Dick Baird, Columnist. I believe that Cody will throw three touchdown passes. One to Reggie, one to a TE, and one to Rich Alexis on a screen pass. Knudson will hit two field goals and Ohio State will be called for a roughing penalty to set up the last one. The Buckeye quarterback is going to throw two picks because he was on the cover of Sports Illustrated. Cody will become the front-runner for the Heisman because he wins the biggest game of his career by running the ball in key situations. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
Prediction: Washington 27, Ohio State 24
Joe Kaiser, Columnist: 2002 Record: 8-4: Go with the heart or go with the brain? This one's got me in trouble plenty of times before. Gotta go with my brain. Even without Maurice Clarett, Ohio State will take advantage of a pumped-up home crowd at the Horse Shoe and pound the ball on the ground. On the other side, the Buckeyes' three studs on the defensive line will make it impossible for the Huskies to consistently move the ball. Buckeyes roll in the first game of the Gilby era.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, UW 20
Dawn Van Diest, Sports Washington. 2002 Record: 10-2: Even though Cody and crew have experienced other big-time road games (Texas, Miami, Michigan, WSU), it is not enough to overcome the Buckeye's home-field advantage. Plus, the Buckeyes are undefeated in home night games and when GameDay is in town. Ohio State shut down their opponents in the second half last year, and that will be the case again. OSU will minimize mistakes and their defense and running game will take over by the third quarter.
Buckeyes 33, Dawgs 24.
Derek Johnson, Columnist. 2002 Record: 5-7: I am disappointed that Clarett won't be playing, because I am convinced that he would have had some struggles against the UW defense. Now when fans around the country are taken aback at Ohio State's inability to average 8 yards a carry against Washington, they will attribute it afterward to the fact that Maurice Clarett wasn't in there. But I don't care. The victory in Columbus will still be sugary sweet.
Prediction: Washington 24, Ohio State 17
Rick Samek, Columnist. 2002 Record: 7-5: Other than pumping purple blood through the veins, there just aren't a lot of signs pointing Washington's way. OSU's depth and experience on both front lines is the story, and the kicking game seems a gigantic Buckeye advantage. The Huskies cannot throw away opportunities, and they cannot give Ohio State any. As Gilby puts it, "The first step towards winning is to NOT lose it yourself." Of course Washington can play with these guys. But with as many as seven true freshmen potentially seeing the nationally televised gridiron, and given that the game is at the 'Shoe - 100,000 exhorting a coronation - conditions seem ripe for youthful mistakes from the visitors. The Buckeyes will put what they've got into stopping the Cody/Reggie show, and try to make Washington beat them via other means.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Washington 16
Race Bannon, Columnist.
The ghost of Donnie Moore comes to life in Rich Alexis
Pickett's charge succeeds this time
Reggie walks the walk and the …
Dawgs shock the shock!
Prediction: UW 39, Ohio State 22
Pat Thrapp, Columnist. 2002 Record: 8-4: I believe we will miss Pat Reddick's experience on 3rd downs in this game. I feel Toledo is slightly less than Ware at this stage of his career. I worry about the kicking game. Going to the Horseshoe with over 100,000 OSU fans is tough. In the end, I think OSU overpowers the DAWGs. I think UW will hang with the Buckeyes well into the 2nd half, though.
Prediction: Ohio State 31, UW 23
Henry Han, Intern. 2002 Record: 7-5: Just how fast can Washington forget about a disappointing last season and a rocky off-season? They have a chance to showcase what they're made of in front of a national audience and, hopefully, they come away looking better than they ever did. If they start the game out anything like they did last year in Ann Arbor, then it's going to be a loooong night in Columbus. However, I believe that the Huskies can come away with a lot of positives even if they don't win the game. With that being said, my heart tells me Washington, but my head tells me Ohio State, but in a close game.
Prediction: Ohio State 34, Washington 31
Chris Fetters, Editor. 2002 Record: 6-6: Jim Tressel isn't sexy, but he is a coach that knows the power special teams can hold over the outcome of a game, and that will be the difference Saturday night. The Huskies will weather the initial emotional storms brought on by the occasion and the 108,000 screaming Buckeye fans in attendance, but they won't be able to overcome inexperience in the kicking game. Scott Pelluer will have the special teams humming by the middle of the season, but there will be two turnovers, including a block, that will provide the margin in this slugfest.
Prediction: Ohio State 24, UW 14
Kim Grinolds, Business Operations. 2002 Record: 6-6: Ohio State's front four will make it difficult for the Dawgs to get their running game going. Cody will throw for a ton of yards, but the red zone will be difficult. Special teams will be the difference, maybe as much as 10 points. Dawgs will play catch up but will fall short.
Prediction: OSU 24, UW 20
David Samek, Publisher. 2002 Record: 9-3: Washington is a veteran team, although there is youth starting at DE, SS, and both kickers. However, the Dawgs have experience where it counts, and that's at quarterback, tailback, and on the offensive line. I believe this team will stop the run well enough to keep it close, and that Cody will find a way to get his team over the hump late. Look for a big game from Charles Frederick, who gets to face a solid corner but a young safety. Five grabs should be enough, and the Huskies will keep from turning the ball over to pull off the shocker in Columbus.
Prediction: Washington 24, Ohio State 20
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