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Ohio State Football Returns to Great Expectations and Uncertainty

Ohio State head coach Ryan Day talks to his team during their practice Ohio Stadium on October 3, 2020.
Jay Laprete
Ohio State head coach Ryan Day talks to his team during their practice Ohio Stadium on October 3, 2020.

Ohio State finally kicks off the 2020 football season tomorrow. It’s a pandemic shortened season, but also one of high expectations for the Buckeyes.

They enter the season as one of the favorites to win the national title following last season’s crushing loss in the college football playoff semifinal to Clemson.

“You’ve got a great quarterback in Justin Fields, you’ve got maybe the best offensive line in college football this year, you’ve got both veteran and young receivers, you’ve got a couple of tight ends in [Jeremy] Ruckert and Luke Farrell that could be probably be starting anywhere in the country,” says Tim May, sports reporter for Lettermen Row.

And that’s just the offensive line-up. May says the defense may be the best in the program’s history.

“When you watched that team walk out of the Woody Hayes Athletic center the day the Big Ten announced it was postponing the season til the spring, it took almost two hands to count the guys that probably wouldn’t be part of that,” May says. “And that was a team seldom seen in football walking out the door there that might not be together again when the spring starts.”

OSU is the runaway favorite to win the conference, but May says the question mark of COVID means nothing is certain.

“College football is a week-to-week experience,” he says, “For example, if Justin Fields comes down somehow, some way with COVID-19, he’s out for three weeks, he’s out for three games.”

The tight schedule, of nine games in nine weeks, leaves even less room for that sort of deviation.

“Anybody who thinks everybody is gonna play nine games—I would take the under on that if this was a betting game in Las Vegas in a sports book. There are all kinds of things that can trip a team up,” May says.

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Clare Roth is an Iowa native who now calls Ohio home. After stints talk show producing and news magazine hosting, she's found her true passion in editing others' work.