COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State fell short of the College Football Playoff in 2017, but national analysts believe the Buckeyes will be back in the championship hunt in 2018.
Ohio State ranked near the top of a compilation of eight “way too early” polls issued by national outlets in the week following the CFP National Championship Game. The Athletic and Bleacher Report had the Buckeyes as high as No. 2, while all eight polls listed Ohio State among the top four spots.
That seems about right given that during the Urban Meyer era the Buckeyes have never lost more than two games in a season. They’ve perpetually been in the national championship hunt, making the playoff in 2014 and 2016 and narrowly missing the BCS title game or playoff in 2013, 2015 and 2017. Though the Buckeyes will have to replace a quarterback who rewrote the record book, the sheer amount of talent on the roster is enough to suggest that Ohio State should be a top-5 team for the foreseeable future.
2018 Ohio State way-too-early rankings
|Outlet||Ohio State rank|
|The Athletic||No. 2|
|Bleacher Report||No. 2|
|USA Today||No. 3|
|CBS Sports||No. 4|
|Sporting News||No. 4|
|Sports Illustrated||No. 4|
What they’re saying about 2018 Ohio State
Here’s what some of the sites listed above said about Ohio State’s 2018 ranking in their stories.
ESPN: “OSU will have a quarterback battle to watch in the spring; Dwayne Haskins is the favorite to replace J.T. Barrett, but highly regarded Tate Martell is a talented dual-threat quarterback who might bring more creativity to the offense. With J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber expected back, whoever wins the job will have plenty of help.”
USA Today: “The Buckeyes will sorely miss J.T. Barrett’s leadership but should feel confident in Dwayne Haskins’ ability to take the reins of the offense as a sophomore. Like Alabama, OSU will lose a number of major players to the NFL, but the inherent talent base and the addition of former Washington State assistant Alex Grinch as co-defensive coordinator will keep Urban Meyer and his team among the nation’s elite.”
Sports Illustrated: “Losing Barrett will be a blow, but the Buckeyes are no stranger to attrition, and with Dwayne Haskins stepping in to take his place on a full-time bases, plus the returns of running back J.K. Dobbins and defensive end Nick Bosa, things in Columbus will be just fine.”
CBS Sports: ” J.T. Barrett is gone, but Urban Meyer has won at least 11 in each of his seasons in Columbus. There are worse bets than going with that trend. The Big Ten East is loaded. Until further notice, the defending conference champion is going to win it again.”
Athlon: “Urban Meyer has won at least 11 games in each of his six seasons at Ohio State. Despite some key players moving on, the Buckeyes aren’t going to slip too far in the win column. That’s largely due to Meyer and his staff delivering standout recruiting classes, as well as a talented core to build around from the 2017 team. Dwayne Haskins, Joe Burrow and Tate Martell will compete to replace J.T. Barrett at quarterback. The Buckeyes should be able to ease the transition of the new signal caller due to a strong supporting cast. The receiving corps returns its top six performers from 2017, including Parris Campbell (40 catches) and K.J. Hill (56).”