Marshall Thundering Herd
(7-6, 7-5 ATS in 2009)
Ohio State Buckeyes
(11-2, 10-3 ATS in 2009)
The 2010 college football betting season kicks off on Thursday night, and the #2 team in the land will be in action when the Ohio State Buckeyes play host to the Marshall Thundering Herd.
Don’t think for one second that the Herd are just going to lie down and die in this game. New head coach Doc Holliday is going to demand the best of his defense, which could give the offense a chance to at least do a modest bit of damage against a fantastic Ohio State ‘D’. Keep a close eye on QB Brian Anderson in this one, as he is expected to be a much improved signal caller from last year when he only threw for 2,646 yards and 14 scores. As always, RB Darius Marshall will be counted on for a ton of yardage on the ground, as he accounted for 1,131 yards and 11 TDs on the ground last season.
The Buckeyes have a lot of hype coming into this year, particularly after beating Oregon in the Rose Bowl last year so handily. There is going to be a ton of pressure on QB Terrelle Pryor to perform in this, his third year at Ohio State. Pryor led the team in both rushing and passing last year, and is probably going to do the exact same thing this year. Obviously, the team’s National Championship hopes rest on his arm and on the shoulders of the 11 men playing defense. This game should be a relatively easy test for a defense that knows there is a lot bigger and better waiting on the horizon. Last year, Navy snuck up on this crew and dropped 27 points on it, but after that, OSU pitched three shutouts and kept ten of its last 12 foes to 18 or fewer points. After posting the country’s fifth best defense last year at 262.3 yards and 12.5 points per game, expectations are understandably high, especially against such a weak opponent.
Marshall hasn’t had a great history against big time FBS foes. Last season, it was blown away by Virginia Tech 52-10 in Blacksburg, while the year before both Wisconsin (51-14) and West Virginia (27-3) issued sizeable beat downs. This could be a bit of an exception though, as Ohio State has had a tendency to sort of screw around in its opening games of the year. This is a boatload of points to be giving a bowl team from a year ago, particularly one that is sick and tired of getting taken behind the shed by these big time programs. These teams have met once before, with Ohio State claiming a 24-21 victory in 2004. It won’t be that close this time around, but go with the Herd and take the four tuddies against the NCAA football lines.
Selection: Marshall Thundering Herd +28.5