Ricky’s Big Ten Conference NCAAF pick for 2017 is the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Ohio St was #1 in the Big 10 in total offense last season and lit up the scoreboard to the tune of 39 points per game. QB JT Barrett is back for his seemingly 16th season and is one of the top-two QBs in the conference. All he did last season was throw for 24 TD passes and rush for over 800 yards. If there is a question mark on offense it is the WR group as they return nobody who had more than 20 catches in 2016. TE Marcus Baugh grabbed 24 balls.
The rushing attack should help the Buckeyes move the ball. RB Mike Weber should follow up his 1,096-yard season with a monster campaign in 2017. The offensive line will miss excellent C Pat Elfein but brings back 4/5 starters from the 2016 unit. Despite the lack of experience at WR we expect the Buckeyes to put up close to 40 points per game.
The Buckeyes have allowed around 15 points per game in both of the past two campaigns. This year they bring back 7 starters to the stop unit including almost the entire DL and LB groups. They lose last year’s leading tackler LB R McMillan (2nd Team AA) but do feature a fantastic DL that includes Tyquan Lewis (8 sacks, 10 TFL, 5 QBH, Big 10 DLPOY). We cannot remember the last time a team lost three #1 NFL draft choices in the secondary but that is precisely what the Buckeyes have to deal with in 2017. The defense might be down just a bit but we still feel they are a top-shelf unit.
This will be a test for the recruiting machine that is THE Ohio St University. The Buckeyes will need to break in a new PK and P this season (both freshmen) and that always takes some time.