Ohio State football schedule and predictions takeaways:
- Ohio State faces the Minnesota Golden Gophers in Week 1 of the college football season.
- The Buckeyes’ bye is Week 7, and is set between Big Ten matchups vs. Maryland and at Indiana (Oct. 9 and Oct. 23).
- Sportsnaut predicts Ohio State will end the regular season with an 11-1 record.
The Ohio State Buckeyes haven’t lost more than twice in a season since 2011, so now that their 2021 schedule is out, chances are they’ll be in contention for the College Football Playoff once again.
Thanks to the outstanding play of quarterback Justin Fields, Ohio State earned CFP berths in each of the past two years. However, Fields is now in the NFL, so the big question is who will step up to lead the Buckeyes’ offense.
Below is a breakdown of Ohio State’s football schedule for the upcoming season, including score predictions for each game.
Ohio State football schedule predictions, roster outlook
Let’s take a look at the team’s complete 2021 schedule and make predictions for each game.
Ohio State football roster outlook
All our predictions are based on the Buckeyes starting these key players:
- QB – C.J. Stroud
- RB – Master Teague III, Miyan Williams
- WR – Chris Olave, Garrett Wilson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba
- TE – Jeremy Ruckert, Cade Stover
Redshirt freshman C.J. Stroud is the leader to take over at quarterback over Jack Miller and true frosh Kyle McCord. Stroud had a stellar performance in the spring game, and has the type of arm talent to spread the ball around to a trio of excellent receivers in Olave, Wilson and Smith-Njigba.
Week 1 – @ Minnesota Golden Gophers
|Thursday, Sept. 2||8:00 PM||FOX|
Not the easiest of openers for the Buckeyes, which is a refreshing change-up to the cupcake foes they usually begin with. Minnesota signal-caller Tanner Morgan has plenty of experience entering his third year as a starter, but has lost two receivers to the NFL in Tyler Johnson and Rashod Bateman in as many seasons. That should allow Ohio State to escape its Week 1 road trip with a win.
- Week 1 prediction: Ohio State 34, Minnesota 23
Week 2 – vs. Oregon Ducks
|Saturday, Sept. 11||12:00 PM||FOX|
- Spread: Ohio State -9.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Oregon +265; Ohio State -375
Kayvon Thibodeaux is projected to be a high first-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and should wreak havoc in the Ohio State backfield when he comes screaming in off the edge. Much of the Ducks’ fortunes hinge on Boston College transfer Anthony Brown playing quarterback at a high level. To date, he’s too inaccurate and not enough of a dual threat to pose a legitimate threat to the Buckeyes.
- Week 2 prediction: Ohio State 28, Oregon 17
Week 3 – vs. Tulsa Golden Hurricane
|Saturday, Sept. 18||3:30 PM||FS1|
Any chance Tulsa could’ve had against the Buckeyes went out the window when Zaven Collins declared for the 2021 NFL Draft. Collins went to the Arizona Cardinals as the 16th overall pick, and left a massive void in the Golden Hurricane defense. That’ll make this one a little less challenging for Ohio State than it could’ve been.
- Week 3 prediction: Ohio State 31, Tulsa 20
Week 4 – vs. Akron Zips
|Saturday, Sept. 25||TBD||TBD|
The Zips won once in the MAC last season. Their last defeat was to Buffalo by a score of 56-7, and they allowed 428 rushing yards. Imagine how much Master Teague III and the Buckeyes are going to run all over Akron in front of the home crowd.
- Week 4 prediction: Ohio State 70, Akron 0
Week 5 – @ Rutgers Scarlet Knights
|Saturday, Oct. 2||TBD||TBD|
After trailing Ohio State 35-3 at halftime last year, Rutgers made the score a little more respectable by the end at 49-27. Despite the change of venue to SHI Stadium and the reshuffled rosters on both sides of this Big Ten duel, don’t expect the scoreboard to change much.
- Week 5 prediction: Ohio State 45, Rutgers 17
Week 6 – vs. Maryland Terrapins
|Saturday, Oct. 9||TBD||TBD|
Maryland has too many disadvantages at key positions to match up well with a juggernaut like Ohio State in the Big Ten. However, Terrapins QB Taulia Tagovailoa may do enough to at least keep things interesting for a half before the Buckeyes pull away.
- Week 6 prediction: Ohio State 49, Maryland 21
WEEK 7 BYE
Week 8 – @ Indiana Hoosiers
|Saturday, Oct. 23||TBD||TBD|
- Spread: Ohio State -11 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Ohio State -420; Indiana +300
Indiana’s defense forced Justin Fields into three interceptions in the last meeting, and the Hoosiers will be out for vengeance after losing to the Buckeyes. In that 42-35 thriller, Indiana’s Michael Penix Jr. threw for 491 yards and five touchdowns. As long as Penix is right coming off a torn ACL, he gives the hosts an edge at the most important position, which should lead to an upset.
- Week 8 prediction: Indiana 35, Ohio State 31
Week 9 – vs. Penn State
|Saturday, Oct. 30||TBD||TBD|
- Spread: Ohio State -10.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Penn State +280; Ohio State -400
The Nittany Lions likely aren’t going to be a pushover. Remember, they only lost 38-25 to the Buckeyes in 2020, and started 0-5, but managed to rally for four straight wins to close the season. Coming back home will help Ohio State pull this one out, as the team shows resilience off a crushing defeat.
Week 9 prediction: Ohio State 34, Penn State 24
Week 10 – @ Nebraska Cornhuskers
|Saturday, Nov. 6||TBD||TBD|
Nebraska has been frustratingly inconsistent since Scott Frost took charge in Lincoln in 2018. All the pressure is on the Cornhuskers to deliver, and chances are, going up against such a superior adversary in the Buckeyes will show the former powerhouse just how far away they still are from returning to glory.
- Week 10 prediction: Ohio State 35, Nebraska 14
Week 11 – vs. Purdue Boilermakers
|Saturday, Nov. 13||TBD||TBD|
- Spread: Ohio State -21.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Purdue +900; Ohio State -2500
Boilermakers defensive end George Karlafitis should provide some resistance to Ohio State’s offense, but he can’t do too much on his own. It’d take an extraordinary effort by Purdue just to keep this contest competitive in Columbus. Chances are, it’s another blowout win for the Scarlet and Gray.
- Week 11 prediction: Ohio State 41, Purdue 10
Week 12 – vs. Michigan State Spartans
|Saturday, Nov. 20||TBD||TBD|
- Spread: Ohio State -27 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Michigan State +1600; Ohio State -10000
As a freshman in 2020, Spartans receiver Ricky White had a serious coming-out party with eight catches for 196 yards against Michigan. Strangely, he did little else all season for Michigan State. That hints at the underlying problems that continue to plague this program in East Lansing, so the Buckeyes should have no troubles with Sparty at home.
- Week 12 prediction: Ohio State 49, Michigan State 7
Week 13 – @ Michigan Wolverines
|Saturday, Nov. 27||TBD||TBD|
- Spread: Ohio State -13.5 (via DraftKings)
- Moneyline: Ohio State -560; Michigan +360
Michigan just gave Jim Harbaugh a sort of backhanded contract extension, cutting his base salary in half before incentives. That’s in large part because the Wolverines can’t get it done in big games, and they haven’t beaten Ohio State since 2011. Until the talent gap is closed, expect the Buckeyes’ dominance to continue.
- Week 13 prediction: Ohio State 42, Michigan 28