2. The Buckeyes’ experience in big games give them an edge over the Sooners.
When it comes down to it, the Buckeyes are one of the most experienced teams in the country in terms of playing in big games. This is the type of environment that the Buckeyes strive in. In the past three seasons alone, Ohio State has been to the playoffs or one step down from it.
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Barrett has been one of the Bucks’ focal points in each of those seasons. In both of the seasons that he started the majority of the games, 2014 and 2016, the Bucks have made the playoffs.
Yes, Mayfield is also an experienced quarterback but his track record is not the same as Barrett’s. Mayfield and the Sooners have struggled a bit in their true prime time games against out of conference opponents.
The Buckeyes have had a fairly reputable track record against such opponents aside from the their loss to Clemson last season. In retrospect, Clemson was the eventual national champion who defeated the undefeated Alabama squad. There’s no doubt that the Bucks will take every shred of disappointment from that game and use it to punish their opponents this season.
Ohio State handled the Sooners last season, Notre Dame in the Fiesta Bowl in 2015, and Alabama and Oregon en route to a national championship in 2014. Knowing the skill set required to beat quality opponents such as those is valuable in any situation.
One of the biggest stories in this game is Lincoln Riley taking the helm for the Sooners in the season. Riley is the predecessor of legendary Sooners coach Bob Stoops who retired in June. He spent the last two seasons as the offensive coordinator for the team.
Riley will be the youngest coach in the FBS. The Buckeyes already displayed what they can do to first year head coaches last week when Tom Allen stepped in for Indiana. First year head coach Lincoln Riley will be in for a rude awakening against one of the best coaches in the game in Urban Meyer.
Home field advantage is also something that the Bucks take advantage of quite often. The Bucks are 19-2 at home since 2014. Though I expect the Sooners to put up a better fight this season, it will be that much more difficult to succeed in Ohio Stadium where many top opponents have failed.