Five Early Thoughts on Ohio State’s 2022 Football Schedule

If Ohio State is to return to the Big Ten Championship Game and College Football Playoffs, it will have to win many tough games along the way.

An updated 2022 football schedule was released by the Big Ten on Wednesday, and the changes appear to be mostly in favor of the Buckeyes. Most notably, the state of Ohio will no longer have to make back-to-back trips to Michigan and Penn State as the Buckeyes’ game against the Spartans has been postponed to October 8 while the clash with the Nittany Lions will now be played on October 29.

2022 Ohio State Football Schedule

DATED

OPPONENT

PREVIOUS ADVERSARY

SAM, SEP. 3

OUR LADY

OUR LADY

SAM, SEP. ten

STATE OF ARKANSAS

STATE OF ARKANSAS

SAM, SEP. 17

Toledo

Toledo

SAM, SEP. 24

WISCONSIN

IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

SAM, OCT. 1

RUTGERS

in PENN STATE

SAM, OCT. 8

IN THE STATE OF MICHIGAN

RUTGERS

SAM, OCT. 15

DISABLED

IOWA

SAM, OCT. 22

IOWA

DISABLED

SAM, OCT. 29

in PENN STATE

INDIANA

SAM, NOV. 5

to the northwest

to the northwest

SAT. NOV. 12

INDIANA

WISCONSIN

SAM, NOV. 19

at MARYLAND

at MARYLAND

SAM, NOV. 26

MICHIGAN

MICHIGAN

That said, Ohio State will still face the same opponents it was scheduled to play before Wednesday’s update, and that leaves plenty of potential tests in the way for the Buckeyes, including an opener against a likely team from the. pre-season top 10 at Notre Dame, a full roster of Big Ten East opponents and games against what could be the Big Ten West’s top two teams.

Now that the actual Ohio State schedule for the 2022 season has been finalized, it’s time to take a closer look at where the new schedule could benefit the Buckeyes and where the potential pitfalls for the Championship hopefuls might lie. of Ohio State.

home Sweet Home

The first thing that jumps onscreen when looking at Ohio State’s new schedule is the five-game homestand the Buckeyes will start their season with. This will be the first time since 2003 that Ohio State has opened its season by playing five straight games at home.

This will be the first time since 2012 that Ohio State has played eight home games at Ohio Stadium in a single season, giving the Buckeyes the advantage of having only four road games to play this year. (Conversely, Ohio State will play six home games and six road games in 2023).

If Ohio State had the chance to create an ideal schedule for itself, it would likely choose to play one of its road games in September rather than having to play four of its last seven road games. The Buckeyes will not be road tested until they play at Michigan State on October 8, and they will have to play three road games in four weeks when they play at Penn State on October 29, Northwestern on November 5. and Maryland on November 19.

Given that they’ll be breaking through Ohio’s new stadium turf by playing two-thirds of their games in front of their home crowd, the Buckeyes can’t complain.

Big games throughout the program

For Ohio State fans, the best part of the 2022 schedule might be the fact that there will be some big games to look forward to at every point in the schedule.

The Sept. 3 season opener against Notre Dame will be circled on the Buckeye Nation schedules. The Big Ten schedule will begin with a highly anticipated game as the Buckeyes host Wisconsin on September 24. In early October, two teams will face off last season in the top 10 as Ohio State travels to Michigan State. Ohio State playing at Penn State just before Halloween is starting to become a tradition, as the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions play the last weekend in October for the third year in a row. And of course, everyone will be looking forward to The Game on November 26, when Michigan plays Ohio Stadium for the first time in four years.

Spreading those games over the season should be beneficial for the Buckeyes as well, as there isn’t a single part of the schedule that looks deadly. However, it also means that there won’t be a long stretch of easy wins for the Buckeyes which means they will have to play at a high level at the start, middle and end of the season.

Difficult crosses

After playing for Nebraska in each of the past six seasons, Ohio State will face Wisconsin in their protected cross-play for the next four seasons, which will represent a step forward in inter-divisional competition. While Nebraska finished with a record losing streak in the last five of those six seasons, Wisconsin finished with a record winning streak in their last 20 seasons, and the Badgers typically play against the Buckeyes – although l Ohio State has won the last eight meetings.

Ohio State will also host the defending Big Ten West champions in 2022 as Iowa comes to Columbus on October 22. The Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes when they last met in 2017, and the Hawkeyes and Badgers are included in most of the top-25s. projections, so there’s a good chance Ohio State will end up facing the top two teams in the West Division.

If recent trends are any indication, the northwest could also be a sleeper to watch in the west. The Wildcats have alternated between making the Big Ten Championship game and finishing 3-9 for each of the past four years, so they shouldn’t be written off despite a declining year in 2021, and the Buckeyes will have to play them in the second leg of their only back-to-back touring streak of the year.

Graham Mertz, Chez Mellusi and the Wisconsin Badgers will arrive in Columbus in 2022. (Photo: Robert Goddin – USA TODAY Sports)

A farewell week at the right time? May be

For the second year in a row, Ohio State’s only regular-season rest week will come smack in the middle of the schedule, as the Buckeyes play six games before their week off and six more regular-season games after.

On paper, this should be a good time to have a week off, as it splits the season into two halves and gives the Buckeyes the chance to rest, regroup and get healthy in between. It also shatters what appears to be the most intimidating streak of the season, as the Buckeyes are set to face Michigan State, Iowa and Penn State in three straight games.

That said, it sets the Buckeyes up for another second-half challenge like last season, as they’ll have to play six Big Ten games in six weeks, which would become seven conference contests in seven weeks if they pass the game. Big Ten Championship. . Ohio State might have been better suited to having his bye a week later – when it was originally meant to be – as it would have given the Buckeyes an extra week to prepare for their road trip to Penn State, which will be now sandwiched by the Iowa and Northwestern games.

Don’t fall into the November trap

Once the Ohio State / Penn State game is on the books and the schedule changes to November, the anticipation for the game will grow rapidly. If there has ever been a year that Ohio State will be tempted to start looking at Michigan early, it will be this one, as the Buckeyes will be hungry to avenge last year’s loss to Ann Arbor.

The schedule leading up to The Game looks easier than last year, when the Buckeyes faced Michigan State a week before Michigan, and in 2019, when the Buckeyes faced Penn State in their penultimate game of the regular season.

But this is where the threat of a trap game could come in.

Northwestern played Ohio State tough when they last met in the 2020 Big Ten Championship game, and the Buckeyes will need to be on their toes against a post-Penn State disappointment. Indiana lost all the momentum it had around that time a year ago with a 2-10 season in 2021, but the Hoosiers scared the Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium two years ago. Maryland are planning to have the Big Ten’s second-best passing offense with Taulia Tagovailoa throwing at Rakim Jarrett, Dontay Demus and Jacob Copeland, and the Terrapins took Ohio State in overtime the last time they hosted the Buckeyes in 2018, when Ohio State flew to Maryland just a week before playing in Michigan as they will this year.

On paper, that should be three of the four easiest conference games of the season for Ohio State, as well as its Oct. 1 game against Rutgers. But these are still not games the Buckeyes can afford to ignore altogether.

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