We're bloggers, so as part of our contractual obligation, we wanted to bring you our predictions on Ohio State, the Big Ten, and some of the biggest nationwide stories of the season, like we have each of the last two years. Our staff has continued to grow though, and squeezing every single person's opinion into one article will give us a 10,000 word treatise. Let's not do that.
Instead, we're giving your our preseason #hot #takes in roundtable form. Today, we give you our staff's predictions for the big questions surrounding Ohio State. Later this week, we'll give you predictions for the Big Ten, and then college football nationally. As always, at the end of the season, we'll do a post that looks back on these predictions, so we can see who was smart, and who predicted Purdue to make a bowl (SPOILER: nobody did that, but somebody will assuredly do something almost as dumb).
So, without further ado, let's get to the predictions.
Who will be Ohio State's leading rusher this year?
Braxton Miller: 11 votes
Ezekiel Elliot: 5 votes
This was much closer than the final vote might make it seem, since very few people felt especially confident in their prediction. It's easy to see why. On one hand, while everybody expects Ezekiel Elliot to step into the led back role, given the depth at the position (and the inexperience of Elliot), most folks predicted a more equal distribution of carries compared to last season, where Hyde dominated the ball a little more.
On the other hand, keeping Miller upright and injury free is absolutely critical to the championship hopes of this team, and perhaps this is the year that Ohio State actually gets serious about limiting his caries.
At the end of the day, most of us leaned towards Miller's playmaking ability taking priority over needing to limit his snaps, and Miller is expected to lead Ohio State in rushing yards. I'm going to go out on a limb here and suggest that the LGHL staff thinks he'll lead the team in passing yards too.
Who will be Ohio State's leading receiver in terms of yardage?
Devin Smith: 9 votes
Corey Smith: 2 votes
Jeff Heuerman: 1 vote
Dontre Wilson: 1 vote
Evan Spencer: 1 vote
Devin Smith was a popular choice, both due to his experience and his ability to turn in the long ball, but a decent chunk of the staff went with other options. Maybe it's because Devin Smith's catch rate may not be high enough for him to catch enough passes. Maybe it's because this is a talented group all around that might not have one dominant pass catcher. Maybe it's because some people think that Wilson or Heuerman are better.
For what it's worth, of our four senior most editors (Luke, Matt, Ian and Chad), only Ian felt especially confident about Devin Smith being the leading man.
O/U on quarters missed by Braxton Miller this season due to injury at 5. Do you go over or under?
Under: 9 votes
Over: 7 votes
I mean really, we're just blindly guessing at this point, right? I think I set the O/U on 4 last year, and I suspect if I did that again, the over might have won. Just about everybody expects Miller to miss a little bit of time this year, and everybody hopes it isn't more than a game.
Which freshman do you think will make the biggest impact on the team this season?
Raekwon McMillan: 11 votes
Johnnie Dixon: 2 votes
Curtis Samuel: 3 votes
Demetrius Knox: 2 votes
Kyle Trout: 1 vote
Ohio State had depth issues at linebacker. They just happened to sign an absolute monster of a five-star in Raekwon McMillan. Expectations are high for McMillian not just around the OSU program, but in the LGHL newsroom as well, as almost everybody mentioned him as a player to watch, even if they picked somebody on offense instead. Shoutout to our own Patrick Martyn, who picked Kyle Trout not because of any on the field reasons, but because "[I] respect a man with a fish for a last name."
Which Buckeye that nobody is talking about will step up to make the biggest impact (non-freshman edition)?
Josh Perry: 5 votes
Curtis Grant: 1 vote
Michael Thomas: 1 vote
Rod Smith: 1 vote
Vonn Bell: 1 vote
Eli Apple: 1 vote
Nick Vannett: 1 vote
Corey Smith: 1 vote
When you start talking about the "well, nobody is talking about them" crowd, it shouldn't surprise you that you get lots of different options. The only player to garner multiple votes though was Josh Perry, a pretty good linebacker in his own right, but perhaps lost in the chatter about McMillian and some of Ohio State's other young prospects at the position.
Which game this season scares you the most?
Michigan State: 9 votes
Cincinnati: 2 votes
Michigan: 2 votes
Not much of a surprise here, as Michigan State is the highest ranked team that Ohio State faces this year, by far, and beat the Buckeyes last year and the game is at Michigan State -- at night. Cincinnati and Michigan popped up on a few different lists, for different reasons, but could be scary games in their own right.
Also, man oh man would it suck if Ohio State lost to Rutgers.
What will Ohio State's regular season record be?
12-0: 13 votes
11-1: 2 votes
Ohio State hasn't lost a game in the regular season since Land-Grant Holy Land stated. Why should they lose now? The Buckeyes may be favored in every single game (some heavily), with the exception of the Michigan State game, and if the team stays healthy, there isn't a reason to not have this expectation. Of course, winning 36 straight regular season games is a little nuts, and a slip up is bound to happen at some point, right? At least two of our writers think so.
How will Ohio State's season end?
College Football Playoff semifinal loss: 6 votes
National championship: 4 votes
Playoff championship loss: 1 vote
New Year's Bowl: 1 vote
There is some optimism about this team for sure, and everybody except for Luke thinks they're a playoff team this year. Lots of folks predicting a loss in the first round (perhaps to an SEC team like Auburn or Alabama), though.
How many members of Ohio State's coaching staff will leave this offseason for head coaching gigs elsewhere?
Two: 6 votes
One: 5 votes
Zero: 2 votes
Almost everybody thinks that offensive coordinator Tom Herman is gone, and defensive coordinator Luke Fickell was also a popular pick. Running backs coach Stan Drayton may get some calls as well, according to our staff.
So there you have it. Anything you really agree or disagree with? A topic that we badly missed?
We'll have more predictions for you soon.