Kayden McDonald Ohio State Buckeyes Defensive Tackle

50 For 50: A Veteran Test For Kayden McDonald

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 28 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 22 |

Biggest Buckeye Matchups

Nebraska C Ben Scott vs. Ohio State NT Kayden McDonald

Nebraska’s Ben Scott is one of the best centers in the conference, earning Honorable Mention All-Big Ten honors last year after transferring in from Arizona State. He has 39 career starts to his credit, so he’s seen his fair share of college football. When the Huskers come to Columbus, it will be interesting to see how Ohio State sophomore nose tackle Kayden McDonald deals with that kind of veteran. McDonald is a backup, but the expectation is that he will see a good number of snaps in this game. How he handles this battle against a sixth-year senior will give defensive line coach Larry Johnson a better idea of just what to expect from McDonald in November, December, and January.

Most Important Games

Alabama Crimson Tide at Tennessee Volunteers, October 19

Known as the Third Saturday In October, Alabama vs. Tennessee is one of the SEC’s best rivalries. Or at least that’s what people tell us. This year’s game takes place in Knoxville, which means that it’s okay to expect the Vols to win. Tennessee quarterback Nico Iamaleava got the start against Iowa in the Citrus Bowl last year and played well, but this will be an opportunity for him to set the narrative about the Vols being back among the conference’s elites. Alabama and new head coach Kalen DeBoer will likely come into this game with at least one loss already and can’t afford another one here, especially with road games at LSU and Oklahoma remaining.

Things To Look Forward To

The build-up towards Ohio State at Oregon.

Let’s face it, even though you are very much looking forward to this coming football season, there is a thought that the season won’t actually begin until the Buckeyes head out to Eugene to face the Oregon Ducks. It’s the biggest game in the Big Ten this year and it’s very possible that Ohio State comes into the contest as an underdog. The Buckeyes play Iowa the week before they head out west, but once that game is over, “Oregon Week” begins. Both teams should come in at 5-0 and ranked in the top five. Some will consider this a Big Ten Championship Game preview. Others will consider it a playoff preview. Both people might be right.

National College Football Predictions

SMU will have a winning record in the ACC.

You don’t have to squint too hard to see a path to the ACC Championship Game for new member SMU. The Mustangs get Florida State, Pitt, Boston College, and California at home. That’s probably three wins. They travel to Louisville, Stanford, Duke, and Virginia. Is there a game in that group they can’t win? They miss Miami and Clemson, which means that one of those two teams could get left out of the championship game if SMU takes advantage of a relatively easy schedule. And if an ACC team doesn’t make it to the ACC Championship Game this year, it’s going to be pretty difficult for them to make the College Football Playoffs. While the schedule is certainly favorable, a 5-3 conference record is still more likely than a 7-1 mark.

Big Ten Football Predictions

Penn State is going to the College Football Playoffs.

The happiest man in America when the College Football Playoffs expanded from four teams to 12 teams was Penn State head coach James Franklin. No longer can the Big Ten gatekeep him from the playoffs. In fact, now the conference will be gaslighting him as an expected playoff participant. We’ll see which he prefers once Penn State fails to make the playoffs. We’ll have to wait until at least next season to find out, however.

Ohio State Football Predictions

Caleb Downs will have at least three interceptions.

Caleb Downs had a fantastic season last year as a true freshman at Alabama, posting a team-high 107 tackles. However, he had “just” two interceptions. He will better that number this year by coming away with at least three interceptions. While that may not sound like much to you, the last time an Ohio State deep safety had more than two interceptions was 2017 with Damon Webb. Webb finished with five interceptions. I’m not gonna go crazy and predict five interceptions here — or Malik Hooker’s seven interceptions one year earlier, but I’m also not going to be surprised by almost anything that happens with this year’s Buckeye defense.

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