Tim Grattan thinks Ohio State will win big against Oregon State

Breaking down the Buckeyes opener

Tim Grattan
September 01, 2018 - 7:30 am

Marvin Gentry-USA TODAY Sports

CLEVELAND (92.3 The Fan) -- Ladies and gentleman, boys and girls, and children of all ages … it is time for another season of one of the greatest sports in America: college football.

We’re already off to a great as Northwestern picked up a 31-27 road win over Purdue on Thursday night. If you missed the game, watch Purdue wide receiver Rondale Moore highlights.

Moore’s quickness gave fits to the Wildcats secondary. The freshman caught 11 passes for 109 yards with a touchdown in his season debut. 

Here on 923thefan.com, I’m going to preview every Ohio State game and the top matches in college football. 

So, let's get started with this today's top games ...

Today’s games

Oregon State at No. 5 Ohio State, noon, ABC (Ch. 5 in Cleveland)
After a crazy month down in Columbus, it’s time for some football to be playing in ‘The Shoe.’ Thank goodness the Buckeyes start off their season with one of the worst Power Five teams in the country with the Beavers. I don’t expect the absents of Urban Meyer will be felt in the opener and interim coach Ryan Day should have an easy day in the office. I am excited to see quarterback Dwayne Haskins take over the keys for Ohio State’s offense as the full-time starter. I thought he played sensually well in his short-time at quarterback when J.T. Barrett went down with injuries. I do wonder how many sacks Nick Bosa will have in this game? Three is my over/under.     
Line: OSU -38.5.
Prediction: Ohio State 49, Oregon State 3.

No. 23 Texas at Maryland (FedEx Field, Landover, Maryland), noon, FS1
TEXAS IS BA!!!… Yeah, let’s pump the brakes right there. Probably one of the most overhyped teams in the country, as national media members have Texas either being a top-Big 12 team or finishing in the middle of the pack. Under first-year coach Tom Herman, the Longhorns ended the ’17 season on a strong note by defeating old Big 12 member Missouri in the Texas Bowl, 33-16. Sam Ehlinger (11 TD’s 7 INTs last season) is slated as the starting quarterback for the Longhorns.
For Maryland and its football program, they have been on a 180. In last year’s opener in Austin against Texas, the Terrapins outplayed the Longhorns for a 51-41 road win to open up the ’17 season. Ever since that day, Maryland went through three quarterbacks to finish with a 4-8 record. Then head coach DJ Durkin is on placed on leave as the investigation over the death of Jordan McNair is still ongoing.  Offensive coordinator Matt Canada will step in as the interim head coach.
The Terrapins do bring back senior running back Ty Johnson as he hopes to lead the team through tough times.  
I see Texas going into Baltimore to start the season on the right note.          
Line: Texas -13.5, O/U 55.5
Prediction: Texas 35, Maryland 21

Florida Atlantic at Oklahoma, noon, Fox (Ch. 8 in Cleveland)
Two reasons why I think this game is interesting:
1. Life without Baker Mayfield. Can the Sooners offense be explosive as they were with Mayfield running Lincoln Riley’s system? It may take a step back a little bit with Kyler Murray now under center for Oklahoma, but it should still be one of the best offenses in the country.
2. Anything that involves Lane Kiffin is phenomenal! Kiffin turned FAU from a 3-9 team in ’16 to a team that won Conference USA in his first year as head coach. De’Andre Johnson returns at quarterback for the Owls, who averaged 40.6 points per game last season. Plus, follow Kiffin on Twitter and you’ll get a lot of “get off my lawn Tweets.”               
Line: Oklahoma -21, O/U 72
Prediction: Oklahoma 56, Florida Atlantic 28

No. 17 West Virginia vs. Tennessee (at Bank of America Stadium, Charlotte, N.C.), 3:30 p.m. CBS (Ch. 19 in Cleveland)
If you’re looking for a great pregame environment in which both fan bases love to party? Well, this is the game for you. The correct name for this game is the "Belk Kickoff Classic." However, I’m personally calling this the Moonshine Bowl. The Mountaineers return Heisman Trophy candidate Will Grier at quarterback, who had 34 touchdown passes in 10 ½ games. Along with Grier, West Virginia also returns wide receiver David Sills who led the nation with 18 touchdown receptions. WVU can score in bunches, but will its defense get teams off the field? We will see.
Tennessee has a new head coach in Jeremy Pruitt. Pruitt spent last season as the defensive coordinator at Alabama and helped the Crimson Tide win the National Championship. If you look at Volunteers’ depth chart, it has a lot of “Ors” at key positions – and that could be a problem. I think Tennessee’s cornerbacks will struggle against a pass-friendly offense that West Virginia runs and that could be the difference maker.
Fun facts: 1. West Virginia and Tennessee will square off on the gridiron for the first time ever on Saturday afternoon. 2. Both schools had meetings to play this game at Bristol Motor Speedway, but the matchup became Virginia Tech-Tennessee in 2016.                    
Line: WVU -9.5, O/U 61
Prediction: West Virginia 41, Tennessee 28

No. 6 Washington vs. No. 9 Auburn (at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta), 3:30 p.m. ABC
In my opinion, this has the potential to be the best game of the weekend. Why? Washington needs to win this game badly if they want to make its second appearance in the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Jake Browning is back to guide the Huskies’ offense for his third-straight season and has a shot to be a dark horse for the Heisman Trophy. Washington coach Chris Peterson will have his team ready to make this cross-country trip.
Looking at Auburn: This is a de facto home game for them. The Tigers should have the crowd in its favor since the campus is only a 90-minute drive from Atlanta (Feels more like 2 ½ hours in Atlanta traffic). Redshirt junior quarterback Jarrett Stidham should have a better understanding of Guz Malzahn’s offense in year two.
For me, both teams are evenly matched and I think this game will be close throughout the afternoon with Washington pulling away late with a field goal. 
Line: Auburn -2, O/U 49
Prediction: Washington 31, Auburn 28
 
No. 14 Michigan at No. 12 Notre Dame 7:30 p.m., NBC (Ch. 3 in Cleveland)
 A rivalry is renewed for the first time since 2014 and both teams have pressure to win this season.
Michigan finally has a quarterback as Shea Patterson will be the signal caller for Jim Harbaugh. Patterson, an Ole Miss transfer, should have a great year to lead a Wolverines’ offense that struggled to eight wins last season. Rashan Gary and Devin Bush are leaders for one of the best defenses in the country. 
Do I think Harbaugh is on the hot seat this season? No, but if Michigan underachieves like last season, I think his seat will start to heat up by November.
Notre Dame is also returning a quarterback for its season with Brandon Wimbush. In 12 games, the junior passed for 1,870 with 16 TDs through the air despite a 49 percent completion rate. 
I worry about the offensive line for the Fighting Irish because they replace to top-10 picks in the NFL draft this past spring. 
My heart tells me the home team wins, but my gut thinks otherwise. 
Line: Michigan -1.0/ O/U 46.5
Prediction: Michigan 27, Norte Dame 24
 
Louisville vs. No. 1 Alabama (at Camping World Stadium, Orlando, Florida) 8 p.m., ABC
Well, this matchup came a year too late. I wish Lamar Jackson was still with the Cardinals and not suiting up for the Baltimore Ravens. Jackson going against the tough Crimson Tide defense would have been must-see television. 
For Alabama, which quarterback will start? Jalen Hurts or Tu Tagovailoa? Both of these five-star quarterbacks can start of any school in the country. I think Hurts gets the first reps of the game and Tagovailoa will come in from time-to-time.
Alabama hasn’t lost a season-opener since Nick Saban has been the head coach with an 11-0 record. I see that going to 12-0 after Saturday. 
Line: Alabama -24, O/U 62
Prediction: Alabama 45, Louisville 10
  
I'll post previews for LSU-Miami and Virginia Tech-Florida State on Saturday evening.