Jordan Hancock Ohio State Buckeyes

50 For 50: A Heavyweight Bout In The Slot For Jordan Hancock

Welcome to our daily feature that I am calling “50 for 50” where I attempt to get us to Big Ten Media Days — which are 42 days away — with a daily sampling of what we can look forward to this upcoming college football season.

We will do this via the following categories: the 50 biggest individual matchups for the Buckeyes this season, the 50 most important college football games this season, 50 Buckeye things to look forward to this season, 50 national predictions, 50 Big Ten predictions, and 50 predictions involving the Buckeyes.

Previous: Day Eight |

Biggest Buckeye Matchups

Oregon WR Tez Johnson vs. Ohio State NB Jordan Hancock

Ohio State nickel back Jordan Hancock has worked on getting bigger and stronger in order to hold up better against the run but he better not lose any quickness or else Oregon slot receiver Tez Johnson will take advantage of every heavier step. Johnson may be the quickest receiver in the Big Ten. He is dynamic before and after the catch, as evidenced by his 86 catches for 1,182 yards and 10 touchdowns last year. Every Ohio State defensive back is going to have their hands full when they head to Oregon, and nobody more so than Jordan Hancock.

Most Important Games

Missouri Tigers at Texas A&M, Oct. 5

Missouri returns 14 starters from last year’s team, including wide receiver Luther Burden, who will be one of the busiest players in the nation this year. The Tigers have playoff hopes this year — and maybe Texas A&M does as well. The road trip against the Aggies is Mizzou’s first test of the season, and it comes following an off week. The Tigers are trying to pick up where they left off last year with a Cotton Bowl win over Ohio State. Texas A&M, meanwhile, is trying to move past the punchline they had become under Jimbo Fisher. A win for the Aggies here would stop the chuckling — but not in a, “Oh, this isn’t funny sad, this is just sad sad” way, and rather in a, “Oh, these guys are serious” way.

Something To Look Forward To

Linebacker CJ Hicks as a blitzer.

Ohio State junior linebacker CJ Hicks spent the entirety of spring with the ones, which indicates he will see considerable playing time this season even if Sonny Styles ultimately wins the starting Will linebacker job. Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has raved about Hicks’ ability to blitz and get into the backfield, so let’s see it. With the secondary that the Buckeyes have this season, they can afford to be more aggressive than last year. Expect Hicks to be part of that aggression.

National College Football Predictions

Tennessee QB Nico Iamaleava will lead the SEC in total offense.

Now, I will readily admit that Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava can’t throw the ball 90 yards like last year’s starter Joe Milton could. But the next time a 90-yard pass is a key part of a game plan will be the first. What Iamaleava lacks in the ability to throw the ball 90 yards, he makes up for in the ability to throw it 19 yards accurately. The Volunteers are going to get back to the kind of offense that they had with quarterback Hendon Hooker in 2022. If Nico Iamaleava can average about 310 yards of total offense per game, he’ll lead the conference. That’s not a big ask.

Big Ten Football Predictions

Iowa will not get shutout this year.

Look, sometimes when it comes to making predictions, you have to stand out on a limb and scream, “Here I am. See me. Judge me.” And sometimes you just have to see if people are still paying attention. I’m not sure which one this is. Maybe it’s both. The Iowa offense is going to be much more explosive than they were a year ago — but probably still like how a black snake is more explosive than a candle. New offensive coordinator Tim Lester is going to light a fire under the Iowa offense and they are going to very slowly burn downfield before breaking off and trying again.

Ohio State Football Predictions

Will Howard and Devin Brown will throw multiple TDs in the same game.

Having two Ohio State quarterbacks throw at least two touchdowns in the same game hasn’t happened since 2019 when Justin Fields threw four touchdowns against Rutgers and backup quarterback Chris Chugunov came in and threw two more. It doesn’t happen often and generally requires a head coach who doesn’t care about an opponent’s feelings. I’m not saying this is going to happen against Michigan, but I’m not NOT saying it.

Go to discussion...