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Ohio State-Indiana, Oklahoma State-Tulsa: TV schedule, game time, draft prospects to watch

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We preview the three games that kick-off an exciting opening weekend of college football!

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

We officially kick off College Football’s first big weekend of the season with three games on Thursday night. The three contests feature the Ohio State Buckeyes visiting the Indiana Hoosiers, the Tulsa Golden Hurricane visiting Stillwater and taking on the Oklahoma State Cowboys, and lastly the Minnesota coaching debut for P.J. Fleck as his Golden Gophers begin to row the boat hosting the Buffalo Bulls. Thursday night is the just the tip of the iceberg for what is expecting to be an exciting opening weekend of college football featuring schools ranked inside the AP Top 25. With that said, let us preview our three games for Thursday evening!

No. 2 Ohio State vs. Indiana

Conference: Big Ten
Location: Memorial Stadium
Time: 8pm
Where to watch: ESPN

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

After suffering a 31-0 defeat to the Clemson Tigers in the College Football Playoff, the Buckeyes will begin their 2017 season against in-conference Indiana. This is an interesting scheduling move, as Big Ten play usually doesn't begin till at least the end of September. However, it’s never too early to start building up your conference record. Ohio State returns dual-threat quarterback J.T. Barrett. While notable starters such as Curtis Samuel needed to be replaced this year, I expect Barrett and company on offense to have a productive evening.

However, what I am looking forward to watching is the Ohio State defense. This defense has some promising and exciting 2018 draft eligible prospects, and we will get a first look at them against Indiana. The Hoosiers have veteran passer Richard Lagow and speedster WR Nick Westbrook. Unfortunately for Indiana their defense will most likely have very little answers to Ohio State’s spread, up-tempo offense. Another storyline to watch in this one is OSU’s offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson who was removed as Indian’s head coach last December. While this could look close in the beginning, I expect Ohio State to pull away shortly after halftime and begin their pathway towards the College Football Playoff.

Prediction: OSU 35 IU 21

Ohio State players to watch:

J.T. Barrett, QB
Paris Campbell, WR
Tyquan Lewis, DE
Jerome Baker, OLB
Dre’Mont Jones, DT

Indiana players to watch:

Richard Lagow, QB
Nick Westbrook, WR
Tegray Scales, OLB

No. 11 Oklahoma State vs. Tulsa

Conference: Big 12 & AAC
Location: Boone Pickens Stadium - Stillwater, Oklahoma
Where to watch: Fox Sports 1

NCAA Football: Pittsburgh at Oklahoma State Rob Ferguson-USA TODAY Sports

All eyes will be on the offensive duo of quarterback Mason Rudolf and wide receiver James Washington of Oklahoma State, along with running back Justice Hill. The Cowboys offense should be exciting to watch this season as a whole. Points will be scored in this game from both sides…The Cowboys will score thanks to their dynamic weapons on offense and Tulsa will score points thanks to their running back D’Angelo Brewer and due to the fact that the Cowboy’s defense is suspect at best. This could be close, and a potential shootout could be on our hands, but I think the Cowboys pull-away by the third quarter and don't look back. This one will have a lot of scoring from both sides, but the Cowboys should win this one with ease as Rudolf begins his own road towards a potential invite to the Heisman Trophy presentation in New York.

Prediction: OKSate 42 Tulsa 28

Oklahoma State players to watch:

Mason Rudolf, QB
James Washington, WR
Justice Hill, RB

Tulsa players to watch:

Chad President, QB
D’Angelo Brewer, RB

Buffalo vs. Minnesota

Conference: Big 10 & MAC
Location: Bank Stadium, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Where to watch: Big Ten Network

NCAA Football: Big Ten Media Days Patrick Gorski-USA TODAY Sports

P.J. Fleck took Western Michigan from a 1-11 squad and turned them into a Cotton Bowl bound undefeated regular season squad. Now he has rowed the boat all the way to the land of lakes, and now takes the reins in Minnesota where Gopher fans hope to see more promising days ahead. That journey begins against the Bulls of Buffalo at the friendly confines of Bank Stadium. The first task Fleck must accomplish is settling the ongoing quarterback battle between Demry Croft and Conor Rhoda. I expect both will see action in this game.

RB Rodney Smith is the face of this offense after rushing for 16 touchdowns last season. Also, keep a close eye on true freshman wideout Demetrius Douglas. After a very underwhelming 2-10 season the Buffalo Bulls will look to get back on track this season. Their offense will be led by Tyree Jackson. Both teams have respectable defenses with many returning starters. While the Bulls defense will try and keep them in this one, expect Fleck to coast to his first victory in Minneapolis.

Prediction: Minnesota 28 Buffalo 10

Minnesota players to watch:

Jon Celestin, DT
Blake Cashman, OLB
Duke McGhee, S
Rodney Smith, RB
Demetrius Douglas, WR

Buffalo players to watch:

Tyree Jackson, QB
Khalil Hodge, LB

What are your thoughts on Thursday’s College Football Action? Please share in the comments below! Thanks for reading!