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Ohio State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2021

Ohio State (OSU) vs. Illinois Football Prediction And Preview

Ohio State has won four straight Big Ten titles and been in the last two College Football Playoffs

Just like every other major college football program in America, the Ohio State Buckeyes are eager to put the 2020 season behind them. With the initial, abrupt cancellation of the season by the Big Ten, then the concerted effort that resulted in an abbreviated campaign, the Buckeyes were able to navigate through all of the distractions, earning another trip to the College Football Playoff.

Ohio State suffered its annual parade of talent loss to the NFL draft, but make no mistake about it – head coach Ryan Day has another roster stacked with highly-touted, heavily recruited players who are eager to show the college football world what they can do. 

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 2021.

Ohio State Football Game-by-Game Predictions for 2021

Ohio State Football: Game-by-Game Predictions for 2021

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Steven Lassan (@AthlonSteven)
Third-year coach Ryan Day has yet to lose a game during the regular season, and there’s a good chance that streak continues in 2021. Tough road trips await versus Minnesota, Michigan and Indiana, along with a big non-conference matchup versus Oregon in Week 2, but the slate is overall very manageable and Day’s team will be favored in all 12 contests. The offense returns the best receiving corps in college football, perhaps the No. 1 offensive line in the nation, and plenty of talented arms in the quarterback room to replace Justin Fields. Ohio State has room to improve after a down year on defense, but talent isn’t an issue for Day’s program. Going undefeated isn’t easy in college football. However, the Buckeyes have a big edge over the rest of the Big Ten and should be 13-0 going into the CFB Playoff.

Mark Ross (@AthlonMarkR)
Ohio State may have a quarterback competition on its hands but I'm not sure it's going to matter. The Buckeyes are loaded at pretty much every position, have clearly been the best the Big Ten has to offer for several years running now, and head coach Ryan Day has earned the benefit of the doubt when it comes to the most important position on the field. It also doesn't hurt that Ohio State's toughest game (Oregon) comes at home. Penn State also comes to the Horseshoe. Yes, Indiana and Michigan are on the road (and opening the season at Minnesota won't be a cakewalk), but both games come in the latter half of the schedule. That gives Day plenty of time to figure out his QB conundrum or develop a lethal rotation. The end result should be the same – the Buckeyes playing for another Big Ten title and shot at the College Football Playoff.

Chip Minnich (@ChipMinnich)
Ohio State does not start off the 2021 season lightly, with a Thursday night road trip on Sept. 2 to play Minnesota, followed by a visit by Pac-12 power Oregon on Sept. 11. With a new quarterback at the helm of the offense, the Buckeyes may have some anxious moments in those first two games. Nonetheless, they should have enough to get by those first two challenges.

Ohio State should have the remainder of September through mid-October to begin rounding into championship form, with a road trip to Indiana and a visit by Penn State concluding October. Those two teams will represent the next best teams on the 2021 schedule, and look for the Buckeyes to be able to defeat both of those teams.

Ohio State has the most talent in the Big Ten, and should be undefeated at the end of November. The Buckeyes should once again represent the East division in Indianapolis, en route to their fifth straight conference championship and another likely berth in the College Football Playoff.