Home / Sports / Pre-Season Top 25: No. 2 Ohio State has expectations that go beyond another place in the college football playoffs

Pre-Season Top 25: No. 2 Ohio State has expectations that go beyond another place in the college football playoffs



Ryan Day’s first season in Ohio went pretty well. Day took over after Urban Meyer’s unexpected resignation and led the Buckeyes to a Big Ten championship and college football playoff berth. The state of Ohio was also close to playing the title, but stayed behind in the Fiesta Bowl against Clemson and lost 29-23.

How will it look underground in year 2? One might argue that he was jealous of the state of Ohio with a pre-built program that was already equipped to compete for national titles. What is his encore plan and what should the Ohio state expect in 2020? It has one of the best quarterbacks in the country returning, but loses many key players from last year̵

7;s Big Ten champions.

Let’s take a closer look.

Rewind 2019

Final ranking: No. 3 in CBS Sports 130 | Successes: Big Ten Champions, berth in the college football playoffs

The 2019 season in the US state of Ohio was not much different from the previous two, right up to winning the Big Ten. The Buckeyes won their third conference crown in a row after defeating Wisconsin 34:21. What was different was that the Buckeyes did not suffer a defeat before winning the league. In 2018, it was the shocking 49-20 defeat on the road against Purdue. The previous year it was a 55-24 loss in Iowa. Despite the Big Ten title, the Buckeyes ultimately kept these losses out of the College Football Playoffs.

Without them, the Buckeyes ended the regular season with a 13-0 record and # 2 on the College Football Playoff leaderboard. However, their return to the playoffs would not be long since they lost to Clemson # 3 – controversially in the eyes of many Buckeyes – at the Fiesta Bowl 29-23 A disappointing ending, but still a season that most teams in the nation would envy.

Key departures

  • DE Chase Young: He continued the Ohio State tradition of dressing up a superhuman as an edge rusher. Young led the nation with 16.5 sacks last year, and the Big Ten quarterbacks were all thrilled to have gone to the Washington Redskins with number 2 of the 2020 NFL Draft.
  • RB J.K. Dobbins: He was one of the most productive running backs in the history of Ohio State, and it’s not that Ohio State lacks great backs. Dobbins went with 4,459 career rushing yards and only followed Archie Griffins 5,589 yards for most in program history.
  • DBs Jeff Okudah, Damon Arnette and Jordan Fuller: Okudah was the biggest name, and considering that he was number 3 in the NFL draft, he’s also considered the greatest talent of the three. Arnette was also a first round choice but went 19th to the Las Vegas Raiders. Fuller had to wait until the sixth round for the Los Angeles Rams to take him. In any case, these are three Ohio State high school starters who won’t be back next year. Three players who combined six interceptions and 21 passes separated. They were also a major reason why the state of Ohio led the nation in QBR against (58.17) and yards per attempt against (5.54) last year.
  • LB Malik Harrison: Ohio State linebackers went free to the ball all last season, but nobody got there as often as Harrison. His 75 duels led the team, and he put in 16.5 duels for the loss and 4.5 sacks. He joins Dobbins in Baltimore after being selected by the Ravens in the third round.
  • WR K.J. hill: No player in Ohio history has caught more passes than Hill during his scarlet and gray days. Hill got 201 passes for 2,332 yards and 20 touchdowns. After the seventh round, he is now getting passes for the Los Angeles Chargers.
  • DLs of which Hamilton and Jashon Cornell: While Young attracted the most attention, Hamilton and Cornell were a big part of his success. They couldn’t ignore offensive lines to take care of Young, and the duo combined 10 sacks and 17 duels for the loss. Hamilton was drafted by the Jacksonville Jaguars in the third round, while Cornell went to the Detroit Lions in the seventh round to unite with Okudah.
  • Defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley: He only spent one season as Ohio State defensive coordinator, but as you can see above, it was a successful season. Hafley will try to repeat this success as the new executive in charge at Boston College.

Who’s back

  • QB Justin Fields: When you lose a lot of important players through graduation and the NFL, it’s always nice to have one of the country’s best quarterbacks return. That’s exactly what the Buckeyes in Fields did, who was a finalist in the Heisman Trophy last year thanks to a total of 51 touchdowns and 3,757 yards. Imagine what he might be able to do in his second season on the offensive.
  • WRs Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson: Olave became Ohio’s greatest threat in its second year. He led the state of Ohio at 849 yards (17.33 per reception) and his 12 touchdown grabs were more than any other. Wilson was also impressive as a freshman, scoring 30 passes for 432 yards and five touchdowns. Both actors will assume larger roles in 2020.
  • RB Master Teague III: It was an excellent change to mate with Dobbins. Teague was also effective, racing for 789 yards and four touchdowns on 135 carry. He goes into his second season and tries to take over a larger share of the broadcasts.
  • CB Shaun Wade: The state of Ohio lost a top 10 secondary school selection in Okudah, but don’t worry, there could be another one. That is the kind of talent that Wade showed. He ended the last season with only one interception, but resolved eight passes and had a few sacks.
  • LBs Pete Werner and Tuf Borland: Werner and Borland took second and fourth place in the team in duels and together scored 119 points. They will take over the defense leadership in 2020.
  • DE Zach Harrison: Although he did not play a significant role as a newcomer in 2020, the five-star prospect showed the world why he was rated so highly when he saw the field. He ended the season with 3.5 sacks and five duels against defeat. If you’re looking for the next man to become the Ohio Death Factory, this is an excellent place to start.

Fresh faces

  • RB Trey sermon: He moved from Oklahoma to Ohio and appears to be ready to see the time in the background. Sermon saw his snapshots with the Sooners decrease last season, but in 37 games with the team, he rushed for 2,076 yards and 22 touchdowns, averaging 6.1 yards per carry. Sermon also caught 36 passes for 391 yards and three points.
  • CBs Sevyn Banks and Cam Brown: Both Banks and Brown appear to play a much larger role in 2020 as the Buckeyes are forced to replace most of their secondary school. They have appeared in all 14 games last season and were highly rated high school recruits. (Brown came into town as a broad receiver before moving to the defensive side of the ball.)
  • WRs Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba: Ohio State Recruitment Class 2020 had many top recruits, but of the incoming five-star phenomena, the way to playtime seems to be the clearest for Fleming and Smith-Njigba. We should also be on the lookout for freshmen Gee Scott and Mookie Cooper. The Ohio State Corps in 2020 will be young but talented.
  • Defense coordinator Kerry Coombs: He is not new to the state of Ohio, but Coombs is new to the current staff. He had worked on Meyer’s original staff in Ohio, but has spent the past two years as a defensive coach with the Tennessee Titans on the staff of former Buckeye Mike Vrabel. Now he’s returning to defend after Jeff Hafley’s departure.

Critical games

September 12 in Oregon: It is the largest non-conference game on the Ohio State schedule. While there is never a “good” time to be in an environment as hostile as Autzen Stadium, there are worse times than this. I would rather play Oregon at the start of the season while adding a new QB and other players than later in the year. Especially if I have my own experienced QB like Justin Fields.

October 17 in Michigan State: I’m skeptical of how good the state of Michigan will be in 2020, given Mel Tucker’s late start just before everything was closed. Still, this game is a difficult task for the Buckeyes. It comes the week after a home game against Iowa and a week before perhaps the most difficult game of the season …

October 24 in Penn State: … and this game would be a road trip to Happy Valley to face Penn State. Beaver Stadium has caused problems for the Buckeyes in recent trips. They won there in 2014 and 2018, but both wins were close, including a 27:26 win in 2018. Then there was the 2016 game that Penn State won 24:21. While you can’t rule out other teams in the division due to recent trends, this is the game that the Big Ten East could decide.

November 28 against Michigan: Notice how I described the Penn State game as the “hardest” and not the biggest? That’s because no game on the Ohio State schedule can ever be bigger than the game in Michigan. The Buckeyes have won eight times in a row, and a ninth would be the longest winning streak for both teams in the series’ history. Michigan once won nine straight from 1901-09. I’ll play the odds and say that no one reading this was alive to see this flick.

Outlook 2020

Ohio State starts the season in second place in our pre-season CBS Sports 130, which tells you a few things straight away. The first is that this team is an elite and expectations reflect this. However, if you dig deeper, you’ll find that the only other Big Ten program is in our top 10 Penn State and has crept in at number 9. Based on our leaderboard, a fourth Big Ten title in a row is the expectation for the Buckeyes.

The bigger goal given the leaderboard is that this team shouldn’t just reach the college football playoffs. No, No. 2 states that this is a team that should play for the national title. Well, those are high expectations of any program, but they are expectations that are within reach.

It is difficult to reach the playoffs and it is more difficult to reach the title game. For 99.2% of the teams that strive to achieve it every season, winning everything is unattainable. The state of Ohio is one of the few teams with a realistic chance, largely thanks to the talent pool.

One of the main reasons the state of Ohio was able to separate itself from the rest of the Big Ten is what it started on the recruitment path when Meyer arrived. It not only recruited at a higher level than the conference, but almost every other program in the country. From 2012 to 2012, the average national ranking of the recruitment classes of the state of Ohio was 4.9 according to 247Sports Composite. The worst class was the 2019 class, which finished 14th. This was largely thanks to Meyer to Day’s sales (and it was a class of only 17 players). Well, Day’s 2020 class was fifth in the nation, and the 2021 class is currently in first place. It appears that the hesitation over the state of Ohio was fleeting from the recruits point of view.

For context, let’s compare the average ranking of the last nine Ohio state recruitment classes to those of the Big Ten’s biggest challengers in the field and on the recruitment path.

Ohio State

4.9

Michigan

13.8

Penn State

20.7

Now it is important to note that Jim Harbaugh only came to Michigan in 2015 and James Franklin in Penn State in 2014. Recruitment at both schools has improved among them, but this gives us an idea of ​​the gap that had opened up. A gap that is not easy to close.

All of this is why it is difficult for me to have too many concerns about the upcoming state of Ohio in 2020. Yes, there are many key players that need to be replaced in key positions. But it is Ohio State and it has had these problems before. It also has a QB in Fields, which is perhaps the best Ohio State that has ever entered the field. He’s a damn good ace in the hole that can help overcome potential deficiencies elsewhere.

While the state of Ohio has questions, everyone else in the Big Ten and the country has questions. Few are able to answer them as easily as the state of Ohio. Frankly, anything but a Big Ten title and a playoff place for this team should be seen as a disaster in 2020.




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