Ohio State Buckeyes College Football Preview 2021: What Will Happen, Season Prediction
Ryan Day took over an already loaded Buckeye program in 2019, and the 2020 team was helped by the short season and fueled by the red-hot desperation to somehow replay the Fiesta Bowl loss to Clemson.
However, give all credit where it’s due for one key tweak Day was able to make in his first two seasons at the helm …
Hey, 2019 team, you see what happened in that 49-20 loss Purdue in 2018? You take your eye off the ball for one moment, and it could all go away – and the 2019 team played like it couldn’t let up for a single solitary second.
Hey, 2020 team, you see how quickly all your dreams can die with one questionable call and a misfire on a game-winning drive? If you get the chance to make amends, you’d better take it – and the 2020 team took its game to a whole other level when it got the shot to exorcise the demons against Clemson.
Urban Meyer was unquestionably one of the greatest college head coaches of all-time, but none of his last five Ohio State teams got through the regular season unscathed and the 2013 version suffered a loss to Michigan State with everything on the line in the Big Ten Championship.
Day? Two years, zero regular season losses, two for two in Big Ten Championships, two College Football Playoff appearances.
The last two national champions were among the all-time greatest teams in college football history – there’s no shame in not being 2019 LSU or 2020 Alabama. There might not be a national title so far under Day, but 20-2 is a fat load of alright.
It’s Ohio State, though, so the expectations of beating Michigan, winning the Big Ten title, and playing for the national championship – not necessarily in that order – don’t change no matter what, but things are different this time around.
The 2021 team has a new quarterback, misses 11 starters in a year of the super-senior – when seemingly everyone has 20+ starters returning, and might be missing that undivided focus the last two teams had.
Set The Ohio State Buckeyes Regular Season Win Total At … 10.5
That’s not to say this year’s Ohio State won’t win the Big Ten, and of course it’s among the best teams in America going into the season, but this might be a wee bit of a rebuild compared to the last two years.
At the very least, this team isn’t as obvious-great at 2019 and has to prove it can rise up like the 2020 team did. Fortunately, the schedule will help the cause, even if there isn’t any warm-up time to get everything settled.
At Minnesota to kick things off, Oregon nine days later to follow. Again, it’s Ohio State, so it should win both of those games, but it might not be quite as easy-breezy as the dates with Tulsa and Akron will be.
The Penn State game is at home, it really doesn’t matter that the Michigan game is in Ann Arbor, and there’s no Wisconsin, Iowa, or Northwestern to play.
It’s a ten-win run no matter what, but it’s going to take a whole other level of that focus thing to get through another regular season without a loss.