Ohio State vs. Indiana College Football Picks: Play Under 66.5 Because of the Buckeyes' Quarterback Questions

Willie Bee

Saturday, October 3, 2015 1:34 AM UTC

Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 1:34 AM UTC

Nearly 30 years have passed since the Buckeyes and Hoosiers met with perfect records, and we've got a preview plus a free college football pick for Ohio State's trip to Indiana.

It's been a long time since Indiana went into its clash with Ohio State undefeated. The Hoosiers almost did it in 2009-10 when they were 3-1 when meeting the Buckeyes, each time losing the week before to Michigan. You have to go back to 1988 when Indiana was 3-0-1, and two years before that in 1986 when the Hoosiers were 4-0 against an Ohio State squad.

The Ohio State Buckeyes promptly put the first loss in Indiana's card that October afternoon, and they'll be looking to do the same this Saturday when the teams meet for the first time ever as conference foes with identical 4-0 marks. Much of the country will get to see at least parts of this one with ABC and ESPN2 teaming up for the 3:30 PM (ET) boot in Bloomington.

Memorial Stadium will be packed with Indiana believers, but the sports books and bettors don't think the Hoosiers have a chance. College football odds hit the boards around -19, Buckeye backers already driving that number up to a half-tick more than three touchdowns worth of chalk. A corresponding bump to the total has also been seen, now 66½ at Bookmaker after starting at 63.


Hoosiers Set To Face Tough OSU Defense
Ohio State (4-0 straight up, 1-3 against the spread) has failed to live up to the lofty expectations from the sports books the last three weeks. After opening with a pretty impressive 42-24 win at Virginia Tech, the Buckeyes have played down to their competition, so to speak, and it almost cost them in what would have been a stunner against Northern Illinois. No disrespect to the Huskies, but Urban Meyer's offense was the only reason NIU was in that game.

You can bet that Kevin Wilson is not going to let his Indiana (4-0 SU, 2-1-1 ATS) team disrespect the defense Meyer has in Columbus. Ohio State s sixth nationally in total defense (253.3 ypg), a big part of that allowing just a little more than 130 yards per game through the air (8th).  Most of that is set up by a pass rush tied for sixth with 14 sacks so far.

It sets up the immovable object vs. unstoppable force with the Hoosiers rated 18th grinding out more than 520 yards per game of O. It's a well-balanced group that is top-30 in scoring, rushing, passing as well as total offense, but they haven't faced a top-tier team, much less defense, in winning their first four. The pressure is definitely on the offensive line to give senior QB Nate Sudfield time to throw while also opening holes for Jordan Howard to run through. Howard leads the nation in total yards rushing (675) and is second behind LSU's Leornard Fournette averaging close to 170 per game.


Can Buckeyes Find Their QB This Week?
The real pressure this game should be on whoever is at quarterback for Ohio State and the Indiana defense. Both have been awful so far this year, starting with a Hoosiers stop unit that is allowing almost 499 yards per game, right down near the bottom, and next-to-last in the passing column (360.5 ypg)

Now, can either Cardale Jones or JT Barrett exploit Indiana's secondary? You've got to think they can though neither has shown the ability to do so. Ohio State is in the bottom third of the country in red-zone scoring, partly because of six TDs on plays longer than 37 yards and partly because of turnovers down deep.

Morning showers are in the Bloomington forecast for Saturday, temps barely making it out of the 50s and some wind conditions for college football bettors to think about before going to the window. The wind is projected to be in the 15-20 mph range out of the northeast, so heading into the north end zone in the fourth quarter could affect field goal attempts.

I can easily see Ohio State coming to life and wiping out Indiana with a lopsided score, but for my free college football pick, I'm going with the final never reaching the total.

College Football Pick: Ohio State-Indiana Under 66.5 at Bookmaker

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