With Fields Back, Buckeyes Heavy Favorite In Big 10

The next college football season involves a lot of very difficult questions and a number of tension points which figure to be very hard to resolve, but in the Big Ten, one team stands above the others. It is a familiar face which still has the horses needed to run a few strides ahead of the pack.

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.

Odds To Win The Big Ten Championship In 2020
Ohio State Buckeyes -225
Michigan Wolverines +350
Penn State Nittany Lions +900
Wisconsin Badgers +900
Iowa Hawkeyes +1600
Nebraska Cornhuskers +1600
Minnesota Golden Gophers +2500
Michigan State Spartans +3300
Indiana Hoosiers +4000
Illinois Fighting Illini +5000
Maryland Terrapins +5000
Northwestern Wildcats +5000
Purdue Boilermakers +5000
Rutgers Scarlet Knights +25000

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