The marquee matchup of Week 1 pits the #2 Ohio State Buckeyes against the #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish. These two powerhouse programs in the Midwest have played just six times in their history, with the Buckeyes holding a 4-2 edge.
The kickoff for Saturday night’s battle is at 7:30 p.m. EST inside Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State is a 17-point favorite, and the over/under total is 59.0 points.
What to Know – #5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish
Marcus Freeman steps into the head coaching role after serving as Notre Dame’s defensive coordinator in 2021. Freeman is a player-favorite and will keep the good times rolling in South Bend. Notre Dame finished 11-2 last season with a loss to Oklahoma State in the Fiesta Bowl.
Tyler Buchner steps into the QB role after the departure of graduate transfer Jack Coan. The sophomore saw limited action last season but shined when he had the chance, completing 21-of-35 passes for 298 yards and rushing for 336 yards.
Buchner is the team’s leading rushing returner, and he’ll be joined in the backfield by junior running back Chris Tyree. Tryee has plenty of game experience, rushing for 718 yards and five touchdowns while adding 323 and a pair of scores through the air.
Michael Meyer is one of the top receiving tight ends in college football, and he gives Buchner a large target in the passing attack. Meyer led the Irish in receptions with 71, which led to 840 receiving yards and seven touchdowns. Look for Braden Lenzy and a pair of sophomores, Lorenzo Styles and Jayden Thomas to lead the receiving corps.
What to Know – #2 Ohio State Buckeyes
The Buckeyes have a lot going for them this season as a preseason favorite to punch their ticket to another CFP Playoff and favorite to win the Big Ten Conference. Ryan Day enters his fourth season as head coach with a sparklingly 34-4 record. OSU knocked off Utah in the Rose Bowl to conclude last season.
Redshirt sophomore C.J. Stroud is the leading Heisman favorite heading into the 2022 season after posting 4,435 passing yards, 44 touchdowns, and only six interceptions in his first season as starting quarterback. Stroud is a preseason First Team All-American and First Team All-Big Ten selection.
The electric TreVeyon Henderson is back for his sophomore season after surpassing 1,000 as a freshman. Henderson possesses a blend of both power and speed, leading to 6.8 yards per carry as a rookie.
Garrett Wilson and Chris Olave have moved on to the NFL, but junior Jaxon Smith-Njigba led the Buckeyes in receptions (95) and yards (1,606) in 2021. Julian Fleming and Marvin Harrison Jr., both blue chip recruits out of high school, step into starting roles to aid the Buckeyes in not missing a beat offensively.
The Pick is In
Vegas doesn’t believe this top-five battle is going to be very close. OSU’s offense versus Freeman and his ND defense will be a fun battle within the battle. Freeman has a tough task in his debut for the Irish, but he motivates his team to put up a good fight and cover the spread.
The Pick: Notre Dame Fighting Irish +17