Ohio State Buckeyes fans rejoiced at the news that the Big Ten would indeed return to the gridiron in 2020. For all of the twists and turns that Big Ten fans have endured during this season that has been wracked by concerns over the coronavirus, the Buckeyes can get down to business, and that business is a fourth straight conference title and another run at a national championship.
With the abbreviated season, Ohio State cannot allow for any mistakes. The schedule begins Oct. 24 and runs through Dec. 12, with the possibility of playing in the Big Ten Championship Game on Dec. 19. If Ohio State wins all of its games — and looks impressive doing so — it would seem likely that the Buckeyes would be in consideration for a coveted spot in the College Football Playoff.
Athlon asked a few of its editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projection for Ohio State in 2020.
Ohio State Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
The Buckeyes are the clear favorite to win the Big Ten and have all of the necessary pieces in place to challenge Alabama or Clemson for the national title. The return of Wyatt Davis ensures quarterback Justin Fields will have one of the top offensive lines in college football, and there are plenty of weapons at receiver for coach Ryan Day to deploy. Fields had a prolific debut in Columbus last season and is primed for an even better 2020 campaign. Ohio State doesn’t have many concerns but restocking a defense that lost key players up front and in the secondary could decide whether or not this team wins it all. The road trip to Happy Valley will be tough, but the atmosphere is different without a raucous home crowd. With one of the nation’s top quarterbacks (Fields), a talented roster and favorable schedule in place, everything is lined up for Ohio State to avenge last year’s loss in the Fiesta Bowl and challenge for the national title again.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Before the Big Ten decided to postpone its season, Ohio State was a popular pick to win another conference title and move on to the College Football Playoff. And now that the Big Ten has announced its return on Oct. 24 nothing has changed, especially since guard Wyatt Davis and cornerback Shaun Wade, the two key Buckeyes who initially said they were opting out, have decided to return as well. As long as Justin Fields is healthy and the pieces come together on defense, I expect Ohio State will take care of business in conference and earn a spot in the playoff. The road game against Penn State looms large but overall this schedule is very manageable and while the Buckeyes appear to have everyone back, the same can't be said for the Nittany Lions (Micah Parsons) or Michigan (Nico Collins, Ambry Thomas), at least as of now.
Chip Minnich (@ChipMinnich)
This revised schedule sets up Ohio State very well for a likely trip to Indianapolis against a Big Ten West opponent for the conference championship. Opening at home with Nebraska on Oct. 24 may be an opportunity for Ryan Day and the Buckeyes to make a statement to the college football world that Ohio State is among the nation's elite teams.
The road trip to Penn State on Oct. 31 is concerning, but not nearly as concerning as it would be if there were fans in the stands to give the Nittany Lions the dreaded "White Out" effect. The road games at Illinois on Nov. 28 and at Michigan State on Dec. 5 will be interesting, as the weather may play more of an impact than usual, but Ohio State should be heavily favored in both of those contests. THE GAME is in its rightful spot at the end of the Ohio State season, this year scheduled for Dec. 12.
Ohio State should hit the ground running when the season finally begins and should have no problem earning a fourth straight trip to Indianapolis for another Big Ten Championship Game appearance. Look for Ohio State to win all of its games and be undefeated as the College Football Playoff committee is deliberating the playoff spots after the respective conference championship games. To say that it will be a major letdown if Ohio State is not in the playoff would be a tremendous understatement.