Ohio St. (-15-) at Illinois NOON ET ABC TV
The Ohio St. Buckeyes travel to face the Fighting Illini for this Noon ET kick in Champaign, IL. When these teams met last season, Ohio St. won (55-14) handily outgaining the Illini. The previous years’ scores in reverse order are 60-35 and 52-22. That means in the last 3 seasons the average score has been 56-24. Some may note the “momentum home dog with revenge” theory after the Illini whipped a battered, bruised and incompetent Purdue team (48-14), outrushing the Boilers 382-89 for their 5th win. But, the Illini have far better chances to get that all important 6thvictory against Minnesota and Northwestern in the next weeks than today. As you will read below, Ohio St. has equal, if not more, motivation.
The Illini fired HC Tim Beckman at the start of the season, replacing him with OC Cubit. Results have been relatively rewarding, considering that under Beckman the Illini had just 12 wins in 3 seasons. Five wins would seem to be a monster season, until one considers that the victories came against Kent St., W. Illinois, Mid-Tenn St. and last week’s towel-tosser Purdue. When stepping up in class, the Illini losses have been by such margins as a 48-14 loss at N. Carolina and a 39-0 loss at Penn St. Give credit to them for losing by ONLY 9 and 11 points to Iowa and Wisconsin, teams who have not won by margins this season! Today, they face a very focused Ohio St. team.
Defending Champion, Ohio St., has received little respect from the pollsters. Despite entering undefeated at 9-0 SU, they are just 3-6 ATS with a (-27) AFP. The “eye test” has not been good enough to impress those who are ranking the teams. Their break from the gate was certainly lethargic with a 1-4 ATS mark. But, in the last 4 weeks, they have begun to turn things around with more defensive intensity and focus on the offensive end. The last 3 games against Penn St., Rutgers and Minnesota (not unlike this Illini team), Ohio St. has allowed a total of only 31 points. In the previous 3 games with JT Barrett at the controls (1 game suspension last week), Ohio St. scored 49, 38, 49 in victories over Maryland, Penn St. and Rutgers. There is little doubt that Ohio St. HC Meyer has been saving his best for last. That would be games in the next 2 weeks against Michigan St. and Michigan. But after last week’s lethargic (28-14) victory against Minnesota with QB Jones at the control, there can be little doubt that Meyer and the Buckeyes leave nothing in the bag, as they unleash a hungry QB Barrett, along with RB Elliott and RB/WR Miller in a resounding victory resembling the previous 3 romps over today’s opponent.