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How Ohio State Is Predicted To Fare In Its First Game Of The Season

Ohio State football players celebrating.

GLENDALE, AZ - DECEMBER 31: Damon Webb #7 of the Ohio State Buckeyes and Malik Hooker #24 react during the first half of the 2016 PlayStation Fiesta Bowl against the Clemson Tigers at University of Phoenix Stadium on December 31, 2016 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Jennifer Stewart/Getty Images)

A year ago, the Ohio State Buckeyes finished with a 12-2 record that included a Big Ten title and a Cotton Bowl victory over USC. But the Bucks didn't qualify for the College Football Playoff - mostly because of a loss to Iowa - and therefore didn't accomplish every goal they set out to.

In 2018, of course, expectations are high, yet again. The Buckeyes will be replacing quarterback J.T. Barrett - most likely with Dwayne Haskins - but they're still one of the favorites to play for it all in January.

Their schedule features some tough games - including TCU, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan. But the Bucks should get off to a decent start. Ohio State will take on Oregon State, a Pac-12 cellar dweller, in its first game of the season.

ESPN, right now, is giving Ohio State a 98.8% chance to prevail in the contest. Ohio State enters the season with an FPI rank of No. 4, while Oregon State comes in at No. 98.

As noted, a few of Ohio State's games are projected to be much closer. ESPN thinks that Ohio State's game at Penn State - in late September - will be close. Ohio State is given a 51.8% chance to win that one.

The other close game, obviously, is Michigan. The Buckeyes are given a 71% chance to beat the Wolverines at home.

No, these projects are never spot-on. ESPN did not have Ohio State losing to Iowa last season. That said, Oregon State probably won't prove to be much of a challenge in week one.