Voters in the AP Top 25 poll are big believers in Ohio State football this season.
The Buckeyes debuted at No. 2 in the AP’s preseason poll, which was released Monday. The Amway Coaches Poll had Ohio State ranked second when it released its list Aug. 3. Alabama was in the top spot of both polls.
Ohio State will be a more experienced and more talented team this season than it was last fall. Fifteen starters return, and the Buckeyes signed one of the most impressive recruiting classes in program history in February. Voters in the coaches poll and the AP Top 25 have provided a consensus that Ohio State is one of the best teams in the country and the strongest team in the Big Ten. Coach Urban Meyer hasn’t tried to shy away from that, either. At Big Ten Media Days, he addressed his team’s status as a preseason favorite of voters.
“Ohio State is always going to be there,” he said. “I mean, it should be one of the top schools in our conference. And other than that, I think that’s just respect for our players, respect that we recruited some good players and means no consequence at all in how we do our business.”
Ohio State enters 2017 hoping to show off a revamped offense. The Buckeyes replaced offensive coordinator Ed Warinner with Kevin Wilson, which was viewed as one of the best coaching hires of the offseason. Additionally, new quarterbacks coach Ryan Day was hired to take over for Tim Beck. Wilson and Day have been charged with reigniting an offense that went cold at the end of the 2016 season.
Senior quarterback J.T. Barrett’s play will be of particular interest. He finished fifth in Heisman Trophy voting as a redshirt freshman in 2014, but his accuracy declined in each of the last two seasons. Substandard play from the offensive line and wide receivers also contributed to Ohio State’s scoring struggles, but both of those units have made strides in the offseason toward correcting that.