The formula for picking Ohio State football games this season has been remarkably simple.
Step 1: Figure out the score a normal, rational human would have picked at the beginning of the year.
Step 2: Divide the opponent’s total in half.
Step 3: Add 24 points to Ohio State’s total.
Step 4: Add another touchdown or two for the Buckeyes if they’re extra-motivated because of a player suspension, bad weather, non-preferred kickoff time, or the phase of the moon.
Step 5: Profit.
The formula worked again last week as the Buckeyes, favored to win by a score of something like 53-10 according to the Vegas point spread and over/under number, instead drubbed the Terps 73-14. And for the ninth week in a row, the game wasn’t really as close as the score might have indicated.
Brandon Zimmerman was the closest to the correct score last weekend. He picked 63-7, the most optimistic prognostication of anyone on staff.
Oh, and he undershot the Buckeyes’ score by 10 points.
This weekend, the team that has been exceeding all expectations every week plays what very well may be its single worst opponent of the year.
Yes, they beat Miami 76-5, but the RedHawks are already bowl-eligible at 6-4, have two extremely winnable games left, and are likely going to play in the MAC Championship Game.
Could Rutgers make it to the MAC Championship Game?
No, seriously, I’m really asking because there’s a decent chance the answer is “no.”
I’m going to be honest and just say Saturday is going to be UGLY. The Buckeyes will turn to their youth and their backups early on but all of those guys are still really good and are going to make big plays.
Ohio State defeated Rutgers 52-3 in 2018 and remember how bad the Buckeye defense was last year?
I know the Buckeyes have a big game next week and can’t get caught looking ahead but the biggest thing for Ohio State is just going to be getting out of there healthy. The game will be over early and I expect to see a lot of the backups, which should give some players rest for next weekend.
If Ohio State comes out like they did last weekend, I’m predicting the same kind of outcome in the end.
Ohio State 63 Rutgers 14
This is probably the least humane I’ve ever felt giving a staff pick, but when you sign up for this job, you know there is a Rutgers game on the schedule every year and it is going to make you feel like a terrible person when you ultimately spell it all out.
I feel like Ohio State is going to New Jersey this weekend to beat up an orphanage.
This is just a home for wayward kids and the Buckeyes are coming for them. This is like The Purge meeting Oliver Twist.
I don’t even want to mention any player names with this pick because they may not want their identities known.
The Purge 70, Oliver Twist 0
Ohio State has been beating Rutgers soundly since the Scarlet Knights were inexplicably admitted into The B1G, and this year’s squad may be the worst of the bunch.
Look for another bench clearing exercise, with lots of freshmen who have not yet met the 4 game threshold, redshirt freshmen, and walk-ons who made the travel squad to get their last appreciable playing time until the 2020 Ohio State Spring Game.
In certain respects, the Ohio State Spring Game may actually represent more competitiveness than what will be seen on Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm.
Ohio State 73, Rutgers 7
I can’t wait to watch the OSU first team play for about a quarter on Saturday. Honestly, I can’t even pretend like there will be things I am watching for tomorrow so I won’t even waste all of your time. Let’s just hope the team stays healthy.
Ohio State 84, Rutgers 3
If you listened to the Thursday evening episode of the “Buckeye Weekly” podcast, you know the story behind this pick.
If not, you can find it here.
The reality of this weekend is that Rutgers has basically no say in the final score. Their side of the scoreboard is going to be a zero unless OSU does something silly.
OSU’s side of the scoreboard is going to stop spinning like a pinball machine when the Buckeyes decide they’re done for the day and not a moment before.
And I’m tired of picking what seem like impressively high scores every week and then having the Buckeyes blow them away.
Ohio State 222, Rutgers 0