Opinion: Agitated Buckeyes Will Steamroll College Football in 2020
After an ongoing saga that’s lasted more than a month, Big Ten football has returned from the dead. The league office announced Wednesday morning that fall competition will resume following a stretch filled with endless twists, turns, turmoil and the reconsideration of many aspects.
That means head coach Ryan Day and his Ohio State program will officially be back on the gridiron. I think the rest of the conference, and all of college football for that matter, is in real trouble. The restless Buckeyes have seemingly been locked in a cage and held hostage… but they are out.
The door has swung open for a team that was already co-favorites to win the national title before this mess. Ohio State’s 2020 roster is so ridiculously full of talent, and leadership, that Day mentioned back in early August how “as a coach, you work your whole life for the opportunity to coach a team like this.”
Day has arguably the country’s best player in star quarterback Justin Fields, a Heisman Trophy front-runner who sparked the nationally-recognized #WeWantToPlay movement. How much do you think he is motivated to play now?
Ohio State beat every Big Ten opponent by double digits last year, winning by an average margin of 33 points. Just imagine what the aggressiveness of the Buckeyes will look like if/when they have to deliver another impressive “eye test” or season resume this time around to (once again) qualify for the College Football Playoff…
The Football Parent Association at Ohio State spearheaded two protests/rallies in support of a season, an effort I’m sure their sons were both appreciative off and now eager to make worthwhile. Day and his entire coaching staff have also remained persistent of the cause through a theme of #Fight. The culture and togetherness of the program is likely as high as it’s ever been.
Prior to the initial fall cancellation, Ohio State was listed around even money by multiple sportsbooks to win the Big Ten Championship… more than four times better odds than the next challenger(s). Wyatt Davis has opted back in and, while Shaun Wade doing the same would be great, the Buckeyes will surely remain sizeable favorites either way.
Sure, nothing will be handed to them and they still have to go out and win the games. Playing every game on the schedule could end up being an interesting task, too, considering the lack of wiggle room and strict COVID-19 protocols.
A showdown with Penn State typically sees challenges, but the Nittany Lions’ best player (linebacker Micah Parsons) is currently opted out. I don’t think the nasty taste of last year’s semifinal loss to Clemson has worn off either and the Buckeyes seem due to beat Dabo Swinney’s bunch at some point, right?
Many scenarios can, and likely will, play out during a season unlike any other… especially considering the ongoing nature of this pandemic. But a perennial giant in college football has just woken up from a bad dream, and they aren’t happy.