COLUMBUS, Ohio — With National Signing Day in the books and spring football still a couple weeks away, Ohio State football is in a bit of a dead period.
There’s never a bad time to talk about the Buckeyes, though, so I put out a call on Twitter for your questions.
Let’s get to the mailbag.
@rmginn What game does Ohio State have the biggest percent chance to lose in 2017?
— Jeff Svoboda (@JeffSvoboda) February 18, 2017
Man, I love this one. For anyone who hasn’t looked at it yet, here is Ohio State’s 2017 schedule.
|Aug. 31||at Indiana|
|Sept. 30||at Rutgers|
|Oct. 14||at Nebraska|
|Oct. 21||Open date|
|Oct. 28||Penn State|
|Nov. 4||at Iowa|
|Nov. 11||Michigan State|
|Nov. 25||at Michigan|
Let’s go ahead and automatically rule out Army, UNLV, Rutgers, Maryland, Iowa and Illinois as options. Indiana in Bloomington on a Thursday night is intriguing, especially to open the season. However, the person who wreaked all that havoc against Ohio State in recent years is now employed as the Buckeyes’ offensive coordinator. It doesn’t bode well for a Hoosiers upset.
I don’t think Nebraska is ready to take the leap to an elite team, and I also have questions about Michigan State. Penn State is an enticing option, but it’s in Columbus (where Urban Meyer has crushed them twice) and the Buckeyes have an open date the week before.
That leaves Oklahoma and Michigan. Vegas lists Oklahoma with 10-1 national championship odds for 2017 and Michigan with 12-1. I tend to agree that the Sooners have a bit of an edge over the Wolverines, especially with how much talent they bring back compared to how much Michigan loses.
The Michigan game is in Ann Arbor, but that hasn’t been a problem during the Meyer era. I’m inclined to think the Buckeyes will be most vulnerable two weeks into the season against Oklahoma, when the new staff and first-time starters might still be trying to figure out some things. That might not be the game (or one of the games) Ohio State loses — college football is crazy — but I think it’s the most likely game on the slate to be a loss.
@rmginn legitimate shot for Okudah or Wade to see legit playing time on D?
— ǝʇᴉH sᴉɹɥƆ (@CHBabyBear) February 17, 2017
Both Jeffrey Okudah and Shaun Wade are tremendously talented prospects, which I’m sure any Ohio State fan who even remotely follows recruiting already knows. With all due respect to Wade, who has the potential to earn a tree in the Buckeye Grove one day, Okudah is probably the one true freshman I see with a legitimate chance to win a starting job.
On paper, he’s pound-for-pound one of the best recruits Meyer has landed in Columbus. With both cornerback spots open (and nickel also an option), I think Okudah will start for the Buckeyes in 2017. He’s too good to keep off the field, especially as an early enrollee.
@rmginn First time, long time. Will receivers make big step forward in 2017?
— Seth Shaner (@shanerbomb) February 17, 2017
Yes and no (mostly yes), depending on how you look at it. I think the addition of Kevin Wilson will pay huge dividends for the offense as a whole, receivers included. If the offensive line and J.T Barrett both play better — which I expect — it stands to reason that the receivers will produce better numbers. I also think young guys like Binjimen Victor, Austin Mack and Trevon Grimes will help catapult the position back to where it belongs.
On the flip side, I’m not sure I see any improvement coming from the veterans who have thus far been underwhelming. Ohio State’s receiving corps will go wherever the young guys take it.
@rmginn what wrs do you expect to make immediate impacts in the passing game?
— Paul Santasieri (@paulie_nuts) February 17, 2017
This kind of goes hand-in-hand with the last question, but I want to elaborate a little bit on some of the younger guys. If Victor counts, I expect him to win a starting job and explode this fall. He’s going to be a huge target for Barrett. Mack may have hit a wall as a true freshman, but all the reasons he drew praise last spring as an early enrollee still exist. He’s going to be a dependable guy this fall. Grimes is a bit of a wildcard because of his knee injury, but if he’s fine (and there’s no reason to expect otherwise), expect to see him score on a deep ball next season. I also expect Jake Hausmann to emerge as the second tight end option and snag a touchdown or two in the red zone when the Buckeyes bust out some two tight end looks. He could end up being a problem for defenses.
@rmginn Any chance Schiano stays for three years? Could be most overqualified assistant in college football.
— Eric Bronstein (@ebronste) February 17, 2017
Unfortunately for Ohio State fans, I don’t think so. He can afford to pick his spots so there’s always a chance, especially if the job market ends up unfavorable for a second year in a row. However, the odds still seem slim. He’s a talented guy and he’ll be coveted after churning out another impressive secondary and defense as a whole.
Non-Ohio State question of the week
@rmginn Who was more integral to The Office – Dwight Scrhute, Michael Scott, Jim Halpert or Pam Beesly? Think it through.
— Robbie Hendricks (@roberthendricks) February 17, 2017
I don’t think it can be anyone but Michael Scott. The way the writers changed his character from Season 1 to Season 2 helped save the show, and then it fell apart and became borderline unwatchable once he left. It wasn’t the same show without him. He probably wasn’t my favorite character, but he was unquestionably — at least in my opinion — the most valuable. It was a different show without him.