2018 Ohio State football projections on the Hour Glass
By John Luke McCord
Urban Meyer has landed Ohio State in the College Football Playoff two of the first four years of its existence. And, frankly, it’s a good bet you’ll see the Buckeyes there again in 2018. Last season as the SEC doubled up and accounted for half of the four, the Big Ten was excluded from the party. Arguably, the conference was too good to allow just one team to emerge with a worthy resume.
That’s where we’ll start for this year’s chanced for OSU. While they have the third toughest schedule in the conference, the Big Ten itself might not be as crowded at the top this season. What’s not to like about the Buckeyes? They have the conference’s top head coach and overall talent, according to Hour Glass coaching and 3-year recruiting stamps, respectively. And though Dwayne Haskins sits 10th in the league among returning QBs with an Hour Glass quarterback stamp of 3.04, there probably isn’t a more talented QB room in the league than the one Meyer has assembled. Though it’s the opinion of this writer that Haskins expands the flashes of greatness we saw from him last season, Tate Martell is also talented enough to make plays if he wins the job or earns it at some point during the year.
Whoever is named starter QB will benefit from the fact that two 1,000-yard rushers return this season. Last season JK Dobbins rushed for over 1,400 yards, while Mike Weber rushed for over a nearly 1,100 yards as a freshman in 2016. Weber was just the third Buckeye rusher to eclipse the 1,000-yard mark as a freshman. To go with those two workhorses, Antonio Williams also returns this season.
But wait there’s more! The story is the same at receiver as all seven contributors from 2017 return. KJ Hill led the way a season ago with 56 catches for 549 yards. But all seven guys caught a touchdown, and Johnnie Dixon’s eight scores led the way. Additionally, all seven guys caught for at least 220 yards, while four of them had 400+ yards receiving. All in all, it should be a loaded group this fall.
I’m sure by now you’re beginning to get the picture about just how much talent this Ohio State bunch has. Did we mention their 3-year recruiting mark is the best in the Big Ten? Oh yeah, well good to mention it again as we shift the focus to the defensive side of the ball. Nick Bosa is the headliner here after tallying 8.5 sacks and 16 tackles for loss last season. He was just one of many Buckeye defenders who lived in the backfield in 2017, as Ohio State was tied as the nation’s best in that category.
Some of those faces are gone, but many new household names will emerge this season. Up front, Jashon Cornell is moving from inside to the edge, which will balance the depth among interior linemen and defensive ends. At linebacker, Dante Booker is back and there’s plenty of young talent bursting at the seems. Baron Browning and Justin Hilliard are two guys to watch for at this spot. In the secondary it gets even better with guys like Jeffrey Okudah, Jordan Fuller, Kendall Sheffield among others.
HG analytics pick: 13-0, Big Ten Champion (over Iowa) and #3 seed in CFP
My pick: 12-1, Big Ten Champion (over Iowa)
2017 Ohio State Results on the Hour Glass - Projection: 12-0; Actual Finish 10-2 (83 Percent Accuracy)
Hour Glass National Recruiting Ranking: 1st – Inside our Realistic College Football National Champion Line on our talent index.
National Coaching Rank for Urban Meyer on HG Scale: 3rd (Urban Meyer Stamp at 33) – Average coaching value for 2018 set at 3.75.
Returning Ohio State quarterback play rated 50th in the country out of 130 teams. Average quarterback stamp nationally for 2018 is 8.3. Ohio State has a stamp of 3.04.