Ohio State Early Favorite To To Win The Big Ten In 2020
With the Michigan Wolverines bumbling and the Penn State Nittany Lions, Wisconsin Badgers and Iowa Hawkeyes as being viewed as a step behind, the Ohio State Buckeyes will enter the 2020 college football season as the favorites to win the conference. Are they the best bet or is there value with another team? Let’s take a closer look at the Big Ten odds:
FAVORITE: OHIO STATE
When Justin Fields decided to come back for one more season at quarterback instead of making the early jump to the NFL, Ohio State cemented its status as Big Ten favorite for the upcoming season. Fields threw just one interception in the 2019 regular season. He scored 51 total touchdowns – 41 passing, 10 rushing – and now comes back for another season. He was a monster last year and should be just as good if not better this year. Remember: Fields played with an injury in the Big Ten Championship Game against Wisconsin and still led his team to a come-from-behind victory. He wasn’t 100 percent against Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Fiesta Bowl and yet came within an eyelash of leading a game-winning drive in the final minutes.
Ohio State’s offense has very few question marks with Fields leading the charge. The Buckeyes have more team speed than any other team in the Big Ten. This is something which has been true for several years, and until another Big Ten team proves it can overtake the Buckeyes, OSU is likely to win another Big Ten title. The Buckeyes have won the last three, and no one should bet against them in their pursuit of a fourth straight league crown.
TOP CONTENDER TO THE FAVORITE: PENN STATE
The Wisconsin Badgers are likely to win the Big Ten West Division and become the final obstacle to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship Game, but the biggest obstacle for the Buckeyes doesn’t have to come from the other division of the Big Ten. If you look at recent Big Ten history, Penn State – in the Big Ten East – has been OSU’s biggest hurdle.
The Nittany Lions beat Ohio State in 2016 and won the last Big Ten title by a non-Ohio State team. Ohio State trailed by a large margin but came from behind to beat Penn State by one point in 2017, winning the Big Ten title. Ohio State came from behind again to beat Penn State by a small margin in 2018. In 2019, the margin was much bigger. Ohio State jumped out to a 21-0 lead and beat PSU by 11. This season, though, Ohio State has to play Penn State on the road. It is not an easy assignment to win in Happy Valley, so if OSU’s Big Ten reign is going to be broken, only one team has an especially good shot: the Nittany Lions.
LONG SHOT: MICHIGAN
The truth hurts, but it’s real: Michigan simply does not exist on the same plane as Ohio State. The Buckeyes are leagues better than the Wolverines. Penn State has done a much better job of playing Ohio State tough the past three years than Michigan has.
The Wolverines might pull off a rivalry game surprise, but it would be a huge upset. Michigan has not been able to match Ohio State’s athleticism or playmaking skill. The ball would have to bounce in the right direction for 60 whole minutes if UM is to have any shot versus the Buckeyes.
BIG TEN 2020 ODDS
Ohio State -240
Penn State +600
Michigan State +5000