Ohio State 2020 Football Schedule: Predictions for Buckeyes' Season Matchups

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2020

FILE - In this Dec. 28, 2019, file photo, Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields throws a pass against Clemson during the first half of the Fiesta Bowl NCAA college football playoff semifinal, in Glendale, Ariz. Clemson is preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020, a poll featuring nine Big Ten and Pac-12 teams that gives a glimpse at what’s already been taken from an uncertain college football fall by the pandemic. Ohio State was a close No. 2. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri, File)
Rick Scuteri/Associated Press

The Big Ten announced the 2020 schedule for each of its 14 football teams Saturday, including the reigning league champion Ohio State Buckeyes.

Nicole Auerbach of The Athletic tweeted a look at the full Big Ten slate:

Here is a rundown of predictions for each of Ohio State's scheduled games:

  • Oct. 24 vs. Nebraska: Win
  • Oct. 31 at Penn State: Win
  • Nov. 7 vs. Rutgers: Win
  • Nov. 14 at Maryland: Win
  • Nov. 21 vs. Indiana: Win
  • Nov. 28 at Illinois: Win
  • Dec. 5 at Michigan State: Win
  • Dec. 12 vs. Michigan: Win
  • Dec. 19 Big Ten Championship vs. Wisconsin (Projected): Win

The Big Ten presidents and chancellors initially voted against holding their 2020 season in the fall because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they voted again this week and reversed course when they became satisfied with testing and safety protocols.

With that decision, the Big Ten ensured its teams will be eligible for the College Football Playoff and that they can play a conference title game on Dec. 19.

All Big Ten teams will play their first game Oct. 24, and Ohio State promises to be a heavy favorite against a Nebraska squad that went a disappointing 5-7 last season.

In fact, the Buckeyes' schedule is favorable since only four of their eight opponents had a winning record in 2019.

Nebraska, Rutgers, Maryland, Indiana and Illinois should all be penciled in as wins for Ohio State. The only major challenge early in the season is the Buckeyes' Halloween road clash against Penn State on Oct. 31.

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The Nittany Lions finished second to OSU in the Big Ten East last season with a 7-2 conference mark, but with quarterback and Heisman Trophy candidate Justin Fields leading the way, Ohio State should still prevail.

Ohio State's toughest stretch will come over the final few weeks when it faces Michigan State on the road and Michigan at home, followed by the Big Ten Championship Game, should the team qualify.

While Michigan State has traditionally been a great program, it has finished each of the past two seasons 7-6 and doesn't possess the offensive horses needed to keep up with the Buckeyes.

Meanwhile, Michigan is Ohio State's greatest rival, and the two teams will meet in December for the first time in the 123-year history of their rivalry, per Auerbach.

The Wolverines are 0-5 under head coach Jim Harbaugh against Ohio State, and that string of futility will continue in a tough road matchup against the Buckeyes.

An undefeated regular season would earn Ohio State a spot in the Big Ten Championship Game, and the Buckeyes will be huge favorites regardless of who contests them. Assuming OSU goes undefeated as predicted, it will return to the College Football Playoff in 2020.