Everybody here correctly picked Ohio State to defeat Florida Atlantic last week, and if you know anything about my predicting abilities, I’m gonna make note of every single one that I get right.
The closest pick, however, came from Tom Orr, who went with 45-17, but we don’t have time to continue talking about last week’s game. We have to move on to Cincinnati.
Do you think the Buckeyes or Ryan Day are still talking about Tom’s pick? Of course not. They have moved on and so are we.
Ohio State is currently a 16-point favorite with an over/under of 53, which means Vegas is looking at a score of around 34-18 or 35-17, something like that.
Will our picks mirror that?
It seems strange to say, but I currently have more faith in Ohio State’s defense than offense right now. I don’t see Cincinnati being able to score more than 17 points in this one. The Bearcats have good players, but they don’t necessarily have explosive playmakers. They are going to run some power spread, but that suits what Ohio State does on defense. I expect Malik Harrison to have a big day in this one, and don’t be surprised if Baron Browning is in the backfield a couple of times as well.
I’m not a believe in the running game yet, but that could change this week. I can’t wait to see what Justin Fields looks like against a defense that has played defense before. I don’t think it will be easy for the Buckeyes on offense, but I think they’ll wear the Bearcats down and finish comfortably.
Ohio State 31, Cincinnati 13
I’ve been really excited for this matchup for a long time now. This is the first time this season that Ohio State team is facing a good football team and this will be a true test for the Buckeyes.
Luke Fickell and his Bearcats are coming into Ohio Stadium with something to prove, knowing that this is a huge game for both teams. Cincinnati presents a challenge for Ohio State’s defense in both the pass game and the run game. Unlike last week, the Buckeye defense is going to have to stay disciplined for the entire 60 minutes if they want to stop UC’s talented quarterback and running back duo. I think the defensive line will show out again and the secondary will be making plays and getting their hands on some balls. But it has to be a consistent effort throughout the game, or Cincinnati will take advantage of it.
But this game will be harder for Justin Fields. He is facing a defense that was one of the top in the nation last year. The line will have to protect longer, but Fields will also have to make the right reads on the options. I predict Fields will have a solid performance once again, but it will be a little bit harder and there will be a few more mistakes and challenges to navigate through along the way.
I think Ohio State is the more talented team and has the weapons to win this game in the end, but Cincinnati will give them a good fight and will make this a tough game.
Ohio State 38, Cincinnati 17
Ohio State will need to stop the running game — specifically Michael Warren II — and the defense will need to keep Desmond Ridder from getting outside the defensive ends on the waggle, where he can be effective in both the passing game and picking up yards with his feet.
On the other side of the ball, I expect the Bearcats to try to crowd the line of scrimmage, disrupt the offensive line, and force Justin Fields to beat them with his arm. The running game probably won’t be there early but the Buckeyes have to remain committed to it in order to wear down the defensive line and find success in the fourth quarter.
Separation on the scoreboard will likely only come late in the game and the Buckeyes must be patient.
Ohio State 34, Cincinnati 20
I am not in the “freaking out about the Buckeye offense” boat. The offense was amazing early on. With that said, I think the Buckeyes made a business decision on Saturday. You get inexperienced players the repetitions they needed while putting them in situations where they are least likely to get hurt. Especially with Justin Fields, who I do not think is as bad at the read option as he showed on Saturday. I think he was told to keep it…I hope that is the case. The offense will show its true potential on Saturday.
Defensively, the Buckeyes looked more Silver Bullet-y than we have seen them in a while. They played fast, aggressive, and with an attitude. With more depth back at DE, and Cornell moving back inside, the defensive line will be a dominant force and rack up at least 5 sacks on the day. I also predict a Shaun Wade interception and a Demario McCall return touchdown.
Ohio State 41, Northern Kentucky 17
It’s always dangerous to overreact to week one of the college football season.
Last year, #20 Virginia Tech went on the road and absolutely destroyed #19 Florida State, 24-3. Two weeks later, the Hokies lost to Old Dominion and finished the year 6-7.
A year ago, #23 Texas lost to Maryland for the second straight season, 34-29. The Longhorns went on to beat Oklahoma during the regular season, beat Georgia in the Sugar Bowl and finish with 10 wins.
You can’t just assume that the Buckeye offense is exactly what it looked like during the first eight minutes of the FAU game. But it’s also likely not exactly what it looked like during the slog that followed.
And you can’t assume that the OSU defense is the world-beater it looked like during the first half of that game, either.
But as crazy as it sounds, coming out of week one there might be more reason to believe in the Buckeye defense than the offense – at least for now.
This will likely be competitive well into the second half as UC uses its rushing attack to shorten the game.
(Don’t overreact to week two, either.)
Ohio State 27, Cincinnati 17
Maybe I am being overly pessimistic, but I see Ohio State having their hands full with Cincinnati in this game. I realize that UCLA self-destructed a lot in their season opener, but I agree with the opinions of Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson, who said of the Bearcats, “They’re really a Big Ten team.”
Throw in the Luke Fickell and Marcus Freeman connections, plus a roster of Ohio kids who feel slighted that they did not get an Ohio State scholarship offer, and I see this game going into the fourth quarter before Ohio State starts to pull away from the pesky and tenacious Bearcats, with too much speed and depth across the board.
Ohio State 31, Cincinnati 21
If FAU was a custom-designed test for the defense, then Cincy is that for Ohio State’s offense. Luke Fickell’s defense was top 20 in points against, total yards allowed, and rushing defense. If you are going into this game hoping for it to be over by halftime, please adjust your expectations.
That being said, I don’t think Ohio State’s nearly hundred-year-old winning streak against in-state foes is in immediate danger. I just don’t think it will be easy. The difference will be Ohio State’s young and unproven offensive line vs UC’s young and unproven defensive line. Ohio State must run efficiently and use the run option as an actual option instead of just a slow handoff.
I don’t expect this game to be over before the fourth quarter, but Ohio State’s depth will win out.
Ohio State 35, Cincinnati 20
Early and often, we are going to hear how Ohio State hasn’t lost to an in-state opponent in nearly 100 years. Cincinnati has given the Buckeyes some close games this century too. UC returns a large chunk of their defense, and played well last week against UCLA. OSU looked great for a quarter, and then went into relax mode.
Look for OSU to continue relying on the ground game this week, and taking a few more risks with Fields running the ball. This will also open up the passing attack, and I expect some big play-action passes.
On defense, Ohio State is going to be attacked, but should continue to blossom in this new defense. I see Baron “Kwon Jr” Browning having a big game, even going so far as to say this will be his coming of age game.
On the field, this will feel like a closer game than we’d like, but the good guys will move to 2-0.
OSU 35, UC 17
The Bearcats of Northern Kentucky will come into The Shoe full of the energy that comes with trying to knock off your big brother. This year, unlike some others, they have enough talent and discipline on defense to make things interesting.
The Buckeyes must put a halt to the Bearcat energy early and not let them gain momentum for any duration of time in the game. To do this, J.K. Dobbins and the offensive line must step up their game and get a solid push against the UC defense.
On top of that, Justin Fields needs to “play within himself,” as they say, and not try to stretch plays that aren’t there. Instead, if he sticks with a solid Ryan Day gameplan, avoids big hits, makes a couple of plays with his feet, and protects the football, the Buckeyes will pull out a hard-fought win.
OSU’s defense should continue to keep it simple. They looked like a different team against FAU, played downhill, and used their athleticism to their favor. All that is on the table again, and the opportunities for turnovers will be there, as UC tries to make big things happen.
The Bucks pull away late… oh, and the kicker scores a lot of points! #LoveTheSpecialists
OSU 30, UC 17