Ohio State at Virginia Tech (+14, 53)
Top-ranked Ohio State starts its quest to repeat as national champion
when it visits Virginia Tech on Monday. The Buckeyes will certainly be
gunning for the Hokies as their lone defeat of their championship season
came when Virginia Tech posted a 35-21 victory at Ohio Stadium.
The Buckeyes haven't decided whether J.T. Barrett or Cardale Jones will
start but it will be no surprise if both quarterbacks see action.
Barrett was Ohio State's signal caller most of last season and passed
for 34 touchdowns and ran for 11 more before fracturing an ankle and
Jones guided the Buckeyes to their final three wins, including the
title-game triumph over Oregon. "We've still got time to decide," Ohio
State coach Urban Meyer told reporters. "I think a lot of it is going to
be in-game, how's it going, and do we need a change." Virginia Tech has
been to 22 consecutive bowl games but the program has slid in recent
campaigns and is 22-17 over the past three seasons.
TV: 8 p.m. ET, ESPN.
LINE HISTORY: Sportsbooks opened the Hokies as 12.5-point underdogs, but that's since been bumped up to +14.
INJURY REPORT: Ohio State - C. Jones (probable), N. Brown (out for season), M. Weber (late September), J. Bosa (eligible), J. Marshall (eligible Sept. 12), C. Smith (eligible Sept. 12), D. Wilson (eligible Sept. 12). Virginia Tech - S. McKenzie (eligible Sept. 12).
WEATHER: The forecast is calling for partly sunny skies with eastern winds of 5-10 mph.
ABOUT OHIO STATE (2014: 14-1): There are no questions at running
back with title game MVP Ezekiel Elliott back for his junior campaign.
Elliott rushed for 696 yards and eight touchdowns in the Buckeyes' final
three contests last season and totaled 1,878 rushing yards - second in
school history behind Eddie George's 1,927 in 1995 - and 18 rushing
touchdowns. The defense absorbs a hit for the opener due to the
suspension of 2014 Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Joey Bosa (a
junior end who had 13.5 sacks in 2014) but still has plenty of talent in
senior defensive tackle Adolphus Washington (10.5 tackles for losses),
senior weak-side linebacker Joshua Perry (team-best 124 tackles),
sophomore strong-side linebacker Darron Lee (7.5 sacks) and sophomore
cornerback Eli Apple (three interceptions).
ABOUT VIRGINIA TECH (2014: 7-6): Senior quarterback Michael
Brewer is striving to be more consistent this season after throwing 15
interceptions to go with 2,692 yards and 18 touchdowns last season.
Senior running back J.C. Coleman (533 yards in 2014) won the starting
gig and injury-prone junior Trey Edmunds will also get some work, while
sophomore receiver Isaiah Ford (56 receptions, six touchdowns) and
sophomore tight end Bucky Hodges (45 catches, seven touchdowns) are
solid targets. The top player on the defense is junior cornerback
Kendall Fuller (eight career interceptions), who is on his way to
becoming the fourth brother in his family to be selected in the NFL
Draft and each of them (Vincent, Corey, Kyle) also starred at Virginia
*Hokies are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 home games.
*Over is 4-1 in Hokies last 5 home games.
*Buckeyes are 9-4 ATS in their last 13 games overall.
*Buckeyes are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 non-conference games.
COVERS CONSENSUS: According to Covers Consensus, 57 percent of users are backing the reigning champion Buckeyes.