“With no college or professional sports taking place at the current time (sans UFC) due to the coronavirus, fans look ahead to college football in the Fall of 2020. Now is as good a time as any to take a look at the early betting lines for some of the biggest games.”
It’s a really tough time across the globe right now as the world scrambles to contain the coronavirus. As a result, almost every single major US sport has seen their seasons suspended or cancelled entirely. At Ohio State, in addition to the cancellation of both the Big Ten and NCAA Tournaments, the school has put a stop to all spring semester sports — which has extended to include postponing the Buckeyes’ spring football practices until at least April 6 as well.
While the sports shutdown has made news and updates a bit hard to come by this offseason, there is still plenty to talk about in preparation of the 2020 college football season. That includes the gambling side of things, as some of the first battling lines for big matchups in the upcoming year were released this weekend by Fox Bet.
As it stands right now, Ohio State is the favorite in all five games of their games with early lines. The biggest spread for the Buckeyes at this time is against Iowa, whom the Scarlet and Gray will host coming off a bye week on Oct. 10. Looking to erase the memory of the last time these two teams played, OSU is currently a 13.5-point favorite over the Hawkeyes in Columbus. They are also double-digit favorites against Nebraska on Halloween in The Shoe, sitting as 12.5-point favorites over the Cornhuskers.
While the lines are smaller, the Buckeyes are still the favorite is some of their biggest games of the year. The week two trip to Oregon has Ohio State as just 2.5-point road favorites, while they are 1.5-point favorites against Penn State in Happy Valley. With the 2020 season’s iteration of The Game taking place in Columbus, the Bucks are currently 8.5-point favorites over Michigan. Over the last five years, OSU has defeated the Wolverines by an average of 19 points, beating them by 23 in the last matchup on friendly soil in 2018.
Other big games around the college football world worth keeping an eye on for both betting and viewing purposes include Alabama as a four-point home dog (!!) to Georgia on Sept. 19, Clemson as a 3.5-point favorite at Notre Dame on Nov. 7, and Penn State as a 1.5-point favorite at home against Michigan on Oct. 3.
Don’t usually do this, but nothing is really normal now so wanted to give a quick update on us. pic.twitter.com/rStEsnxGF8— Aaron Craft (@ACraft4) March 16, 2020
Former Ohio State mens basketball star Aaron Craft gave an update on his lockdown situation in Italy on Monday morning. The once-Buckeye point guard currently plays for Aquila Basket Trento of the Italian Lega Serie A, and lives in Trento, Italy with his wife and kid — just a mere two and a half hours outside of the Lombary region, which has become the epicenter of the nation’s virus outbreak.
Craft is seemingly in good spirits as he explained how things went down overseas. He described things getting worse over time as it started with game postponements and later cancellation of all team activities before the government enacted a full nation-wide lockdown and travel restrictions. Craft also took the time to offer his condolences to the players in the US that have had their seasons cut short, specifically the seniors who will not get to finish their basketball careers the way they had hoped.
Having planned this to be his last year playing basketball himself, Craft’s final season does not look like it will end the way he expected either, as it looks increasingly likely his team will not wind up playing their remaining 11 games. Craft still plans to return to Columbus in in the fall and attend medical school at Ohio State, but those plans seem especially distant given the current world landscape.
“In an alternate, coronavirus-free world, Coombs would be readying himself to pick off where he left off with the Buckeyes, who left Columbus to go on spring break after their third practice of the spring on March 6. Instead, the fourth spring practice of 2020 – scheduled for Tuesday – won’t happen.”
Newly minted Ohio State defensive coordinator Kerry Coombs had a tall task in front of him. Needing to replace nearly his entire secondary, including NFL-bound guys like Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette and Jordan Fuller, the former defensive backs coach would have to get the next line of guys up to speed and ready to perform in a starting role for the 2020 season. That job became even harder now, as after just three spring practices the Buckeyes were forced to shut it down until at least early April with the global pandemic.
With something new in the world being canceled with each passing day as no headway is made in containing the virus, and with athletic director Gene Smith fond of cancelling spring practices all together to protect the health of his players and staff, it seems increasingly likely that the Buckeyes will not suit up again until the summertime. While it is certainly possible that the NCAA will allot more practice time at a later time period to make up for these lost practices, as it stands now Coombs has a lot of work to do and not a lot of opportunity to get it done.
Luckily, Coombs does have a few things working in his favor. Firstly, and most importantly, is the return of Shaun Wade. The junior corner provides his assistant coach a reliable option as the No. 1 guy with significant starting experience. In addition, Coombs will not be tasked with completely overhauling the defensive scheme like what was necessary of Jeff Hafley before him, as Ohio State’s defense in 2019 was phenomenal.
He will, however, be missing out on valuable reps with guys like Sevyn Banks, Cameron Brown, Josh Proctor and others who have great raw talent but little to no in-game experience — especially as potential starters. He will also not get as good a chance to evaluate who his top-line guys should be, as the Buckeyes possess a number of players in the secondary with the skillset necessary to become a starter.
If there's anyone in the country who can get this defense up to speed in limited time, its Kerry Coombs. The fiery assistant has been putting on a clinic in the recruiting game lately, and there should be little worry that he will be able to get it done on the field as well. Hopefully the NCAA will allow for schools to make up for missed time after things return to normal, but if not, Coombs will do the best job possible with what he has.