Ohio State entered the 2014 season as legitimate contenders – and although the Buckeyes narrowly made their way into the first-ever four-team playoff – they did so mired in controversy as the fourth and final seed over one-loss TCU and Baylor. Now, the Buckeyes will head into the 2015 season with a bullet on their collective backs after laying a pair of surprising, but emphatic ‘smackdowns’ on both, Alabama and Oregon en route to the 2015 national championship. This in-depth look at the Buckeyes as they get ready for the 2015 regular season will both, inform and entertain college football betting enthusiasts across the globe.
Let’s talk about the Buckeyes Offense
The Buckeyes have a trio of quarterbacks that could all start for just about any team in the country and proved as much by winning games a year ago with all three. Just think, how many teams can turn to their third string quarterback and never skip a beat the way the Buckeyes did when forced to turn to former third-string signal-caller Cardale Jones en route to last season’s national championship. Make no mistake about it college football fans…J.T. Barrett, Cardale Jones and Braxton Miller are all capable of winning a Heisman if they are the starter for the full season. While Jones played flawless football in leading Ohio State to a 3-0 mark and 2-0 mark in his two postseason starts, he could stunningly end up as a backup this coming season.
Not only are the Buckeyes set at quarterback, but they also have a running back in Ezekiel Elliot that looks like he could potentially lead the nation in rushing this coming season. The versatile sophomore rushed for an impressive 1,878 yards and 18 touchdowns and topped the 200-yard plateau in each of his last three games.
Head coach Urban Meyer will need to fill a couple of holes at wide receiver after losing deep threat Devin Smith along with key receivers Evan Spencer and tight end Jeff Heuerman. In addition to the holes at wide receiver, Meyer also needs to find a replacement for starting right tackle Darryl Baldwin, though he is the only starter not returning on Ohio State’s offensive line.
And What About Ohio State’s Defense
Ohio State has a few more areas of concern to address on the defensive side of the football that they’ll need to address before they take the field in 2015.
Starting defensive end Joey Bosa and tackle Adolphus Washington both return for Meyer, but Ohio State’s three-time national championship winning coach will have to find suitable replacements for end Steve Miller and tackle Michael Bennett. In addition to those replacements, the Buckeyes also need to find a new starter to replace All-Big Ten cornerback Doran Grant, a productive player responsible for 63 tackles, five interceptions and nine pass breakups last season.
The Ohio State Buckeyes By The Numbers
Ohio State averaged a stellar 44.8 points per game (fifth) in 2014 while finishing ninth in rushing (264.5 ypg). The Buckeyes also ranked an impressive 19th in overall defense and gave up just 26.0pointsper game last season (26th). Last but not least, Ohio State finished with a bankroll-boosting 10-5 ATS mark that included five ATS wins both at home and on the road.
Overall Outlook and Prediction
National Championship or bust will be Ohio State’s motto entering the 2015 season. With seven returning starters on both sides of the ball, not only do the Buckeyes have national championship hopes, but they’re expecting to win it all in 2015. While the defense and wide receiver position need to reload, the Buckeyes are set at quarterback and running back and that should be good enough to get them to 10 wins at the very least.
With all of their talent and newfound belief that champions carry with them, I can easily see Ohio State back in the four-team BCS playoff at the very least.