The Ohio State football program has been a revived powerhouse under sixth-year head coach Urban Meyer, who is 61-6 in his tenure in Columbus, and he intends to keep it that way. The Buckeyes won the national title in 2014, the first year of the College Football Playoff, and have lost just three games in the two years since.
They should be among the top teams in the nation again in 2017 as the team welcomes back one of the best quarterbacks in the nation in J.T. Barrett, a solid defense and a talented young recruiting class. Meyer brought in a new offensive coordinator and a new quarterbacks coach this season to ensure that Barrett and company have the guidance they need to thrive in 2017.
2016 Record: 11-2 SU, 6-7 ATS, 6-6 O/U
2017 Regular Season Win Total: 11
National Championship Odds: +450
Odds To Win Big Ten: +122
The Buckeyes went 11-2 last season, finishing with only one regular season loss before falling miserably to Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal game. The Buckeyes were shut out by Clemson in the Fiesta Bowl by a score of 31-0, marking a bitter ending to an otherwise successful campaign.
The team’s sole regular season loss was to Penn State by a field goal, but it did show signs of weakness, particularly down the stretch against Big Ten opponents Michigan State and Michigan. Barrett threw for 2,555 yards and 24 touchdowns in 2016 and rushed for 845 more yards with nine touchdowns on the ground.
The secondary, which was in question at the start of the season, emerged as a strength thanks to first-round NFL draft picks Malik Hooker, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley. The unit returned seven interceptions for a touchdown last season and will be tough to replace in 2017.
Ohio State has 16 returning starters this season, but there are still a few holes to fill. The offense is headlined by Barrett, of course, who has plenty of experience heading into his senior season but has struggled at times with consistency.
It is unclear who will emerge as his top target in 2017. Last year’s most productive receivers, Noah Brown and Curtis Samuel, are both gone and the team will be looking for someone to emerge as deep threat. Sophomore Mike Weber is back as the No. 1 running back and will look to improve upon his 1,096-yard rushing performance last year.
The defense will still be very good despite the departure of Hooker, Lattimore and Conley in the secondary. Junior cornerback Denzel Ward returns with a lot of experience, despite never starting in a game for Ohio State. Ward played in every game last season and recorded nine pass breakups and 23 tackles.
Up front, there is a ton of experience and a lot of depth . This defensive line could wreak havoc against opposing offenses. Among the top returners are defensive ends Tyquan, Sam Hubbard and Jalyn Holmes. Lewis is the reigning Big Ten Defensive Lineman of the Year.
As good as Ohio State should be this year, the Big Ten is hardly an easy conference. The team’s biggest
tests should come from familiar foes like Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State, who all appear in the last half of the schedule. The Buckeyes also host Oklahoma in Week 2, however, and take on Nebraska and Iowa in that tough final stretch.
The Buckeyes will be playing for a Big Ten title again this season and will also be gunning for another College Football Playoff appearance. That loss to Clemson in last year’s semifinals -- Meyer’s first ever shutout loss -- will serve as the motivator for a championship-or-bust 2017 season.
Thursday, August 31: Ohio State at Indiana
Saturday, September 9: Ohio State vs. Oklahoma
Saturday, September 16: Ohio State vs. Army
Saturday, September 23: Ohio State vs. UNLV
Saturday, September 30: Ohio State at Rutgers
Saturday, October 7: Ohio State vs. Maryland
Saturday, October 14: Ohio State at Nebraska
Saturday, October 28: Ohio State vs. Penn State
Saturday, November 4: Ohio State at Iowa
Saturday, November 11: Ohio State vs. Michigan State
Saturday, November 18: Ohio State vs. Illinois
Saturday, November 25: Ohio State at Michigan
|SEC Conference||Big 10 Conference|
|ACC Conference||Big 12 Conference|
|Pac 12 Conference||Big East Conference|
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