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Free Pick: Ohio State at Minnesota 9/2/21
© Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch via Imagn Content Services, LLC

Free Pick: Ohio State at Minnesota 9/2/21

This is another really interesting matchup in the Big 10 conference and features the big bad Buckeyes on the road against a decent Minnesota team. The added intrigue is Ohio State is starting a new quarterback and this will be his first start and a conference game on the road is a difficult task especially against a better than average team. Let’s get to it.

Quarterback: Ohio State named freshman redshirt C.J. Stroud as the starter a week ago. I’m sure he is talented or he wouldn’t be in Columbus but he is still unknown. Meanwhile, Minnesota starts Tanner Morgan who was great in 2019 but only average in 2020. However, he has experience and this is a home game. Advantage: Minnesota

Running Back: The Gophers have Big Ten running back of the year, Mohamed Ibrahim back after topping 100 yards in every game last year. The Buckeyes lost a good back in Trey Sermon and will counter with Master Teague who has 1409 career rushing yards. Advantage: Minnesota

Receivers: Ohio State is loaded at receiver with All-Big 10 returnees in Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson and tight end Jeremy Ruckert. Minnesota is not nearly as good. Advantage: Ohio State

Offensive Line: Ohio State is always good on the offensive line and will be the same in 2021 you can be assured. Minnesota isn’t bad at all and has some talent as well. Advantage: Ohio State

Defensive Line: Ohio State returns All-American defensive tackle Haskell Garrett along with a couple of other good players. Minnesota will rely on a couple of transfers to bolster their front line. Advantage: Ohio State

Linebackers: Minnesota will benefit from the return of Braelen Oliver from a torn ACL in 2020 and they use DE Boye Mafe like a linebacker. Ohio State has problems at this position as all four players who saw significant time in 2020 are gone. Advantage: Minnesota

Secondary: Ohio State returns standouts Sevyn Banks and Josh Proctor in the secondary which wasn’t great in 2020. There is improvement needed with this unit. Minnesota has a bunch of experience returning. Advantage: Neither

Coaching: Is Ryan Day a good coach or is he a great recruiter who knows how to handle great talent? I think we are going to find out the answer in 2021. But, there is no arguing his record. The Buckeyes are having to replace a bunch of talent. Minnesota has a proven coach in P.J. Fleck and he has done well wherever he has been. Advantage: Neither

The Buckeyes are 14 point favorites and it is very tempting to go against them in this game and Minnesota appears to have decent talent. Here is my problem on this game. I know Ohio State has talent but I haven’t seen it and they have a lot of unknowns at very important positions. But, they are Ohio State and Minnesota is, well, Minnesota and until proven otherwise I can’t go against the Buckeyes.

THE BET: Ohio State (-14)

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