The return of Urban Meyer is here as Tulane will travel to Columbus to take on Ohio State in the Buckeyes’ final tune-up before Big Ten play. Tulane is just 1-2, with losses against Wake Forest and UAB, while Ohio State is riding high off their win over TCU in Texas. Ohio State will have to ensure they aren’t caught looking ahead here, as they play Penn State in a pivotal game in Happy Valley next week.
Tulane Opens Season In Disappointing Fashion
A lot of analysts had high hopes for the Green Wave this year. They were a popular pick to break out in the AAC under the leadership of head coach Willie Fritz. Fritz has managed to bring some excitement back to the program, but the results this year have been disappointing.
First, they lost an overtime heartbreaker to Wake Forest in Week 1, a game against a Power 5 opponent that they had many opportunities to win. After taking care of business against an FCS opponent, they fell to UAB last week, losing again by just one score. It’s another game the Green Wave could’ve won, as they were tied with just less than three minutes left. Tulane could very easily be 3-0, but instead enter this game at 1-2.
They returned last year’s starting quarterback, Jonathan Banks, who’s been inconsistent. He’s been able to complete a bunch of passes down the field, but has just a 48.1% completion percentage. Their ground game likely won’t get much going against OSU’s stout defensive front, so Banks will need to muster up some chunk plays.
The Return Of Urban Meyer
Perhaps the biggest storyline in college football this summer was the saga surrounding Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer. Meyer was ultimately suspended three games and will be making his return to the sidelines this week. It should be a media circus, and Meyer will need to keep his team focused with all the distractions surrounding the game.
Ohio State took care of business during his absence, going 3-0. They beat Oregon State and Rutgers by a combined 95 points, then beat TCU 40-28 away from home. That game was closer than the final score indicates, and they were nearly knocked off by TCU.
The team finally had to replace longtime starter J.T. Barrett this summer, and went with Sophomore Dwayne Haskins. Haskins has been dominant as a passer, completing over 72% of his passes and averaging an insane 9.8 yards per attempt. He should wreak havoc on this Green Wave defense, and the team should score at will. Star defensive lineman Nick Bosa, a potential 2019 number one overall pick, will miss the game, which could have a big impact on Ohio State’s defense.
The Buckeyes are:
- 4-1 ATS in their last 5 home games
- 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games after accumulating more than 450 total yards in their previous game
- Buckeyes are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games after allowing more than 450 total yards in their previous game
The Green Wave are:
- 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
- 1-4-1 ATS in their last 6 road games
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Often in these David vs. Goliath college football games, it comes down to how much the bigger school wants to score. How motivated are they to score as much as possible and make the game a huge blowout? In this case, the answer should be very. Meyer has made it clear he’s quite bitter about his suspension and will be looking to run up the score here. I expect him to make a statement and try to win by as much as possible, and I think the Buckeyes will have no problem covering the spread.
Prediction: Ohio State -35.5
Full-Game Total Pick
While I expect Ohio State to dominate, Tulane could score a couple of times. Banks has shown a willingness to push the ball down the field, and the loss of Bosa is a big blow. Ohio State did give up 31 points to Oregon State, a game in which they scored 77. It wouldn’t surprise me If OSU scored 60+ here, so Tulane could score a couple times and still easily have the Buckeyes cover with the game going well over the total.
Prediction: Over 65
Half-Time Side Pick
The most important part of this game is how the Buckeyes will look out the gate. Meyer will undoubtedly be looking to start hot and put things to rest right from the opening kickoff. Expect Ohio State to be aggressive and look to dominate the early quarters. If Tulane manages to cover, it will likely be by sneaking in the backdoor late in the game. I love the first half spread here.
Prediction: Ohio State -23.5
Half-Time Total Bet
Like I said earlier, Ohio State will score a lot of points in the first half, it’s inevitable. Ohio State could easily crack 30+ points themselves in the first half, and it will require only a score or two from Tulane to push this first half total over. Tulane has shown a willingness to be aggressive on offense that should lead them to a touchdown or two, so I like the first half over here.
Prediction: Over 39