The five most interesting games on Ohio State’s football schedule this season:
1. Michigan. This game in Ann Arbor could decide who is champion of the Big Ten East Division. If it does, the winner would be the favorite in the Big Ten championship game and would be a playoff contender. It also will answer the question of whether Ohio State’s incredible recent dominance of Michigan and Jim Harbaugh will continue with Ryan Day as coach.
Urban Meyer went 7-0 against Michigan and OSU has won 14 of the last 15 times it has played the Wolverines.
2. Penn State. The last two seasons Ohio State has made huge comebacks late in games to beat the Nittany Lions. It came back from 12 points down with eight minutes to play to win 27-26 last season and won 39-38 in 2017 after being behind by 15 points in the fourth quarter. Those losses have to sting for Penn State and coach James Franklin and could provide motivation. Also, Penn State’s quarterback Sean Clifford is an Ohio guy who OSU didn’t offer a scholarship.
3. Michigan State. If the Spartans find even a little offense with quarterback Brian Lewerke healthy again they will be a challenge for a lot of teams because they have almost everyone back from a strong defense last year. It’s ancient history for most of the players, but MSU wins in 2013 and 2015 kept OSU out of the playoffs.
4. Cincinnati. UC coach Luke Fickell will say this game is about the players, not him. But he started for four years at OSU, was an assistant coach there for 14 years and was head coach in 2011. No Ohio team has beaten Ohio State since 1921 and UC has more talent than most of the in-state opponents who have appeared on the Buckeyes’ schedule.
5. Nebraska. No other team that went 4-8 last year has gotten as much preseason love as the Cornhuskers. If they and their coach Scott Frost are for real, OSU could be in for a big early road test.
Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414.