Jeremy Birmingham/Land of 10
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett and Buckeyes teammates have some lofty expectations.

Ohio State football’s national title odds, more Malik Hooker love, Buckeyes’ athletes of the week and more

Ben Axelrod

We hope you’ll start your day with us here at Landof10.com as we work to prepare you for everything that you need to know — Monday through Friday — around the world of Ohio State sports. Whether it’s football, basketball, wrestling, hockey, baseball or just a wild story we hope you’ll find interesting, we’re here to share it all with you.

Today is Tuesday, April 18, and it’s time to Wake Up Sloopy.


What are the odds?

If you were wondering how Ohio State’s 31-0 collapse against Clemson in last season’s College Football Playoff would affect the perception of the Buckeyes as a national title contender moving forward, the answer appears to be that it hasn’t.

On Monday, ESPN.com’s David Purdum shared the Las Vegas SuperBook’s early national title odds for 2017 and it didn’t take long to find Ohio State on the list.

As you can see, the Vegas-based sportsbook currently gives the Buckeyes’ the second-best odds of winning next season’s College Football Playoff championship — albeit alongside three other teams, and at 7-1, well behind the 7-2 mark for Alabama. Buckeyes fans, however, will be pleased to see that their favorite team’s odds of winning the upcoming national title are considerably better than that of rival Michigan (12-1).

Of course it’s only April and these odds will likely shift in the coming months depending on where — and how much of it — the money goes. But it’s interesting nonetheless to see Ohio State 2017 team is currently being viewed by some of the handicappers who know the sport best.

More love for Malik & Co.

We’re little more than a week away from the NFL draft and the praise for Malik Hooker continues to pour in. At this point, most projections peg the former Ohio State safety to be picked in the Top 10 next Thursday.

In his latest rankings, which were released on Monday, ESPN’s Todd McShay slotted Hooker as his No. 5 overall player in the draft, a bump of 2 spots from McShay’s previous rankings.

Writes McShay:

Speed, range and ball skills — that’s what Hooker brings. His durability is a question mark, and he’s still recovering from offseason shoulder and hernia surgeries, but he had elite production at Ohio State, posting 7 interceptions last season.

One spot later in his rankings, the ESPN draft analyst touts Buckeyes CB Marshon Lattimore as his No. 6 overall player.

Lattimore has truly elite cover skills, and he tested off the charts in Indianapolis — 4.36 40, 38½-inch vertical, 11-foot broad jump. But he tweaked his hamstring while working out, according to a report by ESPN’s Adam Schefter, and has a history of hamstring injuries. At 6-foot, 192 pounds, Lattimore has good length and fluid movement skills. He took full advantage of his first year as a starter, with four interceptions and nine pass breakups last season.

With Ohio State CB Gareon Conley ranking as McShay’s No. 18 player, the Buckeyes’ secondary isn’t short on love these days. And if all three players do indeed come off the board in the first 32 picks next week, Ohio State will become the first program to have three defensive backs drafted in the first round a single draft since Miami (Fla.) did it in 2002.

Ohio State’s athletes of the week

As it does every Monday, the Ohio State athletic department released its athletes of the week.

This week’s winners are women’s tennis player Miho Kowase and men’s volleyball outside hitter Nicolas Szerszen.

Per Ohio State:

With two wins this weekend, Kowase became the program’s all-time leader in career singles wins with 105 victories; both of her wins this weekend were in straight sets. Kowase is an impressive 20-0 this spring and 28-3 overall this season.

For the second straight year, Szerszen was named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association Player of the Year on Thursday; Szerszen became the fourth Buckeye to receive the award in back-to-back years. Szerszen returned to the court on Saturday night for the first round of the MIVA quarterfinals with a 13-kill evening attacking at a .684 clip.

The next women’s tennis meet will occur on Friday, when the Buckeyes host Indiana. The men’s volleyball team will return to action on Wednesday as it hosts Indiana Ball State (7 p.m. ET). Congratulations to both Kowase and Szerszen on their well-deserved honors.

B1G happenings

• Michigan RB Chris Evans doesn’t know where the Leaning Tower of Pisa is located

• Edward Warinner’s commitment to Michigan State goes beyond family history

• P.J. Fleck turns Minnesota Easter egg hunt into surprise scholarship reveal

A look at Penn State’s expected list of visitors for the Nittany Lions’ spring game this weekend

• Bruce Miller, brother of a 2017 Maryland football signee, is transferring to the Terps

Get Breaking News Fast!
Download the new Land of 10 app.