Head coach: Ryan Day (first full year)
Last year’s record: 13-1 (8-1 Big Ten), Rose Bowl win against Washington, 28-23
Final AP ranking: No. 3
Recruiting Ranking: No. 14 (3 5-stars, 9 4-stars, 5 3-stars)
First game: Aug. 31 vs. Florida Atlantic (futures available on BetAmerica)
O/U win total: 10
Despite all the controversy surrounding Urban Meyer and Ohio State last year, the Buckeyes managed to go 13-1 and secure a victory in the Rose Bowl.
Co-offensive coordinator Ryan Day stepped up as interim coach in August, while Meyer was placed on administrative leave, and earned the full-time head coaching job following Meyer’s retirement after the Rose Bowl.
The head coaching job will be Day’s first, but the transition should be smooth in a system he’s been a part of since 2017. Prior to Ohio State, Day also served as quarterbacks coach for the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers under Chip Kelly.
His experience will be a necessity in rebuilding an offense after it lost quarterback Dwayne Haskins (4,831 yards, 50 touchdowns) to the NFL.
Stepping up in Haskins’ place is Justin Fields, a transfer from Georgia and former No. 1 overall prospect in the 2018 ESPN 300. Fields will inherit an offense that features running back J.K. Dobbins (1,029 yards, nine TDs), along with wide receivers K.J. Hill (831 yards, six TDs), Austin Mack (12.7 yards per catch) and Binjimen Victor (16.8 yards per catch, four TDs). Running back Mike Weber (858 yards, five TDs) and wideout Parris Campbell (992 yards, 11 TDs) will be missing from the offense, however, in 2019. Ohio State will also have to replace three starting offensive linemen.
On defense OSU lost major talent in defensive end Nick Bosa, who only played three games in 2018 because of injury, and defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones but return much of their starting lineup. On the plus side the Buckeyes landed 5-star defensive end Zach Harrison, who could develop into a prolific playmaker.
Along with the changes on defense comes the appointment of co-defensive coordinators Greg Mattison, formerly on Michigan’s staff, and NFL secondary coach Jeff Hafley.
Win total: Under 10 (-105), Over 10 (-125)
Ohio State should breeze by its first four games before facing its first test on the road at Nebraska. The Buckeyes get a week off after they host Michigan State, then travel to Northwestern. OSU has home-field advantage over Wisconsin, Maryland and Penn State but will finish the regular season at Michigan. There’s a lot of hype surrounding Ohio State, but maybe too much, with so many crucial changes at coaching positions and quarterback. The Buckeyes haven’t lost more than two games in the regular season since 2011. They’ll finally lose one to Michigan and could slip up against Nebraska, Penn State or Michigan State. It’ll most likely shape up to a 10-2 season, but if you’re looking to bet on win total, go with the under.
Ohio State vs. Northwestern, Oct. 18
Clemson quarterback transfer Hunter Johnson will most likely lead the Northwestern offense in 2019. The Wildcats should be strong again on defense. Ohio State will win, but its offense won’t be as explosive as last year. Take Northwestern +13.5.
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