The 5- 0 Ohio State Buckeyes are set to take on the 6-1 Northwestern Wildcats in the Big Ten championship, but the game almost feels like a formality at this point. In fact, between Ohio State dominating throughout their entire season, and the extraordinary defense they have shown, Northwestern doesn’t really seem to have much of a chance.
Ohio State seems destined for a meeting with Alabama in the College Football championship, which makes this a must-win game for them. Then again, with how the rankings work, the Buckeyes might have to win convincingly to maintain their #4 rank. That shouldn’t be much of a problem though, as Ohio State is truly one of the best teams in Football this year.
Mistakes could cost Northwestern
Starting with Northwestern, they have a tall task ahead if they want to beat the Buckeye’s, and knock them out of playoff contention. Keep in mind that this is a team that outscored their opponents 233-116 throughout this entire season. Compare that to the Wildcats that hold a scoring record of 113-79, and you will see vast differences on both sides of the ball.
Another big problem for Northwestern will be Quarterback, Peyton Ramsey, who has struggled to move the ball. As if that wasn’t a big enough problem for Northwestern heading into Saturday’s game, Ramsey also has trouble protecting the ball in crucial situations. One example of this was Northwestern’s game against Michigan State, where Ramsey threw 2 interceptions in their 29-20 loss.
Ohio State better on both sides of the ball
If nothing else, Ramsey’s turnover issues are going to make it relatively easy for Ohio State to make key defensive plays during the championship game. Justin Fields and the Buckeyes running game is going to make it difficult for the Wildcats to even get Ohio State off the field. Even if they do succeed in doing so, it won’t be without giving up key points.
In all honesty, Ohio State just looks poised to dominate in this game. Not only is this evident by their 52-12 victory of Michigan State, who Northwestern lost by 9 to, but also by just how multi-dimensional this team is on both sides of the ball. Like it or not, Ohio State is very capable of imposing their will on an opponent, which is something they do exceptionally well.
Think about it! Ohio State has put up a grand total of 46.6 points per game, 532.4 offensive yards per game, and a whopping 10.3 yards per completion. If you even begin to compare those numbers to what Northwestern has put up this season, and you once again see an enormous difference in the two teams. You could even say they are night and day to some extent.
When it comes to the betting odds for the Big Ten Championship, Ohio State is listed at –1400, and Northwestern sits at +760. As for the spread, Ohio State stands as the favorite by 20.5, which could point to a very lopsided victory. Finally, the over/under for the game is 58.5, but who knows how that will turn out when all is said and done.
While you might feel like you could make a great deal of money if Northwestern manages to win, that just isn’t a reality when you look at all the stats. What is a reality though, is Ohio State methodically moving the ball down the field, and racking up a great deal of points? Of course, the Wildcats will probably respond with a few scores of their own, but the Buckeye defense should eventually grind them down.
See Bovada for updated lines and odds.
The sad truth is that Northwestern would need several miracles to even remain competitive, and that probably isn’t going to happen. Maybe things would be different if they could find ways to force Ohio State into mistakes, but what are the chances of that happening? The feat hasn’t been accomplished all season, and only ranked teams have gotten close.
In the end, it should be beyond obvious that Ohio State is going to win this football game. They are too good not to, and Northwestern is too underwhelming of an opponent to even challenge that. Maybe it would different if Ramsey didn’t have the turnover issues he does, but he just isn’t a Quarterback capable of leading a team against Ohio State.