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Game Preview: Ohio State Buckeyes

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Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

GAME INFO:

Who? Indiana Hoosiers (3-7 (0-6), #88 F/+) v. Ohio State Buckeyes (9-1 (6-0), #3 F/+)

Where / When? Ohio Stadium, Columbus, Ohio; Noon, Big Ten Network, IU Radio Network

Why? Conference obligations, I guess.

Vegas? INDIANA +35, 65 o/u

_______________________________________

I dunno I'm feeling oddly confident about this gam-

<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" data-partner="tweetdeck"><p>nice <a href="http://t.co/uhSUD886Ou">http://t.co/uhSUD886Ou</a> <a href="http://t.co/HouPEZpVPM">pic.twitter.com/HouPEZpVPM</a></p>&mdash; Luke Zimmermann (@lukezim) <a href="https://twitter.com/lukezim/status/535788635455770624">November 21, 2014</a></blockquote>

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Oh.

Let's revisit my preseason pick for this game, back when Nate Sudfeld was healthy and I thought Indiana would win EIGHT GAMES:

osupredict

Even with everyone healthy and my heart full of hope I couldn't pick Indiana to say within three scores of the Buckeyes. Not only is Ohio State vastly better than the Hoosiers, Indiana has never ever enjoyed any success against the Buckeyes, let alone in Columbus, at least when it comes to pigskin. Hoosiers typically fare better against Ohio State when indoors and an orange ball is involved.

Making things even more impossible for Indiana is the fact that OSU is on the precipice of a berth in the College Football Playoff, meaning Urban Meyer will keep his team laser-focused on the very achievable goal that looked dead in the water after a hapless home loss to Virginia Tech. If Urbs thinks he can hang a hundo on Indiana, he might just do it, unfortunately.

Hey, the Buckeyes lost their starting QB just like we did!

You're right! J.T. Barrett stepped in for Braxton Miller and has collected 38 total touchdowns this season. Zander Diamont stepped in for Nate Sudfeld and has collected 38 total completions this season. This is a terrific illustration of the difference between programs at the top of the power conferences and those at the bottom. When Indiana is at their best, they might be able to match up somewhat with OSU's first string, but it's the depth that separates them. Indiana, and similar programs, don't have the luxury of having a top-ranked player ready to step in if the starter gets hurt.

Ohio State is an institution, a successful program that has enjoyed being at or near the top of the collegiate football world for decades and the quality of recruits they bring in reflect that. Indiana has some quality players, but the recruits they bring in typically aren't ready-made for B1G football and have to spend a year or two developing in the system before they can be counted on to make an impact. Zander Diamont is a talented football player, but it doesn't take an expert to see he needs to spend more time just getting up to Big Ten size. JT Barrett was 6'1", 209 in high school, or, as I like to put it: roughly the size Tevin Coleman is as a junior in college.

Indiana needs to be at full-strength to have any chance of pulling a major upset. When the field general is hurt, it becomes almost impossible to hang with a squad like the Buckeyes.

Do not show me the numbers.

TOO LATE. DON'T CARE.

THE FIVE FACTORS
Efficiency (25%) Explosion (35%) Field Position (15%) Drive-Finishing (15%) Turnovers (10%)
INDIANA 40.7% (80th) 0.83 (73rd) 62nd 83rd 14.2% (46th)
OHIO STATE 52.4% (1st) 0.92 (31st) 4th 6th 15.0% (56th)

Oh, hey, look at that: Ohio State does everything well in regards to the Five Factors. They're a little pedestrian when it comes to protecting the ball but otherwise nothing short of elite. This should pair nicely with a glass of Indiana being the 96th-ranked defense. What is that old adage about an unstoppable force meeting a very easily moved object?

OSU also possesses the 11th ranked defense in the country, but only 52nd against the run! That's good news for Tevin Coleman, but it's likely the Buckeyes will focus on him and stack the box, leaving outside receivers in one-on-one matchups and daring Diamont to beat them. It's a strategy that has been employed by most of our opponents to great success. Rutgers even let Coleman run wild and won comfortably. If this, somehow, turns into a shootout with a bunch of explosive plays by Tevin Coleman, Ohio State is perfectly equipped to win that type of game as well.

Is there any way we can win this game?

If we get a snowstorm to the extreme that Buffalo had over the past couple of days and wear our all white uniforms + white helmets, we may be able to tunnel our way to the end zone a handful of times without being noticed.

I don't mean to sound so pessimistic, I'm as bummed as anyone that a season filled with so much promise turned out like this. There couldn't be two teams heading in more opposite directions right now. Hopefully our young guys can approach this game with the right mindset and learn from the great experience they can receive from playing in one of the toughest environments the Big Ten has to offer.