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2021 Ohio State Buckeyes: Lots of Questions to be Answered
Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

2021 Ohio State Buckeyes: Lots of Questions to be Answered

The 2021 Buckeyes have some major holes to fill and this could be the year we find out just how good a coach Ryan Day is because do we really know? I’m probably being unfair even suggesting that of a guy who is 23-2 in his three years at the helm in Columbus but Ohio State lost a ton of great players. As always, they recruited very well and the cupboard is hardly bare but anytime you begin a season with an inexperienced QB there is anxiety until it all comes together. Not only that, there are worries on defense too. But, they know how to win and they have a great coaching staff so no one is shedding any tears for Ohio State.

Offense: Not only will they be starting a QB who hasn’t thrown a pass in college, no one distinguished themself in the spring. Coach Day has said the competition will continue until someone gets out in front and stays there. There are three candidates and all are talented and were prize recruits. Most people familiar with the Buckeyes think that C.J. Stroud had the edge at the end of the spring but Kyle McCord and Jack Miller are right there too. Seeing who is named the starter will be one of the most viewed events this preseason. Ohio State also lost Trey Sermon, their best running back, to the NFL and he was spectacular late in the 2020 season. Master Teague is the replacement and he has gained 1,409 yards and scored 13 touchdowns during his career so he brings experience to the table. The receiving group is led by All-Big Ten returnees Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson and they also have TE Jeremy Ruckert. So whoever wins the QB job will have a lot of talent to work with. The offensive line returns 3 starters and there is star-power in that group.

Defense: There are plenty of worries with this group also as they surrendered over 300 passing yards a game last season. First year Def. Coordinator Kerry Coombs took a lot of heat last year and there is pressure on him to fix the problem. He has an experienced defensive line led by All-American tackle Haskell Garrett and returning tackles Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith. That will be a good place to start. The back seven is a potential problem. All of the linebackers with game experience are gone and new guys have to emerge quickly. The secondary returns three starters but that unit will be expected to be vastly improved. So, there are significant question marks that are legit.

Non-Conference Schedule:

9/11 Oregon

9/18 Tulsa

9/25 Akron

All 3 non-con games are at home and the Oregon game is very dangerous as the Ducks are projected to be a top team in the Pac-12. Will the QB situation be settled and good enough that early in the season? The other two games should be wins.

Conference Schedule:

9/2 at Minnesota

10/2 at Rutgers

10/9 Maryland

10/23 at Indiana

10/30 Penn State

11/6 at Nebraska

11/13 Purdue

11/20 Michigan State

11/27 at Michigan

The conference schedule isn’t easy and the Buckeyes have some difficult games. The opener at Minnesota could be an ambush especially with the QB situation. The only road game that should be easy is Rutgers. Games at Nebraska and Indiana will be competitive and the finale in Ann Arbor against the Wolverines is always iffy. The home schedule has three gimmes against Maryland, Purdue, and Michigan State. But, Penn State will be a handful.

Summary: For all of the reasons listed above this could be the year for someone to step up and dethrone the Buckeyes. There are more question marks than usual in Columbus and the schedule is a challenge. But, until somebody actually beats them I’m sticking with Ohio State.

Predicted Finish: 1st Place in the East Division

Overall Record: 10-2

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