Ohio Football Teams Could Bring Home Multiple Trophies This Year

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    Ohio Football Teams
    BLOOMINGTON, IN - OCTOBER 23: Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Chris Olave (2) high fives Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) after a touchdown during the Big Ten conference college football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers on October 23, 2021, at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Indiana. (Photo by Michael Allio/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

    Seven weeks into the NFL season and eight weeks into the college football season, Ohio football teams have become some of the most exciting in the game. Considering how massive an egg the Ohio baseball and soccer teams laid in 2021, Ohioans are certainly looking to football to provide some hope and happiness. Lucky for them, there could be plenty of hardware heading to the Buckeye state.

    Ohio Football Teams Poised for Greatness

    #MACtion

    While the Mid-American Conference may not have the greatest product on the field compared to other national conferences, it’s just as exciting and unpredictable. Every team in the West is still alive, whereas half of the East teams remain in the hunt (sorry, BG, Akron, and Ohio).

    In the East, each Kent State and defending champion Miami (OH) remain alive with identical (4-4) overall records to go with their 3-1 MAC mark. While neither team has dominated anyone, each has found a way to win. All eyes are on their Nov. 27 matchup that will likely decide the division. Who doesn’t love the final game of the season for all the marbles?

    The West is completely up in the air. All six teams are within two games of each other, with the leader at (4-0) and the remaining five at (2-2). Toledo is the lone Ohio football team in the division. They did drop their crucial game against Northern Illinois two weeks ago, so they no longer control their own destiny in the division, despite having an easier road ahead.

    Two CFP-Bound Ohio Teams?

    Here we go. Is 2021 the year we finally get a Group of 5 team in the CFP? Undefeated Cincinnati sure looks to be the part. Sitting at 7-0, Desmond Ridder, Jerome Ford, Sauce Gardner, and Myjai Sanders have been balling out en route to potentially shocking the nation. Their current number two ranking is the highest in UC history as well as the highest G5 ranking since before the BCS era.

    As the highest-ranked of the collegiate Ohio football teams, the Bearcats face the most scrutiny. “Easy schedule,” “struggled against Navy,” and “not even the best team in the state” echo on social media towards Luke Fickells squad. Thus far, the pressure has not cracked them. SMU and the eventual AAC title game are the only two big tests remaining. And, while the “eye test” on Notre Dame is not impressive, they are still 6-1 and a top-10 team who the Bearcats beat by 11 in South Bend.

    Now, the Ohio State Buckeyes are hitting their stride at the right time. C.J. Stroud is garnering Heisman hype, TreVeyon Henderson is eyeing records held by all-time greats, and the trio of Chris Olave/Garrett Wilson/Jaxon Smith-Njigba has been unstoppable. Their glaring deficiency was the defense.

    They changed defensive coordinators and stopped subbing in entire teams every other play and have since turned the corner. Secondary coach Matt Barnes took over play-calling duties for the Tulsa game, but in the four games since, the defense is allowing 11 points and 260 yards per game. That includes coming off of allowing only seven points and 128 yards to Indiana.

    Unlike Cincy, the Buckeyes have a tougher stretch of games ahead. Penn State this weekend, Michigan State, at Michigan, and the B1G Title game. The PSU game lost its luster when the Nittany Lions lost in nine overtimes to Illinois, but the winner of MSU/Michigan this weekend will likely be undefeated and highly ranked.

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    There is a scenario where both teams get into the CFP. Georgia, UC, Ohio State all win out. Oregon – and their head-to-head over the Buckeyes – and Oklahoma look to be the only true obstacles. Oregon dropped a game to unranked Stanford. Both they and the Sooners look beatable.

    No matter the matchup, it’ll sell. OSU vs UGA features the best offense in the nation against the best defense. UC vs OSU is a battle for Ohio supremacy that has only gone the Buckeyes’ way. UC vs UGA is a rematch of last years’ Peach Bowl where the Bearcats had Georgia beat but, for whatever reason, took the ball out of Ford’s hands after his second half-opening 79-yard touchdown run.

    These Ain’t Your Daddy’s Bengals

    It’s a #NewDey in Cincinnati! Currently sitting at 5-2, fresh off of beating the breaks off of Baltimore, the Bengals are flying high and the national media outlets are noticing. Joe Burrow has shaken off any physical or mental rust he had from the brutal knee injury last year and has thrown for 1,956 yards (sixth in the league) and 17 touchdowns (tied for fourth). His touchdown percentage is second-best in the league at 8.0% and his favorite target is old friend, rookie Ja’Marr Chase.

    Chase has surpassed even the loftiest of expectations thus far, shattering records left and right. He’s reeled in the second-most receiving yards through seven weeks…with 21 fewer catches and 30 fewer targets. Currently, he’s on pace for 1,831 yards and 14 touchdowns off of 85 catches. That would be good for fifth-most yards in a single season, and easily the most as a rookie.

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    Last year, the offensive line and defense were major weaknesses. The offensive line is not ideal yet, but it’s getting better. Quinton Spain is reigniting his career, Jonah Williams is continuing to show why he was a first-rounder, and rookie Jackson Carman has been making major strides. Burrow has taken a total of 17 sacks thus far in the young season. 10 of those sacks came in Week 1 and Week 2. Progress.

    The defense has turned into a top-ten defense in just an off-season. Trey Hendrickson and Chidobe Awuzie were the big-ticket signings on the defense and have proven their worth. D.J. Reader is fully healthy and is terrorizing the interior, not to mention Jessie Bates playing for a hefty contract on the backside. Also, who expected Logan Wilson to be as good as he is this quickly?

     

    As it stands, the Bengals are atop the AFC North and AFC overall standings. Now, it is extremely early, but signs are pointing to Cincinnati getting to play beyond 17 games. Games against the Jets, Browns (twice), Raiders, Steelers, Chargers, 49ers, Broncos, Ravens, and Chiefs remain. There is a good chance that the Bengals can secure anywhere between five and seven more wins if they continue to play at a high level.

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