It’s so close we can almost taste it, folks. The Ohio State football season begins just eight days from now, and so we must get through only one more college football Saturday without the Buckeyes. Let’s just pretend its a bye week and act like everything is normal.
Eight will be a key number for Ohio State this season, as both guys who sport that jersey will be important cogs on either side of the ball in running back Trey Sermon and defensive end Javontae Jean-Baptiste. Eight is also the number of regular season games the Buckeyes will have to win for an undefeated regular season heading into the Big Ten Championship Game.
In terms of this upcoming weekend of college football, the slate has been hit hard by COVID-19. We’ve already seen a couple of games postponed in the SEC, including Saturday’s matchup between LSU and Florida as well as Vandy and Mizzou. In addition, Cincinnati’s game against Tulsa has been postponed, and of course the biggest CFB news of the week that Alabama head coach Nick Saban has contracted the virus.
That being said, the Crimson Tide’s matchup against Georgia is still on — as of right now — and there are a number of good games to wager on this weekend. Bits Bets had a tough go of it last week with a 2-3 finish, so our record on the season has dropped to 11-10. Still positive, but we are going to need some winners in our last Saturday of action before the Big Ten makes its return (and I'm already excited about some of the B1G lines next week).
Here are some of my favorite plays of the weekend (10/17):
- No. 17 SMU (-6.5) at Tulsa [Friday night]
- South Carolina (+3) vs. No. 15 Auburn
- No. 18 Tennessee (-6.5) vs. Kentucky
- Memphis (+2.5) vs. UCF
- NC State (-4.5) vs. Duke
I don't particularly love the card this week, especially with all the cancellations, but the opportunity for profit is there as always. We do have two Friday night games that should be a lot of fun, with SMU taking on Tulsa at 6:00 p.m. ET and BYU at Houston at 9:30 p.m. ET (I also like Houston with the points). That being said, let’s get to today’s headlines.
From around Land-Grant Holy Land...
Georgia-Alabama headlines this week’s college football picks
(Brett Ludwiczak, LGHL)
As always, check out Brett’s Money, Cash and Joes piece from today for a much deeper insight into this weekend’s betting lines. It’s reassuring to know that of the three games Brett and I both gave a pick for, we are on the same side, so we’re either both geniuses or will go down with the ship together.
Buckeyes in good shape with five-star WR, in contact with four-star 2022 LB
(Caleb Houser, LGHL)
Ohio State still seems to be in pretty good shape with a pair of five-star talents on the West Coast, but commitments do not appear to be coming in the near future as both guys are hopeful they will be able to make visits at some point before the 2021 cycle comes to a close.
Ohio State 2020 Virtual Season: Big Ten Championship Week
(George Eisner, LGHL)
George has done a phenomenal job putting together a virtual season for Ohio State, which began when we didn’t think there would be a real Big Ten season this fall. The series is coming to a close soon, but be sure to tune in on Saturday where the Buckeyes will take on Minnesota in the B1G title game at 3:15 p.m. on the LGHL Twitch account.
From around the gridiron...
With just over a week until the start of Ohio State’s football season, depth chart predictions have been flying from all around the beat. Most of the starters at each position have been set in stone since the offseason began, but there were a few battles still up in the air that have since gotten some clarity, and we now have a pretty good idea of what the Buckeyes’ starting 11 will look like on each side of the ball.
Dan Hope and Colin Hass-Hill of Eleven Warriors give their breakdowns for each position as well as some potential breakout players on each side of the ball. Most notably, it appears as though Jameson Williams will start opposite Chris Olave as the other outside receiver with Garrett Wilson in the slot, while Marcus Williamson will play slot corner and Marcus Hooker seems to be in line as the team’s starting one-high safety. Also, it seems safe to say that Nicholas Petit-Frere will be the Buckeyes’ starting right tackle.
I take a look at the most important players, potential breakout players, projected depth chart and more for Ohio State's defense: https://t.co/HJZ7RAgCFf@chasshill does the same with Ohio State's offense: https://t.co/nmMpBY3PVX— Dan Hope (@Dan_Hope) October 16, 2020
Being a head coach of a college football program is no easy task, especially at a program with as much prestige as Ohio State. On top of preparing and leading a team through a season on the field, you must also be able to recruit at a high level to maintain that expected level of success. To make that job even harder, the NCAA recruiting dead period has made it impossible for prospects to have in-person meetings with coaching staffs on or off campus, and so now a guy like Ryan Day must find a way to balance his recruiting efforts as well as his team’s play on the field.
Buckeyes look for balance between recruiting, title run https://t.co/2du8fdo8BB— Lettermen Row (@LettermenRow) October 16, 2020
Speaking of recruiting, one of Ohio State’s few remaining targets in the 2021 class has set his commitment date. Four-star safety Derrick Davis Jr. announced that he will be making his decision on Nov. 7. Listed as the No. 2 safety in the country and the No. 53 overall recruit in his class, the Pennsylvania native will be choosing between Ohio State and Penn State. The Crystal Balls are in favor of the in-state Nittany Lions, but I would never count out Kerry Coombs in the recruitment of a talented defensive back.
Committing November 7th!!— Derrick Davis™ (@D_Dav1s) October 16, 2020
The SEC hasn’t looked all too hot to start the season outside of Georgia — whose defense looks incredible but the offense could still use some work — and Alabama — whose defense allowed 48 points and 647 total yards to Ole Miss last weekend. With the Big Ten making its return next week, Cole Cubelic of SEC Network discussed which teams in the B1G should scare SEC fans the most, and I’m sure you have a pretty good guess as to who came in at No. 1.
"They would either love to see it, or be terrified to play (them)...Or both."— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 16, 2020
It's Spooky Szn, so we asked @colecubelic of @SECNetwork which B1G programs SEC fans the most on our Take Ten Podcast.
Full interview ➡️ https://t.co/gOszMWyZ8t pic.twitter.com/fTrHMuZfky
With so many COVID issues cropping up around the college football world this week, it has become more imperative than ever for Ohio State’s players and coaches to remain vigilant and stick to the safety protocols. The fight to bring back Big Ten football can't be for nothing, and it seems as though the Buckeyes are fully bought in.
At this point a mask is just part of my face. I even wear it around the crib ♂️— Teradja Mitchell (@teradja_) October 16, 2020
From around the hardwood...
Chris Holtmann as been a phenomenal leader of the Ohio State mens basketball team, but he will need a few guys to step up and lead on the court after the exit of veterans like Kaleb Wesson and Andre Wesson. Point guard C.J. Walker is expected to be that guy, and his experience as a father should only help his ability to be a guiding voice for the Buckeyes on the hardwood this season.
As a dad, @OhioStateHoops' CJ Walker is shaping the future for his daughter. As a future coach, he'll help shape young players.— Ohio State Buckeyes (@OhioStAthletics) October 16, 2020
As a student of Coach Holtmann, CJ's own future as a leader is being shaped.
Their story ➡️ https://t.co/CKLGfaBjsP | #GoBuckeyes pic.twitter.com/Wvb0eXEWhk
The Lady Bucks are all registered to vote and have their voice heard in this upcoming election. Make sure you do the same!
Othello Hunter, a former member of the Thad Five, is looking good in the EuroLeague. The 6-foot-8 big man played with the Buckeyes from 2006-08, averaging 7.8 points per game and 5.5 rebounds per game over two seasons in Columbus. He now suits up for Maccabi Tel Aviv, where he continues to get buckets.
Othello Hunter feeling right at homepic.twitter.com/J63euUDxV0— Eurohoops (@Eurohoopsnet) October 16, 2020
Also, this is pretty cool!
From everywhere else...
While there obviously won't be any tailgating for Ohio State games this season, the Buckeyes are introducing a virtual game day experience called Scarlet Saturday. The live broadcast will allow fans to take in some of the festivities they've grown accustomed to when attending games in Columbus, including, of course, TBDBITL.
The man named Sevyn wearing the No. 7 pronounces his name like... seven.
Ohio State's pronunciation guide entry for Sevyn Banks is amazing pic.twitter.com/8XAaioFo94— Jason Priestas (@priestas) October 16, 2020
The benching of former Ohio State quarterback Dwayne Haskins by the Washington Football Team is nearly unprecedented. Since 2000, only two other QBs drafted in the first round were benched after making only 11 starts: Johnny Manziel and Paxton Lynch. All 53 other first-round QBs made at least five more starts before a decision was made. Haskins has not been spectacular in the NFL by any means, but he certainly deserves better than he is getting in Washington.
Dwayne Haskins is just the third former first-round QB since 2000 to not make it to a 12th start. https://t.co/PFHDxBMyYd— Martenzie Johnson (@Martenzie) October 16, 2020
As always, stay safe and enjoy your weekend! Ohio State Football is just around the corner.