West contenders prominent in future OSU schedules

Bill Rabinowitz
Joshua Alabi will start the season opener against Oregon State at left tackle. [Dispatch file photo]

The Big Ten released its football schedules for the 2022 through 2025 seasons Wednesday, and Ohio State will get a heavy dose of the teams expected to be at the top of the West Division in the coming years.

Ohio State will play Wisconsin in all four years, giving the Buckeyes five matchups against the Badgers in the next eight years. Ohio State plays Wisconsin at Ohio Stadium on Oct. 26, 2019.

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The Buckeyes will play Nebraska only once in the newly released span, at Lincoln in 2025, but are already scheduled to face the Cornhuskers this year and in the next three. The Huskers have been a disappointment since joining the Big Ten in 2011, but with Scott Frost now the coach, optimism is high for a turnaround.

Ohio State will play Northwestern and Iowa twice from 2022 to 2025, though a return trip to Kinnick Stadium, where the Hawkeyes routed the Buckeyes 55-24 last year, won’t happen until Sept. 27, 2025.

The Buckeyes will play Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue only once in the 2022-2025 span.

In 2022, Ohio State’s crossover opponents are Iowa (Oct. 15), at Northwestern (Nov. 5) and Wisconsin (Nov. 12).

In 2023, the Buckeyes play at Purdue (Oct. 14), at Wisconsin (Oct. 28) and Minnesota (Nov. 18) from the West.

In 2024, the West opponents are Illinois (Sept. 28), at Nebraska (Oct. 12) and Wisconsin (Oct. 26).

In 2025, the crossover opponents are at Iowa (Sept. 27), at Wisconsin (Oct. 11) and Northwestern (Nov. 1). The Buckeyes finish November with games against Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan that year.

O-line picture clears

One spot on Ohio State’s offensive line remains unsettled, but the Buckeyes have a much clearer picture of that unit than at the start of preseason camp.

Thayer Munford was the front-runner to play left tackle, but an unspecified injury has opened the door for Josh Alabi to take the spot, at least for the opener Saturday against Oregon State.

Isaiah Prince returns at right tackle for the third year. Demetrius Knox built on his success as a midseason replacement last year and took control of the battle at right guard.

“Meech has definitely had one of the best performances of this fall camp,” Prince said. “I’m extremely proud of his growth. He definitely earned that right guard spot.”

With Michael Jordan shifting from left guard to center, Malcolm Pridgeon has won the competition at Jordan’s previous spot. For Pridgeon, the job is the culmination of a rebound from a knee injury he sustained in 2016 soon after joining the Buckeyes as a junior-college transfer. He was just one of many players in the mix during the spring before he asserted himself.

“Malcolm has come a long way,” Prince said. “He’s worked extremely hard. I’m definitely proud of his growth. I’m happy for him.”

Safety up for grabs

Ohio State erroneously listed Isaiah Pryor as the starting safety opposite Jordan Fuller on its official depth chart Tuesday. A team spokesman said that Pryor should have shared that designation with Jahsen Wint.

“They’ve both progressed great this camp and this game week,” Fuller said. “I’m really excited for both of their years. It’s a tight competition. We’ll see how it all shakes out on Saturday. I’m more than good with whoever is playing.”


Next game

Oregon State at Ohio State

When: Noon Saturday

TV: ABC (Channel 6)

Radio: WBNS-FM/AM (97.1/1460)