Ohio State’s playoff hopes currently have a pulse, but before the team can hope for outside help, they must take care of business.
Last week the team did just that, dismantling No. 12 Michigan State 48-3.
Now the team must keep the ball rolling against Illinois, arguably the worst team in the Big Ten.
The Illibuck Trophy is the second oldest in the Big Ten conference behind the Little Brown Jug. Unfortunately, due to conference realignment, Ohio State and Illinois do not play every season as they are separated by the East Division and West Division.
This year, Ohio State is opening as a 41-point favorite at home and should easily roll through the Fighting Illini, who have lost eight games in a row.
There is no nice way to put it—the Illinois offense is dreadful. The team is currently No. 123 out of 129 teams in scoring offense, averaging a pedestrian 16.4 points per game.
Unless the ghost of former Illinois legend Juice Williams returns and embodies the team’s starting quarterback (still undecided between Chayce Crouch, Jeff George Jr. or Cam Thomas), then the Buckeyes will win their eighth game in a row in this rivalry.
Two years ago, the Buckeyes won an ugly 28-3 game, however that will simply not do this year.
Illinois seems to have regressed this year after finishing 3-9 last season, unless the team beats Ohio State or Northwestern they will finish with two wins on the year and zero conference wins.
The truth of the matter is Illinois has nothing left to play for in this lost season, except trying to knock Ohio State out of the playoff race once and for all.
Ohio State needs to show the committee that they are a consistent team. Nothing less than a forty point blowout will do at this point in the year.
Ideally, Buckeye fans should see backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins by the third quarter.
It is imperative that the team gains confidence going into Michigan week in what will be a tough game as usual.