the last two seasons.
71. Nebraska LT Brenden Jaimes vs. DE Jonathon Cooper
Brenden Jaimes is a junior heading into his third season as a starter on the offensive line for the Cornhuskers. Everybody is pointing at this game as a possible loss for Ohio State, and if Jonathon Cooper can win enough battles against Jaimes in this game, then the Buckeyes should be fine.
70. Penn State WR Justin Shorter vs. CB Damon Arnette
Justin Shorter was the No. 1 receiver in the 2018 recruiting class, but redshirted last year. Listed at 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, Shorter is a monster of a wide receiver, but he is still very unproven. By late November, however, he should be just fine. Waiting for him will be a pair of aggressive Buckeye cornerbacks, including fifth-year senior Damon Arnette, who has no back-down in him.
69. Penn State DT Robert Windsor vs. LG Jonah Jackson
Robert Windsor had a sack and two tackles for loss with a forced fumble last year against Rutgers. Neither of those TFLs came against Rutgers transfer Jonah Jackson. In fact, on each play, Jackson is blocking his man well past the whistle being blown. This year with Jackson at left guard instead of right guard, perhaps he will now get a chance to stifle one of the most active defensive tackles in the Big Ten.
68. Michigan State WR Cody White vs. CB Jeff Okudah
Jeff Okudah is going to be a busy guy this season, but that doesn’t necessarily include footballs flying his way. This game could be a bit different, however, because Cody White had a season-high 115 yards receiving against the Buckeyes in 2018. With a healthy Brian Lewerke at quarterback this season, Okudah will need to be ready for the Spartans’ passing game.
67. Maryland RB Anthony McFarland vs. SAF Jordan Fuller
Ohio State needs a more secure last line of defense against Anthony McFarland than they had last year. McFarland rushed for 298 yards on 21 carries against the Buckeyes last season. He’d probably still be running if not for the NCAA’s rules against working more than 20 hours per week. This year, McFarland cannot be allowed to go off like he did a year ago. Jordan Fuller is a door closer, even if the hallway is a bit longer with him coming from his deep safety position. Still 11 yards given up is better than 85.
66. Wisconsin OG David Moorman vs. DT Taron Vincent
David Moorman has played in 39 games, but has never been a starter. This will be a fun test to watch for Ohio State sophomore defensive tackle Taron Vincent. Vincent is quick and strong, and he’ll need to be more than that when it comes to their October 26 matchup. Stopping running back Jonathan Taylor is the recipe for Ohio State success here and Vincent is going to be a key ingredient.
65. Nebraska CB Lamar Jackson vs. WR Austin Mack
This could be a fun one. Lamar Jackson is Nebraska’s 6-foot-3, 215-pound cornerback and Austin Mack is Ohio State’s 6-foot-2, 215-pound wide receiver. Hopefully they will face off at least a bit in what might be the toughest game on the Buckeyes’ schedule this year. Jackson has 24 career starts.
64. Penn State RB Ricky Slade vs. LB Teradja Mitchell
This game could pit a former 5-star Virginia running back against a former 5-star Virginia middle linebacker. Both may be in a backup role, but there should be plenty of snaps available for the furiously talented. Ricky Slade is a quick and slippery runner, while Teradja Mitchell is a double-sided hammer.
63. Cincinnati RB Michael Warren vs. LB Malik Harrison
This may be the busiest matchup of the season. If this game is close, expect Luke Fickell to rely on Michael Warren as a ball-control clockburner. Malik Harrison will probably lead the Buckeyes in tackles this season, and at least a dozen may happen in this game alone.
62. Michigan SAF Josh Metellus vs. HB Jaelen Gill
Josh Metellus is No. 14 for Michigan. Jaelen Gill is filling some of the void left by the departure of Parris Campbell. Why is this an important matchup? Remember last year?
Some late night film on #Michigan LB Devin Bush reminded me of this play from #OSU WR Parris Campbell. Guys that run like this with the ball in their hands usually don't last very long in the draft. pic.twitter.com/BygVUIW28v
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) March 14, 2019
61. Michigan PR Donovan Peoples-Jones vs. P Drue Chrisman
This would be a top 10 matchup if we knew for sure that Ohio State would be punting in this game. Donovan Peoples-Jones has returned a punt return for a touchdown in each of the past two seasons. Punter Drue Chrisman is fantastic at pinning opponents and forcing fair catches. Opponents have averaged about one punt return per game against Ohio State this decade.