We are now into the top 5 teams in the nation and these are the best of the best likely BCS contendors. Here is team #2 and the 2010 Ohio State Buckeyes Football Preview.
No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
2009 record: 11-2
2009 Bowl Game: 26-17 win over Oregon in Rose Bowl
2009 ATS: 9-4
Returning starters: 15 (9 on offense, 6 on defense)
The offense returns nine starters and looks dangerous. Quarterback Terelle Pryor is a true dual threat, and showed what he can do in the Buckeyes’ Rose Bowl victory over the Ducks. He has problems taking care of the ball at times, but if he can play the way he played in the Rose Bowl, he is one of the more dangerous signal callers in the country.
Pryor threw for 2,094 yards and 18 touchdowns last season, but also had 11 picks. He ran for 1,014 yards and scored seven touchdowns on the ground. The big quarterback had problems holding on to the football at times, which led to a high number of fumbles.
The Buckeyes return their leading receivers in DeVier Posey and Dane Sanzenbacher. This should give Pryor some consistency in the passing game, and he should benefit from that. Posey caught 60 passes for 828 yards and eight touchdowns last season. Sanzenbacher hauled in 36 balls for 570 yards and six scores.
Senior Brandon Saine was the second best rusher behind Pryor, running for 739 yards and four touchdowns at a 5.1 yard average. Dan Herron had more touchdowns than Saine, but averaged only 3.9 yards per carry.
The offensive line has struggled in protection and has allowed too many sacks. However, they got stronger in run blocking as the 2009 season went on, and they are more experienced going into the 2010 season. They have a combined 93 starts between them, and should show continuing improvement.
The defense returns six starters from 2009, but defense is historically Ohio State’s strength. Opponents averaged only 2.9 yards per rush attempt in 2009, and the Buckeyes’ front seven is trying to continue this domination.
Their most notable losses in the front seven are defensive end Thaddeus Gibson (45 tackles, 4 sacks, 9 tackles for a loss), defensive tackle Doug Worthington (42 tackles, 2 sacks, 3 tackles for a loss), and linebacker Austin Spitler (38 tackles,1 sack, 4 tackles for a loss).
However, they have a lot of talent ready to step in, and their pass rush and run stopping ability should be terrifying for opposing offenses once again. Especially the linebackers look strong, and they could be one of the best units in the nation.
The secondary loses Kurt Coleman and Anderson Russell, who combined for eight interceptions in 2009. However, their most important piece is still in place with cornerback Chimdi Chekwa. He is a strong cover corner who broke up seven passes and picked of a throw last year.
Kicker Aaron Pettrey handled most of the kicks in 2009, but he signed with the Detroit Lions after going undrafted. His replacement, Devin Barclay, got some chances last year and connected on seven of ten field goals. He mad all 12 of his extra point attempts.
Punter Jon Thoma is now working out with the Cleveland Browns and will be replaced by Ben Buchanan. The latter got four punt attempts in 2009 and didn’t disappoint. This is a small sample size, but he seems ready to step in. He averaged 42.8 yards per attempt and forced two fair catches.
The return game will have an entirely different look as Ray Small and Lamaar Thomas are gone. Jordan Hall looks like he will be the front runner for return duties.
Against the spread
The Buckeyes went 9-4 against the ncaa football odds in 2009. They were 4-2 when favored at home and 1-2 as the road favorites. They went 1-0 as the home underdog and 1-0 as the away dog. The Buckeyes went 5-3 against other teams from the Big Ten and 4-1 in non-conference games. Ohio State is 65-47-1 ATS under 10th year head coach Jim Tressel and has gone 70-54-1 ATS in the last ten years.
With all of the 31 team previews we have 2 free college football picks. Once again we are looking at a spot to play on and a spot to fade Ohio State this season.
You can bet on it
Bet on the Buckeyes at Illinois on October 2. Ohio State shut out the Fighting Illini in a 30-0 win last season. The Buckeyes are 7-0 in road games against Illinois and are looking to continue their dominance.
Favor the fade
Fade the Buckeyes at Wisconsin on October 16. I’m not saying they will lose to the Badgers, but Ohio State might not cover. The Buckeyes lost to the Badgers in 2001, 2003, and 2004, and won a close one two years ago.