Ohio State stunned a lot of experts this week when the Buckeyes were revealed as the No. 1 team in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings, but it’s hard to argue that this may not be the top team in the country. The Buckeyes were rewarded by the CFP selection committee for showing dominance en route to an 8-0 start to the season, putting coach Ryan Day’s crew in prime position to compete for a national championship.
Now the challenge is going to defending that spot on the inside of the top four. Some of the toughest tests of the season still await with No. 4 Penn State coming up on Nov. 23, the regular season finale at No. 14 Michigan in Ann Arbor and then the Big Ten Championship Game. But until then, Ohio State just needs to make sure it doesn’t beat itself and get caught, starting with Saturday’s home game against unranked Maryland.
Ohio State: The Buckeyes are a complete team, ranking in the top-10 nationally in total offense, scoring offense, total defense and scoring defense. But it’s that defense, which has given up just two touchdowns over the last 12 quarters, that’s started to take headlines here in the late stages of the season. The entire unit has raised its level of play after a staff shakeup that included the addition of Jeff Hafley from the NFL as co-defensive coordinator, but the star of the defense is arguably one of the five most dominant players in college football: defensive end Chase Young.
But the story around Young changed quickly on Friday morning when Ohio State announced he would not playing in this tilt against Maryland while the school looks into “an NCAA issue” from 2018. Young’s absence won’t be a game-changing aspect to Saturday’s contest, but the looming potential that he might miss late-season contests against Penn State and Michigan will certainly be a talking point for fans in Ohio Stadium.
Maryland: It’s been a tough go for the Terps in Year 1 of the Mike Locksley era. Things got off to a great start with back-to-back to wins against Howard and Syracuse, outscoring both foes by a combined score of 142-20. Since then Maryland has lost six of seven games, with the lone win coming against Rutgers more than a month ago. Ohio State is the third straight ranked opponent on the schedule for Maryland, and after 31-point and 42-point defeats to Michigan and Minnesota, respectively, the oddsmakers have them listed as nearly six-touchdown underdogs to the top team in the country.
Date: Saturday, Nov. 9 | Time: Noon ET
Location: Ohio Stadium — Columbus, Ohio
TV: FOX | Live stream: fuboTV (Try for free)
Game prediction, picks
A 40-point spread in a divisional game is usually a principle underdog play, but Ohio State has proven to be so complete and dominant this season that it’s broken the standard systems of predictions. It’s a lot of points, sure, but I won’t be caught taking Maryland and hoping the Terps will generate enough points to cover the spread because I’m not sure they are going to score more than one touchdown on this Buckeyes defense. Pick: Ohio State (-42.5)
So what picks can you make with confidence in Week 11? And which line is way off, making it a must-back? Visit SportsLine to see which college football teams win and cover the spread, all from a proven computer model that has returned over $4,000 in profit over the past four seasons.
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