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LGHL’s 2018 College Football season predictions

Our staff predicted every thing for the Buckeyes, the Big Ten Conference, and college football as a whole.

NCAA Football: CFP National Championship Game-Alabama vs Georgia Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

As the Ohio State football team prepares to embark on another glorious season of college football, so does the staff of your favorite Ohio State SB Nation blog, Land-Grant Holy Land. To get ready for the season, our panel of experts refuse to be silenced by the inevitable shaming at the hands of Freezing Cold Takes, and are putting their knowledge where their typing fingers are.

Thirteen LGHL writers and editors have made predictions about the Ohio State Buckeyes, the Big Ten Conference, and college football as a whole. Let us know who you are— and aren’t— agreeing with in the comments below. And don’t worry, we will be revisiting these come season’s end.


Who will lead Ohio State in rushing yardage this season?

While I expected this to be the result, I was surprised no one took a flier on Mike Weber, just in case J.K. Dobbins got hurt.


Who will lead Ohio State in receiving yardage this season?

Parris Campbell cruises to a very nice victory


How many passing yards, total TDs, and interceptions will Dwayne Haskins have?

These predictions were almost uniformly positive, and tended to stay in a fairly tight grouping. Ten of our 13 staffers predicted Dwayne Haskins to throw for more than 3,000 yards. Alexis Chassen was at the bottom in terms of predictions with 2,400 yards, and Matt Tamanini was at the top with 3,950 yards.

Caleb Hauser predicted 41 total touchdowns for the first time starting quarterback, while Chassen only called for 18. Tamanini predicted 15 interceptions, while Evan Speyer foresees only six.


How will the OSU coaching staff take advantage of the new redshirt rule?

Colton Denning: “Without regards to which particular players it will apply to, I think we’ll see lots of the 2018 recruiting class get major time against Oregon State and Rutgers, hopefully leaving the team as fresh as it can be for TCU. Having the Tulane game sandwiched between that and Penn State may also be crucial, because those young players can see some more time before conference play, while giving the first and second string a bit of a rest.”

Brett Ludwiczak: “Ohio State is already loaded with depth, so it’s hard to see the new rule having a huge impact. If anything, the coaching staff might take a look at some possible redshirt players in mop-up duty in blowouts, but other than that I’m just not sure if it will change things all that much for the Buckeyes.”

Max Littman: “Rutgers- fully freshmen.”

Caleb Houser: “3/4 (75%) of true freshman will play at least in one game.”


What true freshman do you think will have the biggest impact this season and why?

Caleb Houser, Evan Speyer, and Brett Ludwiczak all said tight end Jeremy Ruckert, with Ludwiczak saying, “Ohio State has some quality tight ends, but nobody quite has the potential of Ruckert, who will be the most dynamic tight end Ohio State has had in years.”

Christopher Jason:Tommy Togiai -- Will be a big part of the interior defensive line rotation.”

Max Littman and Meredith Hein picked Teradja Mitchell, with Hein writing, “Mitchell has not had the same renown that the defensive line or secondary has earned in recent seasons. With a lot of new faces in the position group, Mitchell, the No. 2 ILB in the 2018 class, could earn playing time early and make a real impact.”

Geoff Hammersley and Chad Peltier both selected Nick Petit-Frere.


Which Buckeye that nobody is talking about will step up to make the biggest impact (non-freshman edition)?

Non-Freshman Player to Watch

LGHL "Expert" OSU Player Position
LGHL "Expert" OSU Player Position
Alexis Chassen Brady Taylor OL
Brett Ludwiczak Jonathan Cooper DE
Caleb Houser Amir Reip SAF
Chad Peltier Jonathon Cooper DE
Christopher Jason Michael Jordan OL
Colton Denning Shaun Wade CB
Dan Hessler Michael Jordan OL
Evan Speyer Jonathan Cooper DE
Geoff Hammersley Tuf Borland LB
Matt Tamanini Chase Young DE
Max Littman K.J. Hill H-Back
Meredith Hein Michael Jordan OL
Patrick Mayhorn Jaylen Harris WR

Which game this season scares you the most and why?

Scariest Games of the Year

Team Times Picked Location Date
Team Times Picked Location Date
Michigan State 3 East Lansing November 10
Penn State 8 Happy Valley September 29
Purdue 2 West Lafayette October 20

Brett Ludwiczak: “MichiPenn State (It was so tough to decide between Penn State and Michigan State on the road).”

Patrick Mayhorn: “Purdue. I’m terrified of what that team can be if they have enough talent to run Jeff Brohm’s offense. West Lafayette is always a tough place to play, and it could be a marquee matchup because Purdue’s schedule to that point is pretty manageable.”

Geoff Hammersley: “Penn State. It’s a road game at Happy Valley. The last meeting in State College was a Buckeye loss; the previous time before that, OSU needed to squeak out the win in OT. PSU is loaded for a playoff run, and are poised to get revenge after last season’s debacle.”

Evan Speyer: “Michigan State. They always play Ohio State tough, save for last season, when the Buckeyes blew the doors off the Spartans. There is little scarier than a motivated Michigan State team, and they will be hungry to enact payback on Ohio State. Additionally, this comes off what could be an emotional and difficult home game against an improved Nebraska team.”


What will Ohio State’s regular season record be?

Regular Season Record

LGHL "Expert" Predicted Record
LGHL "Expert" Predicted Record
Alexis Chassen 11-1
Brett Ludwiczak 11-1
Caleb Houser 11-1
Chad Peltier 11-1
Christopher Jason 11-1
Colton Denning 11-1
Dan Hessler 11-1
Evan Speyer 11-1
Geoff Hammersley 10-2
Matt Tamanini 11-1
Max Littman 11-1
Meredith Hein 11-1
Patrick Mayhorn 11-1

How will Ohio State’s season end? (which bowl, opponent, etc)

Homer Postseason Predictions

LGHL "Expert" Postseason Prediction
LGHL "Expert" Postseason Prediction
Alexis Chassen Fiesta Bowl vs. Miami (FL)
Brett Ludwiczak College Football Playoff (Orange Bowl loss to Clemson)
Caleb Houser CFP championship - Win vs. Alabama
Chad Peltier Playoff loss.
Christopher Jason Loss to Wisconsin in the B1G Title Game -- Make NY6 bowl game
Colton Denning National Title vs Alabama
Dan Hessler I see Ohio State making the College Football Playoff and losing to Alabama in the first round.
Evan Speyer Ohio State will win the Big Ten and make the college football playoff
Geoff Hammersley Peach Bowl vs. Miami (FL)
Matt Tamanini National Championship win over Clemson
Max Littman Playoffs vs Clemson loss. 4-seed.
Meredith Hein Loss to Alabama/CFP semifinals
Patrick Mayhorn Playoff semi-final loss to Alabama

Please list your predicted order of finish in the Big Ten East (Top to Bottom)

B1G East Predictions

LGHL "Expert" B1G East Predictions
LGHL "Expert" B1G East Predictions
Alexis Chassen Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers
Brett Ludwiczak Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
Caleb Houser Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
Chad Peltier Ohio State, Michigan, Penn State, Michigan State, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland
Christopher Jason Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Maryland, Indiana, Rutgers
Colton Denning Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana
Dan Hessler Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Rutgers, Indiana, Maryland
Evan Speyer Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland
Geoff Hammersley Penn State, Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland
Matt Tamanini Ohio State, Michigan State, Penn State, Michigan, Maryland, Rutgers, Indiana
Max Littman Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Rutgers, Maryland
Meredith Hein Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers
Patrick Mayhorn Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, Penn State, Indiana, Maryland, Rutgers

Please list your predicted order of finish in the Big Ten West (Top to Bottom)

B1G West Predictions

LGHL "Expert" B1G West Predictions
LGHL "Expert" B1G West Predictions
Alexis Chassen Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Purdue, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois
Brett Ludwiczak Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois
Caleb Houser Wisconsin, Northwestern, Iowa, Purdue, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois
Chad Peltier Wisconsin, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois
Christopher Jason Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois
Colton Denning Iowa, Wisconsin, Northwestern, Nebraska, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois
Dan Hessler Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois
Evan Speyer Wisconsin, Nebraska, Purdue, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois
Geoff Hammersley Wisconsin, Iowa, Nebraska, Northwestern, Purdue, Minnesota, Illinois
Matt Tamanini Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois
Max Littman Wisconsin, Purdue, Nebraska, Iowa, Northwestern, Minnesota, Illinois
Meredith Hein Wisconsin, Iowa, Northwestern, Nebraska, Minnesota, Purdue, Illinois
Patrick Mayhorn Wisconsin, Northwestern, Purdue, Iowa, Nebraska, Minnesota, Illinois

What Big Ten team is most likely to surpass expectations this year and why?

Alexis Chassen: “Maryland— the football programs as a whole might be screwed up, but the players have a whole lot to fight for on the field.”

Brett Ludwiczak: “Nebraska. I’m not saying they are going to win the division, but the Cornhuskers should at least be a lot more competitive this year. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Nebraska spring an upset or two this season.”

Colton Denning: “RUTGERS, BABY! They have a super easy schedule the first two months of the season, and even if some of Chris Ash’s offensive choices have been confusing, I think they can fluke their way into bowl eligibility by stealing two of three from Indiana, Maryland, or Northwestern.”

Max Littman: “Purdue- all about the Brohm train. He has them in a complete different mindset.”

Meredith Hein: “Northwestern— Clayton Thorson is recovering from his ACL injury and will be back for his fourth and final season in Evanston. And the new facilities are amazing. “


Who in the Big Ten is most likely to wildly disappoint and why?

Chad Peltier: “The Big Ten has five teams that I wouldn’t be surprised if they win the conference. That said, I think Michigan State has the most questions by far of those contenders.”

Matt Tamanini: “Michigan; always Michigan.”

Dan Hessler: “Maryland. It will be interesting to see how they overcome their own off season drama with head coach D.J. Durkin.”

Brett Ludwiczak: “Purdue. Expectations might have been raised a little too high after what Jeff Brohm did last year. The Boilermakers lost a lot on defense, which will probably keep them around .500.”

Patrick Mayhorn: “Penn State. Without their offensive coordinator or Saquon Barkley, I have a lot of trouble trusting this team. They don’t return many players, and while James Franklin has recruited very well, one team has to get a little beat up a little out of the top four in the East. I think it’s Penn State this year.”


Who is your Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?

B1G Offensive POY Predictions

LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
Alexis Chassen Trace McSorley Penn State QB
Brett Ludwiczak Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB
Caleb Houser J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Chad Peltier J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Christopher Jason Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB
Colton Denning Dwayne Haskins Ohio State QB
Dan Hessler J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Evan Speyer Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB
Geoff Hammersley Trace McSorley Penn State QB
Matt Tamanini Dwayne Haskins Ohio State QB
Max Littman Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB
Meredith Hein J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Patrick Mayhorn Jonathan Taylor Wisconsin RB

Who is your Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year?

Big Defensive POY Predictions

LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
Alexis Chassen Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Brett Ludwiczak Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Caleb Houser Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Chad Peltier Khaleke Hudson Michigan LB
Christopher Jason Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Colton Denning Chase Young Ohio State DE
Dan Hessler Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Evan Speyer Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Geoff Hammersley Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Matt Tamanini A.J. Epenesa Iowa DE
Max Littman Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Meredith Hein Nick Bosa Ohio State DE
Patrick Mayhorn Khaleke Hudson Michigan LB

What is your boldest, most out-of-left-field prediction for Ohio State this season?

Bold Predictions: OSU Edition

LGHL "Expert" Bold Prediction
LGHL "Expert" Bold Prediction
Alexis Chassen DeMario McCall is the No. 2 back by the season's end
Brett Ludwiczak Ohio State goes 8-4 in the regular season, loses to Michigan, and Urban Meyer and the school part ways.
Caleb Houser National Title over Alabama
Chad Peltier This isn't that wild, but after an offseason of hearing about the Clemson and Mississippi State defensive lines, I expect the OSU defensive line to be the best in college football.
Christopher Jason Tate Martell will start more than 1 game.
Colton Denning This will be the most complete offense Ohio State's had under Meyer. Dwayne Haskins brings an element I'm not sure we've seen before, and combined with the running game, and what should be improved receiver play, it takes the offense to at least top-3 status in the country.
Dan Hessler I think we see more of Tate Martell than one would expect from a backup QB. Think Tim Tebow/Chris Leak.
Evan Speyer Kendall Sheffield has a standout season and continues the tradition of 1st-round corners at Ohio State
Geoff Hammersley Haskins will do well in the first four games, but will regress significantly after a big loss to Penn State. The Michigan game from last season is an outlier, as teams didn't know what to expect from Haskins. Now with four games worth of film this season, PSU will come up with a formula to bottle him up.
Matt Tamanini Tate Martell will not be a quarterback at Ohio State next season. He could be an H-back at OSU, or a QB elsewhere, but not a QB at OSU.
Max Littman Meyer fired midseason over texts, and Ryan Day takes over completely running successfully the team.
Meredith Hein Vertical passing will be successful this season.
Patrick Mayhorn Best defensive player is Robert Landers

What is your boldest, most out-of-left-field prediction for college football this season (non-Ohio State version)?

Bold Predictions: Non-OSU Edition

LGHL "Expert" Bold Prediction
LGHL "Expert" Bold Prediction
Alexis Chassen Alabama is *at least* a two-loss team this year.
Brett Ludwiczak LSU makes the College Football Playoff with Joe Burrow at QB.
Caleb Houser Wisconsin suffers 2 regular season losses - too many Big Ten East games to handle.
Chad Peltier Either the Big Ten or SEC gets two teams in the playoff again this year.
Christopher Jason FAU will be this year's UCF.
Colton Denning Clemson "2015 Ohio-State's" themselves out of the playoff. They're the runaway pick in the ACC with good reason, but that QB battle may end up being their undoing, playoff-wise. I don't think Kelly Bryant is the guy, and as talented as Trevor Lawrence is, he's still a true freshman, and somehow they'll lose two games in the midst of that battle and miss the playoff.
Dan Hessler I think the Big Ten East eats itself up. Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State all look really good going into the season, but I only see one of those teams with one or fewer losses this season and that is Ohio State.
Evan Speyer Arizona wins the Pac 12, behind Khalil Tate and Kevin Sumlin
Geoff Hammersley The Big Ten will make strong strides to overtake the SEC. Wisconsin, Penn St. and Ohio St. all have good shots at becoming playoff teams. Throw in Michigan St. and Michigan as spoilers and you have five very compelling teams to watch this season. Will a Big Ten team win the national title? Dunno. But they'll be back in the playoffs, and whoever gets there, will make the title game.
Matt Tamanini Michigan will still be bad.
Max Littman Alabama collapses with quarterback dispute (Ohio State 2015) and win only 10 games.
Meredith Hein Another year of too many potential playoff teams (yes, five major conferences vying for four spots IS a problem) will lead to an expansion to an eight-team playoff.
Patrick Mayhorn FAU finishes undefeated, blows Oklahoma out week one, still misses playoffs.

Who wins the Heisman Trophy?

Heisman Trophy Predictions

LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
LGHL "Expert" Player Team Position
Alexis Chassen J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Brett Ludwiczak Khalil Tate Arizona QB
Caleb Houser J.K. Dobbins Ohio State RB
Chad Peltier Jake Fromm Georgia QB
Christopher Jason Jonathan Taylor Wisconson RB
Colton Denning Jake Browning Washington QB
Dan Hessler Jonathan Taylor Wisconson RB
Evan Speyer Khalil Tate Arizona QB
Geoff Hammersley Deondre Francois Florida State QB
Matt Tamanini Trevor Lawrence Clemson QB
Max Littman Bryce Love Stanford RB
Meredith Hein Bryce Love Stanford RB
Patrick Mayhorn Khalil Tate Arizona QB

Who are your four playoff teams, and who is going to win it all?

CFP Predictions

LGHL "Expert" Final Four Predictions Champion Predictions
LGHL "Expert" Final Four Predictions Champion Predictions
Alexis Chassen Alabama, Miami, Ohio State, Texas Ohio State
Brett Ludwiczak Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington Clemson
Caleb Houser Alabama, Ohio State, Georgia, Clemson Ohio State
Chad Peltier Georgia, Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama Georgia
Christopher Jason Clemson, Alabama, Wisconsin, Washington N/A
Colton Denning Alabama, Washington, Ohio State, Oklahoma Alabama
Dan Hessler Ohio State, Alabama, Clemson and Georgia Alabama
Evan Speyer Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma Alabama
Geoff Hammersley Penn State, Alabama, Clemson, Washington Alabama
Matt Tamanini Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Michigan State Ohio State
Max Littman Clemson, Ohio State, Stanford, LSU N/A
Meredith Hein Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, Washington Clemson
Patrick Mayhorn Miami, Alabama, Ohio State, Washington Alabama