College football rankings are a year-round game these days and while the purists might despise or scoff at late April polls, we see them for what they are: just something else to chew on while we endure the Long Wait.
The first of the post-spring-but-pre-Memorial-Day-arrests variety comes to us from Andy Staples of SI who has the Buckeyes 9th
behind a top five of Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC and Virginia Tech.
Sounds about right -- that top four is burly. You could take issue with VT, Oklahoma State (6), Ole Miss (7) or Oregon (8) coming in ahead of the Buckeyes, but Ohio State has the fewest number of returning starters of any team in the top 15 and the second-fewest of any team in the top 25. All praise be to Terrelle.
It will be interesting to see where they check-in once Steele, the AP and Coaches polls come out, but the last time the Buckeyes started the season 9th in the AP poll Tressel had one of his more challenging years in town when the 2004 squad ultimately finished 20th (oh, thank you, Iowa, for that soul-cleansing). I don't see 2009 playing out like that season, but getting into the top five will be a challenge.
Penn State was the only other Big Ten team making an appearance in this quite imaginary poll and the Bearcats, Ohio's BCS Team, checks in at 21.