2020 Season Preview: Eight Bold Ohio State Football Predictions

By Chris Lauderback on October 15, 2020 at 10:10 am
Ryan Day's 2020 squad has its sights set on a national title.
97 Comments

You may not believe it after all you've been through in 2020 but Ohio State is now just single-digit days away from playing an actual football game. 

The coronavirus may have upended spring ball, hijacked recruiting efforts and nearly canceled a fall football season but with the Buckeyes set to take the field in nine days, expectations are of the national title or bust variety. 

Against that backdrop, member of the 11W staff are here to regale you with this year's boldest predictions. I'll sit this one since I offered five such prognostications earlier this month. 

And away we go.. 

OSU WILL FEATURE THE TWO BEST INTERIOR OL IN CFB

It isn’t a bold prediction to say that Wyatt Davis will be the best interior offensive lineman in college football, given that he was already an All-American last year. As good as Davis is, though, I think Josh Myers gets overshadowed for just how good he is, too, and I think Myers will prove he’s the best center in the nation this year and become Ohio State’s third Rimington Trophy winner since 2016 while earning his own tree in Buckeye Grove.
— Dan Hope

Michigan Will Be Better Than a Lot of People Think

Michigan is going to be a legitimate pain in the ass this season because it has finally been knocked far enough off of the arrogance perch that has kept its self-defeating culture weaponized for the better part of the millennium. No one is going out of their way to overrate them in 2020. COVID has humbled everyone to a degree, which only benefits the B1G program in most need of humbling, And there’s no anointed savior on the roster; just a bunch of guys accustomed to winning the least when it matters the most.

They remind me of Brian Griese’s 1997 Wolverines, minus - and it’s a sizable minus - Charles Woodson. They’ll give everyone their best shot and for the first time in forever, without that entitlement chip that’s predictably and consistently knocked them back to earth.
— Ramzy Nasrallah

JSN WILL EMERGE AS OHIO STATE'S LEADING RECEIVER

My original bold prediction was going to be that Jaxon Smith-Njigba breaks Ohio State’s single-season receiving record. Alas, that whole COVID thing happened and I’m audibling to a slightly less bold take. I’m picking the true freshman to end the season as the Buckeyes’ leading receiver. I’m not 100 percent sure where he fits into the passing game, but it’s pretty obvious that he’s going to have some type of role early and often. He’s not as experienced as Chris Olave. He doesn’t have the hops of a Garrett Wilson, and he’s certainly not as fast as Jameson Williams. I’m overlooking all of that as I feel he’s going to put up ridiculous numbers when it matters and even more in garbage time.

All hail JSN.
– Andrew Ellis

MARCUS HOOKER WILL LEAD OHIO STATE IN INTERCEPTIONS

A safety named Hooker will lead Ohio State in interceptions as a redshirt sophomore for the second time in the last decade. I'm talking about Marcus Hooker, Malik's younger brother who has flown under the radar so far in his collegiate career. I fully expect the Buckeyes to implement more two-safety defenses, and even when there's only one safety on the field, I anticipate Hooker playing early and often. He might not be quite a once-in-a-lifetime ball-hawking safety like his brother, but he'll pick off his fair share of passes. Most people have their eyes on Josh Proctor at safety. Hooker will earn his shine in due time.
– Colin Hass-Hill

JUSTIN FIELDS WILL LEAD OHIO STATE IN RUSHING TOUCHDOWNS

As he battles Trevor Lawrence for not only the Heisman Trophy but the honor of being selected by the NFL’s worst team this spring, Fields has to contend with both his rival’s arm and his legs. Lawrence doesn’t run often, averaging just 4.5 carries per game so far in 2020, but he already has four touchdown rushes in as many games as the Clemson coaching staff leans on his big frame in the option game once inside the red zone. Meanwhile, Ohio State’s top two running backs, Master Teague III and Trey Sermon, are both coming off serious injuries and a committee approach is expected, at least early on. I expect Ryan Day and staff to use a similar strategy, rarely putting their star signal-caller in harm’s way outside the 20, but liberally calling for QB-runs once near the goal line.
– Kyle Jones

BARON BROWNING EARNS FIRST-TEAM ALL-B1G HONORS 

After three years of being misused as a Mike linebacker, we’re finally going to see the full potential of Browning’s skillset. Browning will win the starting job and make it hard for the Buckeyes to pull him off the field, as his versatility will shine while being used all over the field as a pass rusher, run stopper and coverage guy. We’re going to see a rejuvenated, more comfortable Browning this season, with the former five-star recruit blowing up and leading Ohio State’s linebackers in sacks and competing for the league lead in sacks and tackles-for-loss among linebackers. He’s going to jump from honorable mention All-Big Ten linebacker to a first-teamer and make a case for the Big Ten’s Butkus-Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year award.
– Zack Carpenter

OSU WILL WIN EVERY B1G GAME BY 10+ POINTS

Ohio State will win every game on their Big Ten schedule by at least 10 points. Look, I hedge at life more than anyone. I don't trust expired salad dressing, I look both ways before walking around in my own house, and I signal about a half mile before the exit. But dammit, not only is this team loaded, they're playing a bunch of B1G teams that almost assuredly haven't put in the work or prep the Buckeyes have in what's generally a down year for the conference. Ohio State is just too ready and talented, and the Big Ten doesn't stand a chance.
– Johnny Ginter

JAMESON WILLIAMS WILL BE AT LEAST OHIO STATE'S SECOND-LEADING RECEIVER

It seems like Jameson Williams is getting a little overlooked this offseason. I get it, Chris Olave is one of the best receivers in the country, Garrett Wilson is a five-star prospect in his second year, and there are four shiny new freshmen, but don't sleep on Ted Ginn Jr., Jr. 

He might not get the same number of receptions as some of the other guys, but with his speed, I'm expecting him to make the most out of his targets and hit his fair share of home runs this year. He's the king of yards after catch, and I think he's going to put up a lot bigger numbers than people expect this year.
– Kevin Harrish

97 Comments
View 97 Comments