Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) -4, o/u 41 1/2 at Washington Huskies (2-0), 3:30 pm Eastern Saturday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com
The national runner-ups of a season ago who are widely expected to take a step back this year take on an apparent up-and-comer when the Ohio State Buckeyes visit the Great Northwest for a clash with the Washington Huskies Saturday afternoon on ESPN.
Ohio State, with 11 starters back from the team that got clubbed by the Florida Gators in the BCS championship game last January, are off to a 2-0 start to this season after beating Youngstown State and Akron.
Washington, with 12 starters back from a 5-7 team of a season ago, is also 2-0 after beating Syracuse and, last week, the Boise State Broncos.
The Buckeyes suffocated the Zips last week 20-2, allowing 69 total yards of Akron offense. But OSU committed five turnovers, led just 3-2 at the half and came nowhere near covering the spread as 27-point home favorites. The game also easily stayed under its posted total of 47.
The Huskies knocked off a ranked Boise State team 24-10 as three-point home underdogs, outrushing the Broncos 139-101. That game also stayed well below its posted total of 56.
Ohio State is 64-14 straight up and 43-33 against the spread in its seventh season under head coach Jim Tressel.
UW is 9-16 straight up and 12-13 vs. the number in its third season under coach Ty Willingham.
Buckeyes junior QB Todd Boeckman, in his first two games since taking over the reigns from Troy Smith, has completed 67% of his passes so far this season and owns a 4/2 TD/INT ratio.
His counterpart on the Huskies is redshirt freshman Jake Locker, who’s hit on 27 of 44 throws so far this year, owns a 1-1 TD/INT ratio and has rushed for 181 yards in two games.
Washington, going back to the last two games of last season, has outrushed its last four opponents, winning three of those games.
OSU has outrushed eight of its last nine foes, and is 8-1 in those games. That lone loss, of course, was to Florida in the national title game.
The Buckeyes went 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread on the road last season.
The Huskies, meanwhile, went just 3-3 straight up and 2-4 vs. the spread at home last year. But they were home dogs three times last season, and went 2-1 both straight up and against the spread in those games.
These two teams haven’t met since August of 2003, when Ohio State beat Washington 28-9 in Columbus.
Interestingly, the Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com rank the Huskies 15th at 85.9, the Buckeyes 25th at 82.8.
OSU opened up as 3-point road chalk for Saturday’s game, with a total of 42, and both of those numbers have held pretty steady. Also, the Bucks are listed at about -170 on the moneyline, with UW getting +150.
The Predictem Pick: Passing! Too close to call!