clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Which Big Ten West foe could cause Ohio State problems this fall?

A near loss in Columbus will have Scott Frost and Nebraska hungry to score the win in Lincoln.

NCAA Football: Nebraska at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

“Nebraska will no doubt be hyping that game as a chance to prove it’s back on the national stage. The support from the home crowd will be electric.”

— Austin Ward | Letterman Row

Last season it was Purdue. The year before that it was Iowa. Both those teams from the Big Ten West not only secured the upset win at home over Ohio State, but they annihilated them. In each instance the Buckeyes were College Football Playoff caliber, and ended up slipping out of contention with the losses.

In 2019, the Buckeyes will make two road trips to Big Ten West opponents (Northwestern and Nebraska). Both have potential to be upsets, but Austin Ward of Letterman Row points to the Cornhuskers as being the team from the other side of the conference that causes issues — and potentially derails — a shot at another Big Ten Championship for the scarlet and gray.

To a degree, I believe Ward. Nebraska is the fifth game of the season, but OSU may have some struggles getting the Ryan Day era off and running. A new quarterback (Justin Fields) is taking over, and a non-conference game with Cincinnati, who is doing pretty good since Luke Fickell took over the program, may give Ohio State a scare in the very early going. Michigan State is the week after Nebraska, so there’s also a chance that Day and the squad get caught in the ‘look ahead’ when facing a revenge seeking Scott Frost.

Additionally, Nebraska will have a little more experience under center. Last season, year one of the Frost era had quarterback issues before Adrian Martinez took over, and had a very bumpy start of the season. Now, things looked to have steadied a bit, which is bad news for everyone vying for the Big Ten West crown.

However, I think Northwestern is equally an issue for OSU. Like Nebraska, the Wildcats took a loss to the Buckeyes. Unlike the Cornhuskers though, Northwestern lost in the Big Ten Championship Game. This meeting with Ohio State comes on a Friday night, and both teams face each other coming off the bye.

“Fields showed glimpses of that dual-threat playmaking ability at the spring game, but he will have to get comfortable in Ryan Day’s offense.”

— Bill Bender | Sporting News

Going into 2019, Justin Fields will be one of the top quarterbacks to watch. But, how high up the list is he? Even though he came out of high school as one of the top QBs of all time in 2018, he only appears at No. 11 on Bill Bender’s list of top college football QBs for next season.

The top two spots belong to Trevor Lawrence (No. 1) and Tua Tagovailoa (No. 2), and that’s about as surprising as finding out that water is wet. Behind those two, though, is where it gets interesting. Current Georgia QB Jake Fromm is at No. 3, Oregon signal-call Justin Herbert is at No. 4, and new Oklahoma graduate transfer Justin Hurts rounds out the top five.

Fields isn’t even the top Big Ten QB. In fact, he isn’t even the best Big Ten East QB on the list. Michigan’s Shea Patterson is at No. 8 and Nebraska’s Adrian Martinez is at No. 10.

I like to believe that Fields is a top-10 QB heading into the season, but learning a new playbook and getting acclimated to a new team and coach will lead to some growing pains in the first part of the season. Bender did mention that if Fields gets comfortable in Day’s system, then he’d be a contender for a Heisman. I absolutely believe that.

“Will Grimmer has received a sponsor’s exemption to compete in the PGA Tour Memorial Tournament event...”

— Ohio State Athletics

At the end of May, the Memorial Tournament will take place at Muirfield Village in Dublin, Ohio. Making the cut in the Jack Nicklaus hosted event will be a former Buckeye. Will Grimmer, a recent graduate, picked up a sponsor’s exemption and will partake in the PGA Tour event.

Grimmer had a solid career at OSU. He qualified for the U.S. Open in 2018 at Shinnecock Hills—but that wasn’t his first rodeo qualifying a major event. As a high schooler, he qualified for the 2014 U.S. Open at Pinehurst No. 2.

In four seasons at Ohio State, he played in every event—averaging a 72.48 stroke average. By the time his Buckeye career came to a close in 2019, he had two victories to his name: the 2016 Bearcat Invitational and 2018 Musketeer Classic. The Bearcat Invitational win came when he was a sophomore,. The Musketeer Classic win came in blowout fashion after he demolished the field by 11 strokes.

Good luck to Will in the Memorial Tournament.

Stick to Sports