Big Ten College Football Picks: Indiana Hoosiers at (2) Ohio State Buckeyes

Urban Meyer-ohio-state-2015Indiana-Ohio St
Time: 3:30 PM ET
Spread: OSU -28
Total: 59

Betting odds c/o 5dimes

The No. 2 ranked Ohio State Buckeyes return to action after a bye week, hosting Big Ten foe Indiana at 3:30 (EST) on ESPN.

The Buckeyes have hardly encountered a problem in this first half of their schedule, a typically soft part, and college football oddsmakers do not project them having any issues with the Hoosiers this week: OSU is 28-point favorites in the game which features an over/under set at ’59.’

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While OSU has played three cupcake opponents in Bowling Green, Tulsa and Rutgers, Week 3 did bring an impressive win over then-no. 14 Oklahoma. We will begin with that only meaningful game in dissecting what OSU can do as its schedule picks up in intensity following this week.

Against Oklahoma, the Buckeyes turned heavily to the ground game, rushing 48 times to its 20 pass plays. OSU got 123 yards from Mike Weber, 98 from Curtis Samuel and quarterback J.T. Barrett took it another 74 yards on his 17 carries. Samuel scored the lone rushing TD, as the Buckeyes utilized Barrett’s arm to get in the end zone. Though Barrett threw just 20 passes, 14 connected and of those four were end zone payoffs.

Noah Brown was pretty much the sole beneficiary, gaining 72 of the 152 passing yards and all four TDs. The 6’2” sophomore wide receiver had his biggest game of the season in the most meaningful one thus far, but he did catch three passes Week 1 against Bowling Green.

While OSU can likely roll through Indiana with or without him really getting going, it will be interesting to chart how Urban Meyer and company choose to call the plays this week: the ground game is a sure thing, but if Ohio State really wants to be the powerhouse it is asserting itself to be as usual, it is going to take a pretty balanced attack.

Ohio State does get 244.3 yards via the pass, but its ground game is where it is at. The Buckeyes rank No. 3 in the nation with 332.0 rushing yards per game, the largest part of what enables Meyer’s club to average 57 points per contest this season. Scoring that much makes holding opponents to just 9.3 points per game both absurd and fantastic for Buckeyes fans. But the real challenges do begin following this week when they face the toughest part of the Big Ten (all four games televised on ABC).

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Indiana has been a bit of a pleasant surprise for its fanbase. Though Week 3 did bring a loss to Wake Forest, the Hoosiers entirely redeemed themselves by knocking off a then-No. 17 (and struggling) Michigan State Spartans team last week. Indiana rallied late and won by a field goal in OT, which is about as much a momentum builder as any team could want—but Ohio State is not a team that can be rallied into by a club like Indiana necessarily.

Being four-TD underdogs is fairly illustrative of that fact—and the lack of confidence expressed by college football oddsmakers in Indiana.

Even so, Devine Redding and quarterback Richard Lagow are both good talents, and the Hoosiers should be able to get in the end zone. It just stands to reason that IU is going to have a lot of trouble with Barrett and the Buckeyes’ offense, howsoever Meyer decides to dice up the work load to his players.

In the Big Ten, it is still about Ohio State, and even Indiana’s impressive upset last week does very little to change that.

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