Ohio St. Buckeyes
2021-22 Season Record 11-2 (8-1 Big Ten East) - 6-6-1 ATS - 8-5-0 O/U
Offense - 6
Defense - 8
You know your program is in damn good shape when your returning starters over the last four seasons are 11, 13, 9 and 11 and you still lose only five games. How good can Ohio St. be this season with 14 players coming back including their quarterback? Not counting the COVID season, the Buckeyes have had double-digit win seasons in 15 of the last 16 campaigns, sorry Luke Fickell, yet they have just the one National Championship in 2014 and they have been the bridesmaid two other times. The accolades can go on forever but that gets boring. Head coach Ryan Day has not missed a beat since Urban Meyer departed as he has compiled a 34-4 record in three and a quarter seasons and this is his best team yet. Finishing in the top six every year in his time here is impressive yet that has been commonplace for eight straight seasons but now it is time to take home the big one.
The Buckeyes could not be stopped last season as they were held to fewer than 500 total yards only four times and finished No. 1 in the country in both total offense and scoring offense and despite just six starters back, they will be just as good. Quarterback C.J. Stroud threw for 4,435 yards with 44 touchdowns and just six interceptions and still did not win the Heisman but anything close to that and he will likely get the "sympathy" vote this season. He has the best receiver in college football to throw to in Jaxon Smith-Njigba who hauled in 95 passes for 1,606 yards and had the greatest Rose Bowl ever. If that is not enough, running back Treveyon Henderson returns after rushing for 1,248 yards and 15 touchdowns at a 6.8 ypc clip. The offensive line has future NFL players all around so let us pencil in Ohio St. to have the top ranked offense in the nation once again.
Finishing No. 52 in total defense would be a disaster for most teams striving for a National Championship but the Buckeyes were so good on offense, the defense got penalized for it. They were stout against the run and while the passing defense was ranked No. 98, it was for good reason as the opposition had no choice but to pass. To put it in a little better perspective, they were No. 50 in passing efficiency defense, being a bend but do not break unit. And they are loaded once again with eight starters back consisting of plenty of NFL talent. The big loss up front is defensive tackle Haskell Garrett who led the team in sacks but there is no drop off and this unit is deep. Both linebackers return as Tommy Eichenberg and Steele Chambers combined for 111 tackles. The secondary is anchored by safety Ronnie Hickman who led the team with 98 tackles and both starting corners also return.
2022 Season Outlook
It is hard to fault a team that has been so consistently impressive but come on Ohio St., go play a nonconference game on the road which it has not done since 2015. Top to bottom on both sides, this is probably the most talented team in the country and there is just one goal and that is to bring home a National Championship. Well, there are actually two goals, the other being to rough up Michigan at home in the season finale. First things first, at least the Buckeyes scheduled a power team at home as they open with Notre Dame, the first of five straight home games that includes a tough one against Wisconsin. The two difficult road games are at Michigan St. and Penn St. with a home game against Iowa in-between so that is a tough stretch. The O/U win total is set at 10.5 but at 2-1 odds and it is over or nothing here and while a freak upset could happen, it just does not seen likely.