Trap games for the Buckeyes this season.
Then-unranked Penn State in 2016, unranked Iowa in 2017, there seems to be one of them every year. Ohio State is almost always considered a top-tier team in the nation, but there are always games that seemingly come out of nowhere and give the Buckeyes a hard time in the schedule.
We aren’t looking at Michigan, Penn State, TCU or even Michigan State for this one, as these are not really “trap” games, but games that are meant to be tough competition for Ohio State. No, it is those supposedly low-level, 30-point favorite matchups that COULD—emphasis on COULD—give Ohio State some trouble this season.
I will cop out and say I expect Ohio State to win all of these games I mention here. This is a stacked roster that has plenty of talent to wipe these opponents out by halftime. But, just like fans that only buy tickets to the big games, it is possible that the Buckeyes overlook some opponents, and that is where these matchups come in.
These are the three matchups I think Ohio State could get punished for if they happen to overlook them.
Home vs Indiana
2017 Record: 5-7 | Last Ohio State Matchup: L, 49-21 (2017)
The Hoosiers are the least likely of these mostly because of recent history: they haven’t defeated Ohio State since 1988. Still, this Indiana team has been no pushover, losing by single digits twice in the past six matchups. Arizona transfer quarterback Brandon Dawkins looks to give the Hoosiers a stronger leader under center, but what makes this a trap game is where Indiana comes on the schedule: the week after a road game against Penn State. The game after Penn State, you say? Doesn’t ring a bell.
Home vs Nebraska
2017 Record: 4-8 | Last Ohio State Matchup: L, 56-14 (2017)
Yes, I know the Cornhuskers have been not just destroyed, but brutally annihilated by Ohio State the last two seasons. A combined score of 118-17 over two years is a lot to overlook, but I’m doing it anyways. New head coach Scott Frost is fresh off a perfect season at Central Florida, and he is taking over a program that finished 9-4 only two years before. Ohio State has an easy few weeks before this matchup, so maybe they will be lulled into a false sense of security? I’m not reaching, you are.
Away vs Maryland
2017 Record: 4-8 | Last Ohio State Matchup: L, 62-14 (2017)
If I’m picking any game for Ohio State to get upset, it’s Maryland. The place on the schedule is there: a week after a road game against Michigan State. The Maryland team should have a much stronger offense this year, especially in the run game. With that being said, Ohio State has had no problems with Maryland in recent years, destroying them EVEN MORE than Nebraska the last two seasons (124-17 combined score). This game is enough of a surprise to catch the Buckeyes off guard, and it makes enough sense coming off a tough week against MSU with the back-to-back road games. No upset is easy to pick, that’s what makes it an upset, but the Terrapins should be highlighted as the ultimate trap game to look for.