NCAA football gambling handicappers were impressed with last year’s Ohio State team that went 11-2 and ended with a NCAA football wagering payout in the Rose Bowl.
Ohio State’s 26-17 Rose Bowl win over Pac 10 champion Oregon snapped a 3-game bowl losing streak but also, more importantly, changed the perception of the Buckeyes being a slow team that could not matchup with more athletic teams, which Oregon was perceived to be.
With 9 starters returning on offense led by junior quarterback Terrelle Pryor and 6 starters returning to a defense that has allowed less than 14 points per game for 5 consecutive seasons everything looks in place for a national championship run in 2010 as Ohio State begins the season ranked in the top 5 of all major polls.
Before anyone forgets, however, the 2009 season was not a smooth ride as a 26-18 loss at Purdue set off Buckeye nation as it was perceived that Pryor was not a championship quarterback and that he should be moved to wide receiver.
But Ohio State responded with a 38-7 blowout win over Minnesota the following week for an easy payout with the college football odds and they were on their way, never losing again in the 2009 campaign.
Pryor turned the corner in the season’s second half last year and was 14-17 against Iowa in an overtime win that clinched the Big Ten title. He was a star performer in the Rose Bowl and is expected to be a key asset for Ohio State with the college football lines and should play with more polish and consistency.
While his passing mechanics are still questionable they improved and Pryor is a dangerous runner that led the team with 779 yards.
The most difficult part of the 2010 season for Ohio State will be the Big Ten schedule as they have away matchups with the top two NCAA football gambling challengers for the league title at Wisconsin October 16 and at Iowa November 20.
On the positive they catch a non conference home game against Miami-FL and conference home games against perennial contender Penn State and arch rival Michigan in the traditional season finale on November 27.