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Ohio State Buckeyes 2018 Football Schedule and Analysis

Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Ohio State RB J.K. Dobbins

Spring football practice has concluded for the Ohio State Buckeyes, with the playing of the spring game on April 14. Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer was pleased with the progress the Buckeyes made over the course of the 15 practices, but the answer to who will replace J.T. Barrett as the starting quarterback has still not been determined. Meyer stated after the spring game, "We're going to have to make some decisions."

Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer

No matter who is named the starting quarterback, Meyer has a talented roster that should once again be in the discussion for winning the Big Ten, as well as be a leading contender for a spot in the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes' schedule this fall has its share of challenges, as Ohio State will face five opponents that earned bowl berths in 2017.

Ohio State Buckeyes Schedule

Bye: Week 9

Week 1 – Sept. 1 vs. Oregon State (Columbus, Ohio)

Oregon State, under first-year head coach Jonathan Smith, makes its first trip back to Columbus since 1984. For a Beavers team that went 1-11 in 2017, facing a talented Buckeyes team in game one could be a rough start for the ‘18 season.

College football rankings: Oregon State

Week 2 – Sept 8. vs. Rutgers (Columbus, Ohio)

Rutgers will be the first Big Ten opponent for the Buckeyes in 2018. Former Ohio State assistant Chris Ash will look to improve against the Buckeyes, as Ohio State has defeated his Scarlet Knights by an average score of 57-0 in the past two contests.

College football rankings: Rutgers

Week 3 – Sept 15. vs. TCU (Arlington, Texas - AT&T Stadium)

In a "neutral" game setting less than 30 miles from TCU's campus, Ohio State will travel to AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas, to take on a talented Horned Frogs team that is coming off a terrific 11-3 season under Gary Patterson. This game will mark the first time Ohio State and TCU have played since the 1973 season, a 37-3 win in Columbus under legendary Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: TCU

Week 4 – Sept. 22 vs. Tulane (Columbus, Ohio)

This game will be the first-ever meeting between the Buckeyes and the Green Wave. Tulsa is coming off a 5-7 season in 2017 under Willie Fritz, with four losses by a total of 12 points. Urban Meyer will have to guard against his young team looking beyond Tulane, for the upcoming battle at Penn State the following week.

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Week 5 – Sept. 29 at Penn State (University Park, Pa.)

A dramatic 39-38 comeback win in Ohio Stadium by the Buckeyes in 2017. A dramatic 24-21 comeback win in Beaver Stadium by the Nittany Lions in 2016. It would be a shocker if this game is not under the lights, under "White Out" conditions, with the winner taking a pivotal lead in the Big Ten East race.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Penn State

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Week 6 – Oct. 6 vs. Indiana (Columbus, Ohio)

Indiana gave Ohio State a scare until the Buckeyes pulled away for the 49-21 win in the 2017 season opener in Bloomington. This should be a good test for the Buckeyes, coming off the big game at Penn State the week earlier.

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Week 7 – Oct. 13 vs. Minnesota (Columbus, Ohio)

P.J. Fleck had the Golden Gophers off to a 3-0 start in 2017, but Minnesota struggled down the stretch, finishing the season at 5-7. This will mark the first game between Minnesota and Ohio State since the 2015 season, a 28-14 Buckeyes win.

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Week 8 – Oct. 20 at Purdue (West Lafayette, Ind.)

Ohio State travels to West Lafayette to take on Jeff Brohm and the Boilermakers for the first time since the 2013 season. Longtime Ohio State fans have become leery of playing at Purdue, as the Boilermakers have been able to pull off upsets over the Buckeyes through the years, most recently in 2011.

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Week 10 – Nov. 3 vs. Nebraska (Columbus, Ohio)

First-year head coach Scott Frost will make his debut appearance in Ohio Stadium, as the Cornhuskers will return to Columbus after a 62-3 Buckeye win in 2016. With a commanding 56-14 Ohio State win in Lincoln last season, revenge will be on the minds of every returning Cornhusker player. Ohio State will be coming off its bye week.

Nebraska's college football logo

Week 11 – Nov. 10 at Michigan State (East Lansing, Mich.)

Until last season's dominating 48-3 win in Ohio Stadium by the Buckeyes, this series was even during the Urban Meyer era, with three wins each. Each of Ohio State's victories, until last season, was in East Lansing. This November game could be a crucial outcome for the Big Ten East race.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Michigan State

Week 12 – Nov. 17 at Maryland (College Park, Md.)

DJ Durkin has improved the Terrapins with better recruits, and Maryland will be looking to bounce back from a disappointing 4-8 season in 2017. Ohio State has been dominant in its matchups against Maryland, but also cannot afford to look beyond the Terrapins.

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Week 13 – Nov. 24 vs. Michigan (Columbus, Ohio)

THE GAME. The final home game of the season for all the Buckeye seniors, this one could have implications for winning the Big Ten East, if not more. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh will be looking for his first win in this rivalry. The last time the Wolverines visited Ohio Stadium was in 2016, a game Ohio State won, 30-27 in double overtime.

College Football Top 25 Rankings: Michigan

— Written by Chip Minnich, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. He also is writing and podcasting for www.theozone.net. Follow him on Twitter @ChipMinnich.