Can Ohio State Go All the Way?
Ohio State have had an incredible season so far in the Big Ten, currently sitting on an unbeaten record of 10-0. The offense has been impregnable this season, leading the nation in points per game with a 46.8 average. Their penchant for scoring was no more obvious than when they put up 77 points against Toledo early in the year, conceding just 10.
It is not just the offense where they have prevailed, and their secondary is extremely strong. They have quality all over the field and it is no surprise that they have kept their unbeaten record up to now.
They are not the only unbeaten team in the conference however with Michigan mirroring their record right now. They welcome the Wolverines in their final regular season game with both records on the line, though the Buckeyes are highly fancied to take home the W.
With so much quality on the field, lets take a look at their best players.
Probably the most obvious pick is the arguable QB1 CJ stroud. The latest college football odds, click here, currently have Stroud as favorite for the Heisman Trophy and his performances in 2023 leave us in no doubt as to why. His 188.2 passer rating is the highest in the nation as well as his 34 passing touchdowns putting him joint first with Drake Maye, though Stroud has managed it in nearly 100 fewer attempts. Stroud won Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year after leading the nation’s most prolific offense in 2023 and it looks as if the Heisman is the next piece of silverware up for him as well as a possible national championship.
Marvin Harrison Jr.
Every great QB still needs good receivers (just ask Aaron Rodgers) and Stroud has a few at his disposal. Harrison has been Stroud’s number one target this season with 60 receptions, 969 yards and 11 touchdowns. His yards per reception are the highest in the league for receivers with 60+ receptions at 16.1 and in the absence of Jaxon Smith-Njigba, Harrison has been worth his weight in gold to the Buckeyes this season.
Defensive coordinator Jim Knowles has worked wonders with the Buckeyes’ defense this season. Linebacker Tommy Eichenberg is proof of just how much Knowles has improved this defense with 92 total tackles so far compared to his 64 last season. He plays at full speed consistently and has been a real asset to the defensive line this season.
Although he has been sidelined for most of the season through injury, you still cannot underestimate just how good Smith-Njigba is. He finished his sophomore season with 25 more catches and nearly 600 more receiving yards than the next-best Buckeye and was meant to be the focal point of their offense this season. Whilst it is unfortunate that his snaps have been limited, his absence is further proof of just how good Ohio State have been this year. His record is evident of his power despite injury as he compiled 5,346 career receiving yards and 82 touchdowns in 44 career games. He is truly a great asset.
Whilst the Buckeyes are in great shape to head to the college playoff, there is some fierce competition in their way. To begin with, Michigan will not roll over easily when also trying to defend their unbeaten record in the final regular season game of the season. They are 10-0 for the first time since 2006 and the winner of this game has the best shot at reaching the college playoff game.
The Tennessee Volunteers are also in great form this season having lost just one game at the hands of the unbeaten Bulldogs. Though their playoff hopes took a dent following that result, an 11-1 final record could still be enough to see them through and they have as good a chance at beating the Buckeyes’ as the rest of the hopefuls. Their unique name of ‘Volunteers’ truly standout and originated from the 1,500 troops from Tennessee that fought under General Andrew Jackson against the British at the Battle of New Orleans during the War of 1812. This monumental moment has carried its status and in the football landscape, there is plenty of bulldogs and tigers, whereas the Volunteer name stands alone. The team names serves an important identity to all players and also for the fans. In this particular season, a lot of fans are anticipating where The Tennessee Volunteers will end in the future as it seems promising.
Perhaps their biggest rival in their hunt for a national championship however is Georgia as they are fighting comfortably to repeat as national champs. The current favourites to win the title, the Bulldogs are currently top of the SEC, also on a 10-0 record. The number 1 team in the nation, the Bulldogs are certainly the main threat to Ohio if they want to win a championship this season.
Whatever happens in that final regular season game, Ohio State have definitely had a season to be proud of. However, there is no doubting that the Buckeyes’ are nowhere near ready to take their foot off the gas and the job is far from done. The inclusion of Smith-Njigba in any further games would be a huge boost to their chances though even with their injury list growing they have not been able to stop winning. Now that winter is approaching, it is the most appropriate time to sit indoors and stream the entertainment of this game to support your favourites and watch the seasonal highlights to come to a conclusion on what factors you think makes an outstanding player in every season.
After such a rip-roaring success of a season there is no reason to believe that Ohio State cannot go all the way. With the forever-changing landscape of football and sport, champs are harder to predict and with every team doing so well this season with stars being players, it deems even more exciting for us viewers.