ESPN released its final power rankings Wednesday morning, and unsurprisingly, national champion Alabama sits atop the list. Five Big Ten teams were among the 25 programs listed, with Ohio State topping out at No. 5. Wisconsin was ranked No. 7, Penn State was ranked No. 8, Michigan State was ranked No. 13 and Northwestern was ranked No. 18.
The Buckeyes also finished No. 5 in the AP Poll, and more importantly, the College Football Playoff. Ohio State went on to beat USC, 24-7, in the 2017 Cotton Bowl, but Buckeyes players are already making bold declarations about next season’s national championship game.
Next year’s returners on defense will get the chance to work with new assistant coach Alex Grinch, the highly touted former Washington State defensive coordinator who was sought out by a litany of national powerhouses. The Cougars’ defense ranked 23rd in S&P+ in 2017, allowing just 24.4 points per game.