The X Factor – Confidence Level 8
Season-opening games in college football can be tricky, Unlike the NFL, there is no preseason. The first time you get to smack helmets against someone other than your teammates is a game on national television. Not exactly how any coach would like their season to start. But such is life in college football. And then there is opening the season on the road in the conference, which is even more difficult.
Opening the season on the road in the Big Ten isn’t something the Ohio State football team is unfamiliar with, however. They have done so several times in the past six seasons beginning in 2017 when they traveled to Bloomington, Indiana. They also opened the 2021 season on the road at Minnesota. Then there was last year when they opened the season at home against a top 25-ranked opponent in Notre Dame, which isn’t exactly your walk in the park either.
I’m sure Ryan Day and company would much rather be playing Youngstown State at home, who is their opponent next week, but that’s not the hand the Big Ten Conference dealt the Buckeyes this season. Fortunately for Ohio State, they have done this before and have been successful in both games. Although neither was a complete blowout, and things were sketchy in the first half, their talent and depth rose to the surface by the end of the game.
I expect the same outcome this Saturday in Bloomington. This Ohio State football team is just too talented and deep for this game to be a nail-biter in the end. Yes, Indiana raided the transfer portal, and sometimes that can pay huge dividends for a program. But it can also be the kiss of death. Just ask Mel Tucker and the Michigan State Spartans.