When I chose the predicting lifestyle, I had to give up some of the luxuries in life, such as being wrong and being unimportant. It’s a ton of responsibility to know that people are hanging on my every word. It takes humility to truly understand how important and influential I really am. When people tell me how great I am, I don’t even try to deny it anymore because I also don’t like to lie to people.
I once had somebody ask me if I had ever thought about becoming a prediction teacher and I laughed because you can only teach so much of what we do. I cannot give you a lesson plan that provides you with shark-eyed confidence that 40% of your picks are going to hit 80% of the time, nor the conviction to tell people that those picks were 100% accurate. I also had to stop teaching when I found out so many of my students were using my lessons to become politicians instead of predictors.
If you really want to do this for a living, however, I’d recommend spending a year playing the lottery first. Not only will you get to hone your predicting skills, but if you’re really lucky, you’ll win enough to live off of for the next few years because you’re probably never going to make it doing what only a few of us can do.
But I’m not here to brag. If you’re wondering how I did last week, I got three of five correct, which I believe is a high enough grade to be able to get a drivers license in some countries.
Can I eclipse last week’s incredible mark? I’m not sure how to top near-perfection, but I’m also never one to give up without a fight.
So if you don’t want to know what’s going to happen Saturday in beautiful New Brunswick, then I suggest you stop reading.
(Also, if you would like to hear me and Tom Orr go over* our predictions for this Saturday, you can listen to Wednesday’s podcast as well.)
1. Chris Olave will score two touchdowns.
Chris Olave only has two catches total in the last two weeks, which means he’s about to go off. He is currently third on the team in catches (18) and yards (255), but tied for the team lead in touchdowns with three. After Saturday, however, he’ll be leading the pack with at least five scores. Of note, in his last 28 games, Olave has had eight games of two touchdowns, which is pretty impressive. Also of note, Rutgers has allowed just one touchdown pass this season. That’s best in the Big Ten and second best in the nation.
2. Jeremy Ruckert will catch at least four passes.
Senior tight end Jeremy Ruckert is fourth on the team with just six receptions through four games. Half of those catches came against Oregon. Ruckert’s career high in receptions for a single game is four, which he has done three times in his career. Playing close to home this weekend, he’ll match or exceed his career best in style, and he’ll also get to do it in front of family. I also wouldn’t object to a couple of tight end sweeps.
3. The Buckeyes will have a punt or kick return of at least 30 yards.
Ohio State has returned 15 punts or kickoffs this season and only one of those returns has gone more than 30 yards. Emeka Egbuka is the owner of that one return, but he’ll get a couple more opportunities this week. He has big-play ability and is already showing glimpses of what he can do. Garrett Wilson at punt returner, however, has not been nearly as explosive. He’s only averaging 1.7 yards per return, but I remain convinced that he’s due. Also, picking up a blocked punt and returning it for 30 yards definitely counts here.
4. CJ Stroud will complete at least 67% of his passes, rush for at least 10 yards, and throw zero interceptions.
Part of the downside of incorporating Tom Orr into my predictions via our Wednesday Buckeye Weekly Podcasts is that we have labeled my normal predictions as “bold predictions,” which forces me to spice things up a bit or even negotiate for predictions. This is one of those predictions. Initially, I went with CJ Stroud will complete at least 67% of his passes, which he has never been able to do. Tom went looney toons and wanted 75%, so we eventually negotiated down (or up, imo) to 67% completions, 10 yards rushing, and no interceptions. This should obviously count as a 3-team parlay and pay out much higher than a normal prediction.
5. TreVeyon Henderson will rush for at least 173 yards.
This was actually my 2-point bonus moneyball prediction on our prediction podcast. I have substituted it here in place of the first bonus prediction because of the unlikeliness of Rutgers quarterback Noah Vedral throwing three interceptions. I have much more faith in Buckeye running back TreVeyon Henderson and his ability to run the ball on any defense known to man. He’s not running against the ’85 Bears here — but he could. Rutgers completely stifled Michigan’s running game last week, but the Wolverines don’t have Ohio State’s passing game to complement the running game, and they don’t have TreVeyon Henderson.
Bonus: The Buckeyes will pick off at least three passes.
I feel like Rutgers is going to have to try a little bit harder on offense than they did against Michigan because the Wolverines weren’t interested in distancing themselves on the scoreboard. Ohio State will have the pedal down much more often than the Wolverines did. This will force Noah Vedral into some mistakes.
Bonus: An Ohio State defensive back will have a sack.
This is my 3-point bonus prediction. An Ohio State defensive back hasn’t had a sack since 2019. Jahsen Wint had one and Shaun Wade had two. Now that the secondary is getting comfortable, Matt Barnes will continue to utilize them in new and different ways. Ryan Day wants an aggressive defense, so he’ll get it.