Hopefully, you are fortunate enough to be at home Saturday to be able to watch No. 3 Ohio State face Indiana on TV as the Big Ten on CBS era officially gets underway. It also marks the start of a new era for the Buckeyes. Former quarterback and Heisman finalist C.J. Stroud is gone to the NFL, and former wide receivers coach Brian Hartline has been promoted to offensive coordinator.
It’s also the second straight season the Buckeyes begin the year without the title of reigning Big Ten champions, though they did reach the College Football Playoff and nearly knocked off the eventual champion Georgia Bulldogs in the semifinals. But almost winning things has never been the gameplan for Ohio State, and it won’t be this season.
While the Buckeyes are looking to get back to the top of the Big Ten and national title mountain, Indiana wants to start the year with a bang and shock the world.
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Ohio State vs. Indiana: Need to know
Ohio State’s QB battle is yet to be settled: Kyle McCord has been named the starter for this game but hasn’t won the full-time starting job yet. Devin Brown, whom McCord has been competing with all offseason, will also see snaps. What we don’t know is how this will work. Does coach Ryan Day plan to go series by series? Quarter by quarter? Or will he go with the hot hand? We’ll find out on Saturday, but it’s clear that neither was able to separate during camp, so the Buckeyes will rely on game action to decide. On one hand, Ohio State is a heavy favorite, and this is a plan it can probably get away with. On the other, it’s possible the Buckeyes will have a tough time finding a rhythm, which could give the Hoosiers a shot at pulling off the upset.
Indiana is 2-16 in Big Ten play since 2021: If Indiana does pull off the upset, not only would it be a rarity in the series (more on that in a moment), but it’ll be something that hasn’t happened much for the Hoosiers in Big Ten play. After a surprisingly successful campaign in the shortened 2020 season, the Hoosiers went 0-9 in conference play during the 2021 season. Last year, they began the year with a home win over Illinois and pulled off a double-overtime road win against Michigan State. However, they were outscored 259-125 in their seven Big Ten losses.
Twenty-seven straight for Ohio State: Believe me, Indiana will not weep when the Big Ten gets rid of divisions next year. The Hoosiers have shared the East with the Buckeyes since the league split into geographical divisions, and it has not gone well. Not only have they lost every meeting since, but the Hoosiers haven’t beaten Ohio State since a 41-7 win in 1988. That’s 27 straight for the Buckeyes. I don’t know what’s more shocking: That it’s been 35 years, or that the Hoosiers won that game by 34 points! I would have expected it to be some kind of fluke upset!
Ohio State vs. Indiana prediction, picks
Odds via SportsLine consensus
It’s hard to form a strong opinion about anything here, given the mystery surrounding Ohio State’s QB battle. But if it is a true competition, and both guys are getting an equal shot, I love the over. If McCord was the cemented starter and Ohio State built up a big lead, the Buckeyes could send out the backups to kill the clock and go home safely. But with both Brown and McCord fighting it out, the Buckeyes will keep their starters in as long as possible and allow both guys to play. After all, you can’t learn about either one by handing it off repeatedly. The Buckeyes could finish with at least 50 points themselves. Prediction: Over 59
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