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Roundtable predictions week 8: Rutgers v. Ohio State

The OtB staff returns after the bye to discuss Rutgers-Ohio State.

James Snook-USA TODAY Sports

Can't ask for much more from the Scarlet Knights through six games. A 5-1 record with the program's first B1G win over Michigan ain't too shabby. The tough is about to get going, however, with a brutal three-game stretch beginning in Columbus and ending in Piscataway against Wisconsin. Can RU beat the spread, and is any of us bold enough to predict a win over the heavily favored Buckeyes?

Dave White: Ah, to believe in miracles.  The spread has Ohio State favored by 21.  Urban Meyer has given Kyle Flood and Rutgers all sorts of respect this week.  No bulletin board material.  I love that Rutgers is riding high at 5-1, and had a week off to recover from the glory that was the Michigan game, but let's face it, they're walking into a buzzsaw.  This is the hard part of their schedule and I think it starts off with a bang.  I don't know, I have very few good vibes for this game. Beat the spread, that's the best I can do.  Ohio State 42 Rutgers 25.

Bob Cancro: My pre-season comments had Braxton Miller solidifying his Heisman credentials in this game.  Now, it's JT Barrett solidifying his Freshman of the Year creds. But is there hope?  If the defense can put pressure on and contain Barrett....if the running game can generate somewhere around 150 yards....if the secondary can keep things short....if Gary Nova can play and manage an error free game....then anything is possible.  Including tOSU still winning.  Will it be a statement game for the Knights?  I don't think so, but I don't think it will be a Simpsons' Treehouse of Horrors, either. My pre-season numbers were tOSU 42-10.  I'm rethinking it.  Ohio State 35, Rutgers 17

Kevin Recio: Whatever happens, it'll be cool to see Rutgers in the Horseshoe as a conference team. I'm not bold enough to call the upset, but I think RU has a pretty good chance to beat the spread, especially now that it's up to 21.5. The Scarlet Knights honestly just have too many weaknesses in the secondary, and if J.T. Barrett continues his efficiently productive quarterback play, he shouldn't have any trouble passing on Rutgers. And if he does, Devin Gardner has shown that you can just use your legs to get in the end zone. I'll be looking for the defensive line to get to Barrett occasionally, keeping up the stellar sack numbers. Other than that, just put up a good fight and I'd be happy. Ohio State 38, Rutgers 20

Garrett Stepien: Rutgers football should technically be 6-0 right now, and they've held their own to get to this point when college football "experts" predicted a season in the ballpark of a 3-9 record and dead last finish in the Big Ten. This team has been fun to watch, and the atmosphere that echoed throughout New Jersey with the first ever Big Ten win was something that can't be put into words.

With that being said, it was fun while it lasted. There's no doubt to me that Rutgers boasts one of the best defensive lines in the country an positives of that nature throughout the roster, but the Scarlet Knights stand no chance against Ohio State. Even without Braxton Miller at quarterback, the Buckeyes have the talent top to bottom on the roster to just roll over Rutgers the same way they did to a Maryland team that thought it was ready to compete with the B1G boys. J.T. Barrett has come along nicely for the Buckeyes, getting out his freshman kinks after an abysmal performance against Virginia Tech where he completed 31-percent of his passes in their lone blemish of the season. Barrett is a guy who I think will be competing for a Heisman when he's truly seasoned in head coach Urban Meyer's system a few years down the road, and right now, he's the best quarterback on the best offense and team that Rutgers has faced to date.

Even if Gary Nova were to play the game of his life, I can't see Rutgers winning this one. Not in the Horseshoe. It was fun while it lasted. Ohio State 52, Rutgers 21.

Andy Egan: Ohio State does not care about Rutgers. Sure, Coach Urbz knows how dangerous we can be, and has said all the right things this week.  No bulletin board material from him.  But this Buckeye team is not amped up to play something called "Rutgers."  Not when they are going to State College next week, and not when they have circled the game with Sparty in East Lansing on their calendars sometime in December last year. [Blatant Homerism: ENGAGED] This Rutgers team is hungry, and talented and they are feeling disrespected. They have strong leadership on the field, a great Offensive Coordinator in the box with forty years of experience and treachery up his sleeve, and a young DC who knows how to bring the heat. They are a tight crew, and they are playing for a head coach for whom they would run through a wall. Ohio State sleepwalks through the first quarter and a half, and RU jumps to a 14-3 lead at the half. Like seemingly every Rutgers game this year, this one comes down to the wire after the Buckeyes mount a furious comeback in the late third, even taking a small lead early in the fourth, after shutting down a Rutgers run game that had, earlier in the game, been effective.  But following another long Turzilli TD, the good guys hang on for a squeaker, winning by a field goal. In Columbus. Against THE Ohio State University Buckeyes. ROLL DAMN FLOOD. Scarlet Knights 31, Buckeyes 28.

Ray Ransom: There was a time, not too long ago, when sports writers and prognosticators from all over the industry thought Rutgers would roll over and die in its first B1G year. They thought the undersized D-Line would get run over. They thought the QB would implode. They thought we weren't tough enough. Well, guess what? They were wrong. This is a team on the rise, rounding into form for an epic stretch that will go down as the greatest in Rutgers history, and it starts Saturday. The Jersey boys invade Ohio and steal a victory from one of the premier teams in college football, catapulting them into the national conversations and the history books. RU 33, OSU 30 in OT.