Hey Ohio State football fans, we are only about three weeks away from the start of the 2022 schedule. You’ll be turning on your very large high-definition television or a lot less smaller device screen to watch the Buckeyes open the seal on the season vs. Notre Dame in the ‘Shoe at night.
The schedule is a fairly difficult one this fall, but there are a lot of home games against the most quality opponents to offset it all. Bottom line: Not all schedules and opponents are created equal.
We decided to tackle (pardon the pun) each game and opponent on the schedule to rank them in terms of most difficult to win. As always, feel free to get in on the conversation and tell us where you think we got it wrong.
Here is a ranking from easiest down to most difficult to win on this season’s Ohio State football schedule.
vs. Arkansas State - Saturday, Sept. 10
Oct 7, 2021; Jonesboro, Arkansas, USA; Arkansas State Red Wolves quarterback Layne Hatcher (3) fakes the handoff to running back Lincoln Pare (22) at Centennial Bank Stadium. Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports
Let’s be honest, this is a big-time mismatch on paper, and Ohio State shouldn’t have any problem taking care of business as a part of the early schedule.
vs. Toledo - Saturday, Sept. 17
Sep 23, 2017; Miami Gardens, FL, USA; Toledo Rockets head coach Jason Candle looks on from the sideline in the game against the Miami Hurricanes during the second half at Hard Rock Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
MAC schools sometimes put a scare in Big Ten teams, but this one isn’t likely to go that route. The depth and athleticism of Ohio State should result in a runaway win at home.
vs. Indiana - Saturday, Nov. 12
Indiana coach Tom Allen talks to Indiana players before running onto the field against Michigan State at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Saturday, Nov. 14, 2020. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
Indiana has given Ohio State a scare on occassion in recent years, but don’t look for that to happen this year. The Hoosiers are looking for a lot of answers in a year in which they lost a lot of talent, and the game is in the ‘Shoe.
vs. Rutgers - Saturday, Oct. 1
Nov 20, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; A detailed view of the Rutgers Scarlet Knights football helmets during a warmup prior to the game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium. Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports
Rutgers may have gotten more competitive under Greg Schiano, but this year isn’t expected to be a big leap forward. Add that to the fact that the Scarlet Knights have to travel to Columbus and this one should go relatively smoothly for Ohio State.
at Northwestern - Saturday, Nov. 5
Oct 16, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald looks on in the first half against the Rutgers Scarlet Knights at Ryan Field. Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports
We seem to never know what we’re going to get with Northwestern, but it’s hard to see the Wildcats turning things around all of a sudden this year after such a challenging 2021. The only concern is that Ohio State has to travel on the road to a quirky atmosphere.
at Maryland - Saturday, Nov. 19
Dec 29, 2021; New York, NY, USA; Maryland Terrapins punt returner Tarheeb Still (right) celebrates his punt return touchdown with wide receiver Rakim Jarrett (left) in the first half during the 2021 Pinstripe Bowl against the Virginia Tech Hokies at Yankee Stadium. Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
This could be a sneaky game. It’s the week before the revenge game against Michigan and it’s later in the year on the road when the weather could be an issue. If Maryland stays healthy, it could be harder than expected on the surface.
vs. Iowa - Saturday, Oct. 22
Iowa quarterback Spencer Petras (7) stands with teammates tight end Bryce Schulte (48) and defensive back Riley Moss (33) after an NCAA college football game in the Vrbo Citrus Bowl against Kentucky, Saturday, Jan. 1, 2022, at Camping World Stadium in Orlando, Fla. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network
It’s been a while, but the last time Ohio State played Iowa, it did not go well out in the cornfields. But this one is in the ‘Shoe and will be completely different. The Hawkeyes always seem to be difficult to play with, but the Buckeyes should be able to handle business against an offensively challenged squad.
at Michigan State - Saturday, Oct. 8
Michigan State’s head coach Mel Tucker looks on during the spring football game on Saturday, April 16, 2022, at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing. Nick King/Lansing State Journal / USA TODAY NETWORK
Michigan State will be a solid ballclub, but as we saw last season, Ohio State is not a good matchup for the Spartans in terms of style of play. It’ll be another tough row to hoe for MSU, but it does get a shot to swing hard at home.
vs. Wisconsin - Saturday, Sept. 24
Nov 20, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Wisconsin Badgers linebacker Nick Herbig (19) tackles Nebraska Cornhuskers tight end Austin Allen (11) during the third quarter at Camp Randall Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports
Wisconsin always seems to have a tough defense, and that’s the expectation again in 2022. The Badgers also have a physical brand of football that the Ohio State defense struggled with last season. The game is at home, but it’s also early in the year likely before the OSU defense is at its best. This could be a donnybrook but Ohio State is the better team and should outlast
vs. Notre Dame - Saturday, Sept. 3
Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
The matchup vs. Notre damd is pegged as a top-five matchup and it might live up to the hype. We just don’t really know what to expect from both teams as they open the season, but the atmosphere will be charged in the ‘Shoe at night in front of a national television audience. Add that with OSU’s talent differential and the Buckeyes should be able to win a tough battle to start the year.
vs. Michigan - Saturday, Nov. 26
Dec 4, 2021; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Michigan Wolverines offensive line coach Sherrone Moore (left), head coach Jim Harbaugh (center), and special teams coordinator Jay Harbaugh against the Iowa Hawkeyes in the Big Ten Conference championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Part of me thinks Ohio State is going to lay the wood to Michigan after hearing all the talk and braggadocious attitude Wolverine players, coaches, and fans have done since the maize and blue’s first win in the series in nearly a decade. Still, it’s OSU vs. Michigan and there seems to finally be a big emphasis put on this game by Jim Harbaugh. Look for the Buckeyes to play with emotion and physicality to seal this one at home, however.
at Penn State - Saturday, Oct. 29
Apr 13, 2019; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin leads his team to the field prior to the Blue-White spring game at Beaver Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Matthew O’Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Not many are with me on this, but I truly believe the contest at Penn State will be the toughest game to win on Ohio State’s schedule this year. Sure, it’s not a whiteout in the dark of night this time around, but playing in front of 100K plus on the road in Happy Valley is never a delight. Penn State has a veteran quarterback and the best skill position players in the league not wearing scarlet and gray. Queue up the theatrical music.
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