“Ohio State’s toughest games come the final two weeks of the season, which is where we expect the Buckeyes’ overall worth will be defined.”
- Brad Crawford, 247sports.com
We are not even a month removed from the latest season of college football, but many are already looking forward to what the 2019 season will bring. As with every year of college football, the upcoming season will no doubt have its twists and turns, with no shortage of upsets and shocking finishes. For Ohio State, next season’s goal is the same as it always has been and always will be: win a National Championship. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes route to securing a ninth NCAA title will have no shortage of obstacles.
According to Crawford, Ohio State has the eighth-hardest schedule of all Top-25 teams next season. This is the case for a number of reasons. The first is that in all likelihood, one of their non-conference matchups will be against a ranked Cincinnati team. The Bearcats are coming off an 11-2 season in which they finished with the 11th-best defense in the country. Most of the team is returning in 2019, and there is no doubt Luke Fickell will have his guys ready to play in what should be an entertaining in-state rivalry game early in the season.
The second reason the Buckeyes’ schedule is so tough is because of the timing and location of some of their conference games. OSU will open Big Ten play on the road, first at Indiana and then at Nebraska. The Hoosiers always seem to play Ohio State close, and if the Cornhuskers find themselves 4-0 going into the game, it could be an electric atmosphere when the Buckeyes come to town. They also have to travel to Northwestern, a game that very much could have the feel of the Iowa and Purdue games of the past two seasons.
After home games against Michigan State, Wisconsin and Maryland with a trip to Rutgers thrown in the mix, Ohio State hits the hardest part of their schedule. In their last two games of the season, they will have to face Penn State and Michigan back-to-back, with the bout against the Wolverines being played in Ann Arbor. If the Buckeyes win the Big Ten East, one of the hardest divisions in football, they would then have to play in the Big Ten Championship a week later. Should the rest of the season go as expected, that three-game stretch will very much decide whether Ohio State makes the College Football Playoff or falls short for the third consecutive year.
“Former Ohio State RB Brian Snead is currently enrolled at Iowa Western CC. He will be a 2020 recruit that graduates in December.”
- Derek Young, Rivals.com
Shortly after Brian Snead’s name was not listed on the spring roster, the 2018 running back announced his intent to transfer on Twitter. It seems that he has now found a new temporary home, as it is being reported that he will enroll at Iowa Western Community College as he will continue to mull offers from Division I schools. Kansas State is one of the programs Snead is looking into, as the Wildcats are the frontrunner to land the former four-star recruit.
Snead played in two games in his freshman season, totaling 11 carries for 37 yards and a touchdown. He was suspended before the team’s third game of the year against TCU for a violation of team rules. An official explanation for the suspension was never given, and Snead was never reinstated.
Snead is the third player to transfer from Ohio State this offseason, including quarterback Tate Martell and linebacker Keandre Jones. None of the three likely would have started this season. The transfer market has also been a positive thing for the Buckeyes, however, as they landed their probable 2019 starting QB in five-star recruit Justin Fields.
“Harrison Hookfin is an added player to us. We felt like we just, in practice, needed a little more size [...]. He still is working through the normal eligibility process but he is a current member of our group as a walk-on.”
- OSU head coach Chris Holtmann via Patrick McMurphy, 247sports.com
With no clear timetable to return for injured forward Kyle Young, the Ohio State men’s basketball team is in desperate need for some added depth. Holtmann is hoping to fix that issue with the addition of 6-foot-5, 220-pound Harrison Hookfin. Hookfin is a freshman out of Lebanon High School, not receiving many looks from Division I schools.
The forward averaged 14.4 points to go along with 7.4 rebounds and 1.6 assists per game last season for the Warriors. He was named Athlete of the Week by the Dayton Daily News last January and was an honorable mention All-Southwest District in Division I as a senior. Hookfin is not yet eligible to play for the Buckeyes, but has already began practicing with the team.
It is unclear how much of a role if any Hookfin will play in actual games once he is granted eligibility, but the added depth can't hurt, especially as forward Kaleb Wesson continues to find himself in foul trouble each and every game. Ohio State’s next game is this Saturday, Feb. 2 when they will rematch Rutgers, a team they lost to earlier this month. They will look to bounce back after falling to No. 5 Michigan on Tuesday night, now having lost six of their last seven games.
The lady Bucks return home on Thursday night as they will take on Illinois. Ohio State is coming off a 65-55 win over Minnesota on the road Monday night, led by Destiny Pitts’ 19 points. The Buckeyes lead the all-time series against the Illini 50-20, winning the last four straight. On their current win streak versus Illinois, OSU has won by an average margin of 24 points per game. The contest will tip off at 7 p.m. ET and can be watched on BTN2GO.
Five Buckeyes were recognized by D1Baseball.com in their 2019 Big Ten preview on Tuesday. Ohio State was picked to finish fifth in the conference in their Big Ten preseason poll. Junior outfield Dominic Canzone was ranked as the No. 4 prospect in 2019, followed by redshirt freshman pitcher Seth Lonsway (No. 6) and sophomore catcher Dillon Dingler (No. 14). Freshman pitcher Garrett Burhenn and infielder Zach Dezenzo made the impact freshmen list.
Men’s Ice Hockey
OSU junior toward Tanner Laczynski was named the Big Ten Third Star of the Week after registering five points in the sweep at Penn State. Laczynski had one goal and four assists against the Nittany Lions, tying for first in the Big Ten and second in the NCAA in points last week. The No. 3/4 ranked Buckeyes return home this weekend for a tough series against No. 11/12 Notre Dame. The 7 p.m. series opener on Friday will function as the team’s annual Teddy Bear toss, with fans encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal that will be donated to Ronald McDonald House.
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