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Once again Ohio State opens as underdogs to Michigan

It’s still preseason, folks. And remember what happened last time.

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

“The odds-makers just never learn.”

-Nathan Beighle, BuckeyesWire

Again? Really?

The game is months away. Football hasn’t even started yet. And yet, the way-too-early odds from the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas have Ohio State as a 3.5-point underdog to Michigan.

Much of the doubt can be attributed simply to the unknown. Without Urban Meyer, how will Ryan Day fare? With Dwayne Haskins moving on to the NFL, what will Justin Fields’ impact be? And with Nick Bosa gone, how will Chase Young function on the defensive line? All these are fair questions, but it is unfair to assume that all aspects of Ohio State’s team will be worse because of the changes.

Further, some of the answers are already known, at least to a degree. Day coached three games — and went 3-0 — to open last season. Fields saw action in nine games last year, throwing for four touchdowns and rushing for another four. Young played most of last season without Nick Bosa and was just fine.

(Does the recent rivalry history bear repeating? Yes? Okay…) Ohio State has won seven-straight games against their rival, and 14 of the last 15 matchups. Most recently, the Buckeyes crushed Michigan in Columbus 62-39.

This season, Ohio State is scheduled to play on the road at Michigan Nov. 30. To be clear, that is almost six months away. The teams which starts the 2019 season could look and play very differently than the teams which will close out their regular seasons in November.

There is a lot that must be learned between now and then, and it is far too early to be placing bets with any semblance of knowledge regarding the 2019 season. The fact that the Buckeyes were so good last season, but lost such key pieces, will no doubt work against them when it comes to the sportsbooks. However, expecting a passable program which lost nothing to win over its dominant rival also seems like a bad bet.

“New to the team is Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith, who were part of Ohio State’s 2010 recruiting class -- along with Craft -- ranked third in the country.”

-Stephen Means, Cleveland.com

The Basketball Tournament is one of the best sporting events of the summer — if for no other reason than it breaks up the monotony of pro baseball for two-and-a-half weeks in July and August. For Ohio State fans, it is even more exciting as there are clear teams to cheer for, featuring a reunion of some of the programs’ favorite players from the last decade (and beyond).

After a solid run last season, Carmen’s Crew, formerly Scarlet and Gray, returns with some familiar faces and some new (but still familiar) ones.

The squad is coached by former Buckeye great Scoonie Penn, who played at Ohio State from 1998-2000, and Evan Turner. Aaron Craft, David Lighty, Evan Ravenel and Jon Diebler also return for this year’s tournament. New to the roster this summer are Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr., both of whom came to Ohio State as part of the lauded 2010 recruiting class. The team is rounded out by Courtney Pigram and Leon Rodgers, who went to East Tennessee State and Northern Illinois, respectively.

Beyond Carmen’s Crew, Ohio State fans have several other teams to pull for in the tournament. Big X features a number of more recent alumni, including Jae’Sean Tate, Andrew Dakich and Keyshawn Woods. Greg Oden, meanwhile, is not participating this year, but instead is playing in Ice Cube’s BIG3 three-on-three league.

This year marks the sixth season of The Basketball Tournament. With play starting July 19 in eight cities, the tournament brings together 64 teams in a single-elimination tournament. While anyone can enter, some teams —-like Ohio State’s alumni squad — have the added advantage of former college and even professional talent on their rosters. Even more positive for the former Buckeyes, Carmen’s Crew is scheduled to host the first round of the tournament in Columbus at Capital University.

Congrats to the Ohio State women’s rowing team! The squad finished fifth in the NCAA Championships in Indianapolis Sunday, ending the day with 105 points. Washington, which entered the championships as the top-ranked squad in the country, took home the crown with a team total of 132 points. Texas finished second, with Michigan following in third.

In the finals, Ohio State finished sixth in the First Varsity Eight with a time of 6:11.042. The Buckeyes improved in the next two races, finishing fifth in the Second Varsity Eight with a time of 6:20.449 and fifth in the First Varsity Four, coming in at 6:59.256. Washington swept all three events.

During the semifinals Saturday, Ohio State finished third in the First Varsity Eight with a time of 6:33.848, second in the Second Varsity Eight with a 6:52.776 finish and second in the First Varsity Four with a finishing time of 7:35.532.

The Buckeyes punched their ticket to Indy with an at-large bid after finishing second in the Big Ten Championships last month. This year marked the first time since 2016 that all three of the Buckeyes’ boats made it to the Grand Finals of the NCAA Championship, and the 12th top-five finish in program history.

Ohio State has made a name for itself on the national rowing scene, despite women’s rowing traditionally being dominated by Ivy League and Pac-12 programs. The Buckeyes won three-straight national championships in 2013, 2014 and 2015. Last year, Ohio State finished sixth in the NCAA Championships.

With just four seniors on the team, the Buckeyes look well-positioned to continue their contention for a Big Ten and NCAA title heading into next season.

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