Mitchell Melton CJ Hicks Sonny Styles Buckeyes

50 For 50: Buckeye ‘Backers In The Backfield

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 18 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 32 |

Biggest Buckeye Matchups

Michigan DE Josiah Stewart vs. Ohio State LT Josh Simmons

Contrary to one of the many conspiracy theories from the state of Michigan, the Wolverines do utilize the transfer portal. They did it last year by landing Josiah Stewart who was one of the top pass rushers available. As a part-time pass-rush specialist last year for Michigan he posted 5.5 sacks and 8.5 tackles for loss. He is an undersized defender (6-1 245) but has incredible quickness and good speed for the position. Ohio State left tackle Josh Simmons will be matched up with Stewart on many passing downs. Any snap for a defensive end can swing a game, which means that every snap for Simmons will require that he be at his best.

Most Important Games

Iowa Hawkeyes at Ohio State Buckeyes, October 5

The one thing you can count on this season is that the Ohio State offense is going to have to earn everything they get against the Iowa defense this year. The Hawkeyes will come into this game off of a bye week, so they’ll have four OSU games to study before they meet on the field. The last meeting between these teams didn’t go well for Iowa, as the Buckeyes won 54-10. Don’t expect another 6-touchdown margin of victory this year. Ohio State heads to Oregon the week after this game. Will they be looking ahead to the Ducks? Take the under here.

Things To Look Forward To

Seth McLaughlin answering his critics.

The Buckeyes went into the transfer portal and brought in Seth McLaughlin, who was the starting center for Nick Saban and Alabama the past two seasons. Buckeye fans watched McLaughlin in the playoffs against Michigan. That game featured some bad snaps from McLaughlin, which then became what many people now know him for — especially Michigan fans. This year will be an opportunity to move past those snaps and show everyone — especially Michigan fans — why so many teams were interested in landing McLaughlin out of the portal.

National College Football Predictions

Miami is making the College Football Playoffs.

Miami’s schedule sets up for a very good regular season record, but not really a very good home season ticket for the hundreds of loyal Hurricane fans who will sometimes attend the games. The Canes host Florida A&M, Ball State, Virginia Tech, Florida State, Duke, and Wake Forest. The road games are Florida, USF, California, Louisville, Georgia Tech, and Syracuse. They will be more talented than every team they face, save for maybe UF and FSU. They can afford a loss to the Gators because it won’t impact their conference record. The Canes would likely have to beat Clemson in the conference championship game to make the playoffs, unless Kyle McCord shows that he is still a true Buckeye and ends Miami’s playoff hopes with a Syracuse win in the formerly-known-as Carrier Dome to end the regular season.

Big Ten Football Predictions

Illinois will lead Michigan in the fourth quarter.

Illinois hasn’t beaten Michigan since Rich Rodriguez was the Wolverines’ head coach (2009), which is one reason why I’m not predicting them to beat UM this year. But Bret Bielema has a knack for making things randomly difficult for randomly talented teams at times. Hell, they nearly beat Michigan in Ann Arbor two years ago. The Wolverines will come into this game off of an open week, so Sherrone Moore and his offensive staff will have certainly scouted* the Illinois defense in preparation for this game. I’m not expecting a high-scoring game, so 17 points for Illinois over the first three quarters could have them leading this one.


Ohio State Football Predictions

Sonny Styles and CJ Hicks will each have a game with 1.5 TFLs.

Predicting both Sonny Styles and CJ Hicks to have games in which they record at least 1.5 tackles for loss seems pretty random, but I promise you that it is not. The 1.5 TFLs is the same number that starting Will linebacker Steele Chambers had all of last year. Hicks and Styles will be sharing the Will position this season and I expect both to have some impactful games along the way. They will also be playing together at times, which will increase the odds that my prediction comes to fruition.

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