Ohio State enters 2018 as a projected top five team and the Big Ten favorite. The Buckeyes are also once again a College Football Playoff contender.
Ohio State won the Big Ten last year but missed out on the playoff. A blowout loss at Iowa ended up doing them in.
In order to make the playoff this year, Ohio State will probably have to go at least 11-1 in the regular season and then win the Big Ten title. That’s not an easy task with a schedule that includes Penn State, Michigan and Michigan State in league play and TCU in a non-conference game.
Which of those games is the ‘most important’ for OSU? ESPN thinks it is Penn State.
ESPN released a feature today detailing the most important game for every top 25 team. Here’s why they chose the Nittany Lions for Ohio State.
No disrespect to The Game, but Ohio State-Penn State has had far more bearing on the Big Ten title race during the past decade. The game takes place much earlier this season, as Ohio State visits Happy Valley. This will be the first true road test for the Buckeyes’ new starting quarterback. Ohio State will need Nick Bosa and others to put pressure on Nittany Lions star Trace McSorley.
With the OSU-PSU tilt taking place on Sept. 29, the winner should absolutely have an early leg up on the Big Ten East race.
You can read ESPN’s entire feature here.
Ohio State opens up its 2018 season against Oregon State on Sept. 1.