Uncertainty reigns over college football, but the Buckeyes have a favorable schedule
Ohio State's path to a fourth straight Big Ten championship was clarified with the modified schedule released on Aug. 5. While a college football season remains uncertain at this time, Ohio State should be considered the prohibitive favorite to win the Big Ten again in 2020.
The biggest adjustment to the revamped schedule is where The Game has been placed within it. For the first time since 1942, when World War II was raging across the globe, Ohio State and Michigan will not conclude their Big Ten schedules with this rivalry game. Instead, Ohio State will host Michigan on Oct. 24, if the revamped schedule remains intact for the 2020 season.
Athlon asked a few of its editors and one of its college football contributors to share their realistic win/loss projections for Ohio State in 2020.
[Editor's note: This article was published before the Big Ten announced on Aug. 11 that it was postponing all fall sports, including football, with the intent of playing in the spring.]
Ohio State Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2020
Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Ohio State is the unquestioned favorite to win the Big Ten in 2020. Coach Ryan Day’s squad fell just short of a trip to the national championship game last fall and is primed for another run at it this season. Quarterback Justin Fields leads a dynamic offense, with Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon and Master Teague ready to replace J.K. Dobbins at running back. Fields will have protection from one of the top offensive lines in the nation, and there’s plenty of weapons to deploy at receiver. Ohio State’s defense needs new faces to emerge in the secondary and in the trenches. However, the return of Fields and a dynamic offense should alleviate most of those concerns. The trip to Penn State won’t be easy, but Day’s team should go undefeated in the regular season for the second year in a row.
Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
The bigger storyline with Ohio State's modified schedule is not which team was added (Purdue), but the fact the Buckeyes won't be making the trip to Eugene to face Oregon. What hasn't changed is Ohio State's status as the favorite in the Big Ten. Yes, the Michigan game has been moved up from its traditional late-November slot, but it's at home and the Buckeyes have dominated the Wolverines this century. Penn State will be tough and that game is on the road, but no fans mean no White Out conditions to deal with, and the bigger loss for the Nittany Lions is no Micah Parsons. The next toughest road game would probably be Purdue but the Boilermakers won't have Rondale Moore and Ohio State needs no reminder about what happened the last time they went to West Lafayette. With everything that's unknown about this season, this much is clear — the Buckeyes are still the team to beat in the Big Ten.
Chip Minnich (@ChipMinnich)
Looking at Ohio State's 2020 schedule, it sets up nicely for a return to Indianapolis for the Big Ten Championship Game in December. The road opener at Illinois will be much better than when it was previously scheduled for late November, when the weather can wreak havoc. The added road trip at Purdue is concerning, with Ohio State's inexperienced secondary, but much less so with the decision by Boilermakers WR Rondale Moore to opt out the upcoming 2020 season. Ohio State hosts "That Team Up North" on Oct. 24, which could make the eighth straight win by the Buckeyes in this rivalry series over the Wolverines.
The biggest road game of the year, at Penn State on Nov. 7, will be less challenging with Nittany Lions linebacker Micah Parsons sitting out the 2020 season, as well as the news that no fans will be in the stands at Beaver Stadium. Ohio State concludes its regular season with Iowa on Nov. 21, a game that Buckeye fans have been waiting for since the Hawkeyes routed Ohio State in 2017. All things considered, some challenges await, but the depth of talent Ohio State has should have the Buckeyes undefeated at the end of the season.