League Logo
League Logo
League Logo
League Logo

    2024 Big Ten football odds: Will Howard, Quinshon Judkins transfers likely to have Ohio State favored over national champion Michigan

    Ohio State got good news Monday while rival Michigan was winning the national title.
    Hero Image

    While Michigan won its first national championship in college football since the 1997 season on Monday, it also was a terrific night for bitter rival Ohio State. Nearly immediately after the Wolverines finished off their 21-point win over Washington, the top running back in the NCAA transfer portal, former Ole Miss star Quinshon Judkins, committed to the Buckeyes. Add in the recent transfer commitment of former Kansas State quarterback Will Howard, and Ohio State likely will be the favorite to win the 2024 Big Ten title over the Wolverines and new league addition Oregon.

    We won't see conference title futures or 2024 win totals at sportsbooks for a while, but the Buckeyes are +800 third favorites at DraftKings to win next season's national title – the College Football Playoff expands from four to 12 teams – with Michigan fifth at +1000.

    The Wolverines might lose coach Jim Harbaugh to the NFL. Star running back Blake Corum will be gone (likely along with his backup Donovan Edwards, who had two long touchdown runs Monday), as will be essentially the entire starting offensive line – the best such group in the nation. Key defenders such as linebacker Michael Barrett and cornerback Mike Sainristil will also depart. Quarterback J.J. McCarthy hasn't said whether he will return to Ann Arbor but is projected as a possible 2024 first-round pick and seems likely to leave, especially if Harbaugh does. 

    The Wolverines play three of the four new Big Ten schools next season, hosting USC on Sept. 21, visiting Washington on Oct. 5 and hosting Oregon on Nov. 2. The Ducks are +1100 to win next season's national title. Michigan also heads to Columbus on Nov. 30.

    Ohio State hasn't had a 1,000-yard rusher since 2021 but likely will in 2024 as long as Judkins stays healthy. This past season with Ole Miss, he had a second straight 1,000-yard season with 271 carries for 1,158 yards and an SEC-best 15 touchdowns. Among SEC running backs with at least 100 carries, he ranked first in missed tackles forced (78), tied for first in runs of at least 10 yards (39) and tied for fourth in catches (22).

    Judkins had a whopping 34 total TDs in his two seasons in Oxford. He was the No. 1 running back and No. 4 overall prospect in sister-site 247Sports' transfer rankings. Current Buckeyes running back TreVeyon Henderson is also supremely talented but has had trouble staying healthy. Henderson has yet to make a public decision on his future. If he returns, Ohio State would likely have the country's best backfield. This past season, Ohio State finished ranked No. 88 in rushing yards per game among all FBS teams, averaging just 138.8 yards per game.

    The Buckeyes lost 2023 starting QB Kyle McCord to the portal, but Howard is a more than capable replacement. The fifth-year senior and dual threat went 12-5 as Kansas State's starter in 2022 and 2023 and led the Wildcats to a Big 12 title game win over TCU in 2022. This past season, he completed 61.3% of his passes for 2,643 yards and 24 TDs (all career highs) while rushing for 351 yards and nine scores. Howard was ranked as the No. 5 QB in the transfer portal by 247Sports.

    Buckeyes coach Ryan Day also got great defensive news last week with end Jack Sawyer, who led the team in sacks and is a former No. 1 overall recruit, announcing his return to Columbus. Sawyer had 6.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, two forced fumbles and three quarterback hurries in 2023. 

    Ohio State only plays one of the four Big Ten newcomers with a trip to Oregon on Oct. 12, but should be favored in every other game (and might be in that one as well). The other big road game will be at Penn State.

    Keep in mind the Big Ten's divisions will no longer exist in 2024 now that the conference is up to 18 teams (for now).

    Via SportsLine oddsmakers: Projected early favorites to win 2024 Big Ten football title

    • Ohio State +150
    • Michigan +200
    • Oregon +200
    • Penn State +500
    • Washington +600
    • Iowa +1000
    • USC +1000

    Get more out of your SportsLine subscription! 

    Qualifying SportsLine members receive a 30-day free trial of Paramount+ Essential. Sync your account right here

    Matt SeveranceSeverance Pays

    Share This Story