Every day for the entirety of the Ohio State football season, we will be asking and answering questions about the team, college football, and anything else on our collective minds of varying degrees of importance. If you have a question that you would like to ask, you can tweet us @LandGrant33 or if you need more than 280 characters, send an email HERE.
Forget Notre Dame, forget Wisconsin, forget Michigan State, forget Iowa, today is the day that all of Buckeye Nation — and really college football — has been looking toward in an effort to fully realize what this Ohio State is really made of. Statistically, there is arguably no team better in the country, but the Buckeyes have yet to play a team that could even come close to measuring up against them this season.
So, at 12 noon ET in State College against the No. 13 Penn State Nittany Lions, we will learn a lot about just how good this year’s Ohio State team really is. Before we get to the on-field action, we wanted to take the temperature of Buckeye fans on a few major questions while also getting an approximate, collective score prediction.
Question 1: After the 54-10 victory over Iowa, what was your general feeling about the game?
I took away a lot of different things from last weekend’s blowout victory over Iowa, but if I’m being fair, none of them were really on the defensive side of the ball, mainly because of how horrendous the Hawkeyes are on offense. If Jim Knowles’ unit can pull off a similar feat today against the Nits, then I think all of college football will stand up and take notice.
For me, the biggest takeaway from last Saturday was how fickle and volatile fans can be. This is obviously nothing new — especially in our considerably overanxious fanbase — and I admit that I can be part of this problem, but man, last week I got a bit of whiplash trying to bounce back and forth between folks being ready to blow a gasket and ready to claim the national championship in the course of a single drive.
I’ll have a short column on this later this morning, about 30 minutes before kickoff, but that was a bit much for me last week.
Question 2: What do you think about Jaxon Smith-Njigba limping off the field?
I have absolutely zero inside information, but based on things that C.J. Stroud said this week and how long it took to get him back following the Toledo game, I’m beginning to think that we’ve not only seen the last of Jaxon Smith-Njigba this season, but potentially in an Ohio State uniform.
I hope that’s not the case, and if he is going to come back at some point this year, I hope that they are exceedingly over-protective of him, but I just don’t think that it’s looking good. Obviously, the offense would benefit from having the best receiver in the country in the rotation, but — thanks to Brian Hartline’s recruiting prowess — there hasn’t been a tremendous dip in receiver production this year.
So, if he can come back for The Game, great. If they wait until the College Football Playoff, that’s fine too. I just hope that he is doing everything that he can to be as healthy as possible for the NFL Draft process, if that is in fact what he decides his next step is going to be.
Question 3: How many points do you think Ohio State will score against Penn State?
In the “LGHL Tailgate” podcast this morning, I made my official prediction to be 41-20 in favor of the Scarlet and Gray, and it looks like exactly half of our respondents agreed with me on the Buckeyes’ total.
In fairness, even putting up 35 or 41 would still be considerably under OSU’s average of 49.8 points per game, so that is in deference to Penn State’s defensive abilities.
Question 4: How many points do you think Penn State will score against Ohio State?
Since I picked the Nits to go for 20 points, the majority of Buckeye fans were in line with my prediction as well. Penn State is averaging 33.4 points per game this season, so this would be under their season average, but given Ohio State’s defensive performances this season, I think that there is every reason to believe that they are capable of holding Penn State to under three touchdowns.