As the 2020 Big Ten season began a few weeks ago, most pundits and fans around the conference felt Ohio State would be the best team in the conference. Through the first two weeks of the season, a lot of people are looking smart. Ohio State trounced Nebraska in the opening week and followed it up with a relatively comfortable win on the road last week against the team many saw as its stiffest competition, Penn State.
This week the Buckeyes play a Rutgers team that has already exceeded expectations in 2020 simply because nobody had any. The Knights came into 2020 riding a 21-game conference losing streak and snapped it in the opener against Michigan State. They enter this game as more than a five-touchdown underdog hopeful of shocking the world.
And it would be quite a shock. Since joining the Big Ten in 2014, Rutgers has played Ohio State six times. It’s lost all six games, and they have not been close. The average margin of victory for the Buckeyes has been 46.5 points. Perhaps if there’s any good news for Rutgers, it’s that last year’s 35-point loss was the narrowest margin yet. Odds via William Hill Sportsbook
Ohio State: Considering that the Buckeyes beat Penn State last week, and Michigan lost to Michigan State, it’s beginning to look as though the only threats remaining to the Buckeyes this season are themselves and the pandemic. Considering the abnormal conditions in which Big Ten teams had to prepare for the season and the delayed start, it was natural to think teams would look rusty and out of sorts to start the season. Some have, but Ohio State’s come out firing on all cylinders. Justin Fields has only played two games, and he’s already solidifying his Heisman candidacy. Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave have established themselves as one of the best receiving tandems in the country, and the Buckeyes defense has shown that, despite departures from last year’s squad, it’s still one of the more formidable units in the country. Ryan Day inherited a machine from Urban Meyer, and he’s fine-tuned it since.