As the final part of our Indiana Football week one preview, it’s time to take a look at how the game may unfold. With an entire summer ahead, there are still plenty of questions surrounding each team, but that doesn’t mean it’s too early for some “Way-too-early Game Predictions.”
Eddie Cotton: If Indiana was going to upset Ohio State in any week of the season, I emphatically believe the best opportunity to pull that off would be in week one. Indiana has to be able to catch a team of this talent level off-guard, and that means coming out guns a blazing on week one. Ohio State will be reliant upon many new starters and an almost completely new secondary. This leaves what could be one of the best wide receiver groups in the Big Ten, the opportunity to do something special.
Last year when these two teams played, J.T. Barrett wasn’t exactly exceptional through the air, and the difference maker for Ohio State was its running game. I don’t expect much to change this time around. Mike Weber will lead this Ohio State offense and the passing game will lead Indiana offensively. I wouldn’t be surprised with a high scoring back and forth based on these two main strengths.
Ultimately, I think the end result will be determined by the new coaches. Kevin Wilson in his first game at Ohio State will have to throw in a few new wrinkles to get by his old team. On the other side of the field, Tom Allen is going to have to learn quite quickly how to be a head coach in the Big Ten.
Give me Ohio State 34, Indiana 24
Ben Raphel: I hate everything about this matchup.
I hate how Kevin Wilson’s firing went down immediately after reaching a second straight bowl game for the first time in 25 years, and how no real explanation was ever given for why it happened.
I hate the culture of fear and mistreatment that transpired around Wilson and IU players during his tenure, as detailed in a recent Outside the Lines report.
I hate that as an out-of-state IU alum, I’d have to take at least two vacation days to go to this game and have to rush through tailgating on a Thursday night instead of the game being on a beautiful Saturday afternoon on a holiday weekend in early September.
I hate that Wilson was allowed to walk to not only another team in Indiana’s division, but also that Ohio State fans seem to not be concerned at all about what happened under his watch at IU. (Well, I guess when you already employ Urban Meyer and Greg Schiano, what’s another coach who’s had questionable dealings with players going to matter?)
And most of all, I hate that IU is going to get whooped in this game and there are going to be a lot of Hot Takes the next day about the Coaching Change (which, now that more details have surfaced, probably needed to happen).
THE Ohio State 40, Indiana 15
Jack Grossman: Unlike Eddie, I absolutely do not like that Indiana opens with Ohio State week 1, and a lot of it has to do with the Kevin Wilson factor. Wilson left Indiana on, lets call it interesting terms, and I’m sure that there is nothing more Wilson would like to do than to smack his former team in his first game with his new gig.
Plus there’s also the factor that Wilson knows Indiana’s personnel inside and out, having recruited and/or coached pretty much everyone on the current IU roster. Don’t be surprised when Urban Meyer, who lets not forget is one of the best coaches in college football, uses Wilson to his full advantage.
While the Buckeyes themselves may have a few kinks to kick out, they will be fresh and ready, and motivated as ever, to try to start their season off on the right foot. As everyone remembers, the last time Ohio State saw the field was on New Years Eve when the Buckeyes got destroyed 38 zip against eventual champion Clemson. Look for the Buckeyes to be hungrier than they have been in past match ups against Indiana and maybe not overlook the Hoosiers as much as they have in recent years, as they try to remove the rest of salty taste in their mouths from the Clemson blowout.
Kevin Wilson will walk in, get rounds of applause from the 10,000+ Buckeye fans in attendance at Memorial Stadium and walk out with a large margin of victory.
Ohio State: 52 Indiana: 14
Kyle Swick: Ohio State is a lot better than Indiana and has been for [checks watch] basically always and that will be no different with this upcoming season. THAT SAID it’s a Week 1 game, crazy things happen in Week 1 (right?!) and Indiana has come so so close in recent history to nabbing a signature win over Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes. Unfortunately, the common denominator in each of those almost-wins now runs the offensive meeting room in Columbus.
Maybe Kevin Wilson doesn’t have the engine running all that smoothly this early on, maybe it won’t matter. I would expect Indiana’s defense to be up to the task (that’s a crazy thing to type) and if the Hoosiers can make good on the very few breaks they’ll get, we could looking at a monumental upset.
That said, we know how the script will go. It’s Indiana. They’ll have the lead in the 4th quarter, but the Buckeyes will take it away just in time.
Ohio State: 23, Indiana: 19
Jacob Rude: What’s the off-season without blind optimism?
Ohio State is entering the year with a ton of questions. The entire secondary is new. Their leads on defense are gone. Their offensive line is replacing its lone stalwart. Their best offensive weapon is gone. Their learning a new offense.
On the other side, the Hoosier offense is largely the same, specifically at wide receiver where they can take advantage of an inexperienced Buckeye defense. The defense is nearly entirely back and held its own against OSU last season.
On top of that, Indiana has played Ohio State close many times in recent seasons. Painstakingly close.
Right or wrong, the Wilson departure and subsequent hire in Columbus is something that will have the fans and the players hyped up. Under the lights, team hyped up, one of the best defenses in the conference. Tegray Scales starts his Jabril Peppers-esque Heisman case with a huge game.
Indiana 27, Ohio State 21
Sean Mintert: As a big supporter of completely unfounded optimism, I have a firm belief that Indiana will give the Buckeyes all they can handle in this game. I’m holding out hope that Richard Lagow will make massive strides in his second season under center, and will be able to showcase the arm talent that had Hoosier fans excited for his arrival last fall. Having Simmie Cobbs leading the receiving corps won’t hurt either, and those two could become a deadly combination against Ohio State’s relatively inexperienced secondary.
Indiana’s defense, while losing some key players such as linebacker Marcus Oliver and defensive tackle Ralph Green, should still be a pretty nasty unit and can hold their own against the Buckeye offense. Tegray Scales is set to continue his second season as the best linebacker in the Big Ten and now that Jabrill Peppers has gone to greener pastures (?) in Cleveland, he might even be rewarded for it. An experienced secondary, led by Rashard Fant and Chris Covington, will also be able to cause problems for Ohio State’s receivers and give quarterback J.T. Barrett some headaches.
I’m very excited to see the eyes of the college football world turn to Bloomington for a night, even if it is a stupid Thursday night game. The Hoosiers should come out fired up, especially since old head coach Kevin Wilson is now roaming the sidelines next to Urban Meyer at Ohio State. I’m looking for big games from Richard Lagow and Simmie Cobbs, while Rashard Fant will make his fair share of big plays on the defensive end.
Indiana 31, Ohio State 17
Michael Tilka: Like Jacob and Sean before, give me taste of that optimism kool-aid.
This game culminates to a perfect storm of sorts for IU to pull off the victory. First conference game of the entire Big Ten, Thursday night, new head coach, old head coach returning, and one word, breakthrough.
After evaluating the talent lost by this Ohio State team, one red flag shows in their scheme against IU. That red flag is in their secondary, where the Buckeyes not only lost three starters, but three first round draft picks as well. Sure, a program like Ohio St. should have great replacements, but replacing all of that in one fell swoop is unprecedented, even for the Buckeyes.
To add to that, IU is packing a power duo called Simmie Cobbs Jr. and Nick Westbrook at the wide receiver positions. However, I’m still concerned about Richard Lagow’s accuracy issues getting the ball to them.
Finally, has everyone seem to forget the fact that Ohio St. got shut out by Clemson on New Year’s Eve? Granted, Clemson is phenomenal, but come on if Ohio St. was really that good then they wouldn’t have been shutout.
With all that said, I’m going to show respect to Ohio St. but give the Hoosiers a 1-0 start.
Final Score: IU 20, OSU 17.