Ohio State begins its 2022 Big Ten football schedule in Week 4 against Wisconsin at 7:30 pm at Ohio Stadium.
It features two of the top programs from their respective Big Ten divisions, and a matchup that could always be repeated at the Big Ten Championship Game, where Ohio State and Wisconsin last played in 2019.
And that might not be a good thing for Wisconsin, unranked at 2-1, who didn’t beat Ohio State, ranked No. 3 and 3-0, since 2010. The Badgers haven’t beaten Ohio State in Columbus since 2004.
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The Buckeyes enter the game having scored 77 points in Toledo’s 56-point run in Week 3. They enter the game as 18.5 point favorites against the Badgers.
So we know who Las Vegas expects to win, but what about our own experts?
Here’s how Columbus State Dispatch Ohio State reporters and columnists as well as Wisconsin State Journal beat writer Colten Bartholomew picked the game.
Ohio State beat writer
I don’t think Wisconsin matches up well against Ohio State. The Buckeyes have been strong against the run, and the Badgers need Braelon Allen to have a huge game to have a chance. Such is the case for Graham Mertz, the quarterback, who did not live up to his early promise. Jim Leonhard is an excellent defensive coordinator, and the Badgers never beat themselves on that side of the ball. But can CJ Stroud and the Buckeyes’ offense be contained? suspicious.
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Ohio State beat writer
Wisconsin may not be as impressive as it was in 2019 when it led the Buckeyes at halftime of the Big Ten championship game, but Jim Leonhard’s defense is one of the few in the conference that still has ready for Ryan Day’s explosive offense. That’s reason enough to believe Ohio State could be held under 40 points. Still, Wisconsin is too one-dimensional on offense, even with slight improvement from quarterback Graham Mertz, to be a threat in the fourth quarter. Expect a comfortable win for the Buckeyes.
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They grow a lot in Wisconsin, but today’s football is built on speed – really, when isn’t it? − and the Buckeyes’ offensive weapons are too quick for the Badgers to keep up. Throw in OSU quarterback CJ Stroud’s uncanny ability to cash in on passes, even when he’s rolling out, and Ohio State will be off to the races. If there is any intrigue with the Big Ten opening, it is how well the Buckeyes’ defense, built on deception and pressure on the QB, handled the game to run Wisconsin. Best guess? Good enough to hold talented tailback Braelon Allen to his 111-yard average.
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Wisconsin always seems to play closely with Ohio State, although the Buckeyes have been leading the head-to-heads in recent memory. Will Jim Leonhard’s defense give CJ Stroud and company trouble? He could, at first, just hope the Buckeyes settle in and continue the momentum he’s been building over the past two weeks with an increasingly healthy wide receiver room. Braelon Allen will be in the X-factor. If the Buckeyes can stay on par with what they’ve been able to do over the past three weeks in terms of stopping the run, they should pull off Wisconsin.
Wisconsin beat writer
Wisconsin State Journal
The Badgers under Paul Chryst and Jim Leonhard were able to hang in there against the Buckeyes in the first half before the talent gap started to show in the second. This one will probably play out in a similar way. Wisconsin has looked better in the passing game this year through weeks, but it’s still not ready for a prime-time game at Ohio Stadium. Leonhard’s defensive scheme will be good and varied enough to keep the Badgers from getting out, but they likely won’t be in the game for much of the second half.
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This article originally appeared on The Columbus Dispatch: Ohio State vs. Wisconsin Football Predictions