An updated 2022 football schedule was released by the Big Ten on Wednesday, and the changes appear to be mostly favorable to the Buckeyes. Most notably, Ohio State will no longer have to make back-to-back road trips to Michigan State and Penn State, as the Buckeyes’ game against the Spartans was moved back to Oct. 8 while the clash with the Nittany Lions will now be played on Oct. 29.
|SAT, SEP. 3||
|SAT, SEP. 10||
|SAT, SEP. 17||
|SAT, SEP. 24||
|at MICHIGAN STATE|
|SAT, OCT. 1||
|at PENN STATE|
|SAT, OCT. 8||
at MICHIGAN STATE
|SAT, OCT. 15||
|SAT, OCT. 22||
|SAT, OCT. 29||
at PENN STATE
|SAT, NOV. 5||
|SAT. NOV. 12||
|SAT, NOV. 19||
|SAT, NOV. 26||
That said, Ohio State will still be playing all of the same opponents it was scheduled to play before Wednesday’s update, and that leaves plenty of potential tests in the Buckeyes’ path, including a season opener against a likely preseason top-10 team in Notre Dame, a full slate of Big Ten East opponents and games against what could be the two best teams in the Big Ten West.
Now that Ohio State’s actual schedule for the 2022 season has been finalized, it’s time to take a closer look at where the new schedule could be advantageous to the Buckeyes and where potential pitfalls to Ohio State’s championship hopes could lie.
Home sweet home
The first thing that jumps off the screen when looking at Ohio State’s new schedule is the five-game homestand the Buckeyes will start their season with. It will be the first time since 2003 that Ohio State has opened its season by playing five home games in a row.
It will be the first time since 2012 that Ohio State will play eight home games at Ohio Stadium in a single season, giving the Buckeyes the advantage of only having to play four road games this year. (Conversely, Ohio State will play six home games and six road games in 2023).
If Ohio State had the opportunity to craft an ideal schedule for itself, it would probably choose to play one of its road games in September rather than having to play four of its final seven games on the road. The Buckeyes will go untested on the road until they play Michigan State on Oct. 8, and they’ll have to play three road games in a four-week span when they play Penn State on Oct. 29, Northwestern on Nov. 5 and Maryland on Nov. 19.
Given that they’ll be breaking in the new turf at Ohio Stadium by playing a full two-thirds of their games in front of their home crowd, though, the Buckeyes are in no position to complain.
Big games throughout the schedule
For Ohio State fans, the best part of the 2022 schedule might be the fact that there will be big games to look forward to at every point in the schedule.
The Sept. 3 season opener against Notre Dame will be circled on calendars throughout Buckeye Nation. The Big Ten schedule will start with a highly anticipated game as the Buckeyes will host Wisconsin on Sept. 24. Early October will bring a clash of two teams that finished this past season in the top 10 as Ohio State travels to Michigan State. Ohio State playing Penn State just before Halloween is beginning to feel like tradition, as the Buckeyes and Nittany Lions will play on the last weekend of October for the third year in a row. And of course, everyone will be looking forward to The Game on Nov. 26, when Michigan will play at Ohio Stadium for the first time in four years.
Spreading those games out over the course of the season should be beneficial to the Buckeyes, too, as there’s no single stretch on the schedule that looks murderous. However, that also means there won’t be any extended stretch of easy wins for the Buckeyes, which means they’ll need to be playing at a high level at the beginning, middle and end of the season.
After playing Nebraska in each of the last six seasons, Ohio State will play Wisconsin in its protected crossover game for the next four seasons, which will present a step up in interdivisional competition. While Nebraska finished with a losing record in the last five of those six seasons, Wisconsin has finished with a winning record in all of its last 20 seasons, and the Badgers usually play the Buckeyes tough – though Ohio State has won the last eight meetings.
Ohio State will also host the reigning Big Ten West champions in 2022 as Iowa will come to Columbus on Oct. 22. The Hawkeyes beat the Buckeyes in their last meeting in 2017, and both the Hawkeyes and Badgers are included in most early top-25 projections, so there’s a good chance Ohio State will end up playing the two best teams in the West division.
If recent trends are any indication, Northwestern could also be a sleeper to watch in the West. The Wildcats have alternated between making the Big Ten Championship Game and finishing 3-9 for each of the past four years, so they shouldn’t be written off despite a down year in 2021, and the Buckeyes will have to play them in the second leg of their lone back-to-back road sequence of the year.Graham Mertz, Chez Mellusi and the Wisconsin Badgers will be coming to Columbus in 2022. (Photo: Robert Goddin – USA TODAY Sports)
Source : https://www.elevenwarriors.com/ohio-state-football/2022/01/128674/five-early-thoughts-on-ohio-state-s-2022-football-schedule1243