Fall camp is about to begin which makes it the perfect time to discuss realistic expectations for Ohio State this football season.
Currently it is tough to gauge what exactly the fan base is expecting this season. The uncertainty among Buckeye Nation is warranted as the team will be trotting out a new quarterback as well as a first-year head coach.
First let’s discuss the elephant in the room.
Is Ohio State going to win the National Championship?
As much as it pains me to say this, I highly doubt it.
This isn’t saying the Buckeyes won’t be elite in 2019, but as we have seen in years past so many things need to align in order to win it all. The 2015 team was one of the best Ohio State rosters on paper and they didn’t even make the College Football Playoff. Last season the team only lost one game and was still snubbed.
As we’ve seen in years past the committee appears to look for reasons to keep Ohio State out and with a first-year coach there will surely be mistakes, therefore I find it very difficult to act like the Buckeyes are a lock for a National Championship.
But then again it seemed unlikely in 2014 and look what happened.
How will Ryan Day be as a head coach?
As previously mentioned I expect tons of mistakes this first year.
Let’s be honest Ohio State has been blessed with two great head coaches the past decade in Jim Tressel and Urban Meyer. This is not saying Ryan Day won’t be a successful coach, but finding lightning in a bottle for a third consecutive time is highly improbable.
I expect Day to run this program like a Big 12 team. A high powered offense with a shaky defense is what Buckeye Nation got a taste of last season and it is very likely this is the direction the team will be going in the foreseeable future.
How will Justin Fields perform as a quarterback?
Justin Fields enters this season with sky high expectations. Almost too unfair.
Expecting a first-year starting quarterback to dominate right out of the gate is too extreme, no matter his recruiting rank.
Fields will be successful as a starter, but Buckeye Nation will need to be patient.
I believe Fields will perform similar to how J.T. Barrett did in 2016. Something in the range of 25 touchdown passes and 10 rushing touchdowns is feasible and would be a very good year for the young quarterback.
Expecting Fields to have the season that Dwayne Haskins had in 2018 is just not realistic.
Can J.K. Dobbins win the Heisman?
Absolutely. We saw Dwayne Haskins nearly win it last season so why can’t J.K. Dobbins?
Last season the star running back got off to a slow start, split carries and had no blocking upfront and still broke the 1,000 yard barrier. Imagine what he can do this season with another offseason with Tony Alford.
I fully expect the Buckeyes to get Dobbins going in 2019 and really rely on him early until Fields can be trusted.
Dobbins could be in store for a Eddie George type of year that would easily have him in New York City for the Heisman Ceremony.
Record Prediction 10-2 (7-2)
Ohio State easily wins 10 games, but slips up twice during this brutal schedule.
Specifically they will slip up once between Nebraska, Michigan State, Northwestern and Wisconsin. That stretch is brutal and at least one loss should be expected.
The second part the team will slip up is the last two games of the year between Penn State and Michigan. Scheduling this two games back-to-back is ridiculous, but Ohio State will drop one of those.
10-2 is a solid season, but it won’t get the Buckeyes to Indianapolis nor the College Football Playoff. However, it would be a great first year for Ryan Day.