It's Never Too Early to Look at the 2014 College Football Season

By Kyle Rowland on January 8, 2014 at 10:25a
Braxton Miller's return could mean a national championship for Ohio State.

In an examination of far-too-early preseason predictions for the 2014 college football season, it appears most pundits believe Ohio State will find itself in the thick of the first College Football Playoff title hunt. CollegeFootballTalk went all in and has the Buckeyes No. 1, citing the return of Braxton Miller and head coach Urban Meyer's ability to mold a championship roster. 

ESPN's Mark Schlabach has defending national champion Florida State ranked first with Ohio State coming in at No. 9. The myriad losses on both sides of the ball contributed to his ranking of the Buckeyes. The same line of thinking was used by the Big Lead, which has Ohio State ranked seventh. 

USA Today, Sports on Earth and CBS are all high on the Buckeyes, ranking them fourth, fifth and sixth, respectively. The most popular No. 1 is the Seminoles, which comes as little surprise since they bring back several playmakers on both sides of the ball, including Heisman Trophy-winning quarterback Jameis Winston. 

Ohio State has the fourth-best odds at winning the first playoff, according to Bovada, which placed the Buckeyes at 10/1. Florida State, Alabama and Stanford are ahead of Ohio State. 


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Killer nuts's picture

Wonder where we'd be if Braxton went pro

Hovenaut's picture

Others receiving votes.....

TMac's picture

a category Auburn was in back in August. 

ONE Not Done!

Thomas's picture

I might be wrong, but I don't think they received one pre season vote.

TMac's picture

You are correct!!

ONE Not Done!

Kurt's picture

Back in June with Phil Steele was counting down to his number one team (and projected title winner) he arrived at #4, leaving 3 teams unknown (he realeases one team a day until #1 and the release of his magazine).  My girlfriend (Auburn alum) and I were looking at the list and knew that he'd have Alabama #1 and OSU #2.  The question we had was who he'd have at #3.  In review all of the other 40 teams on his list Auburn and Florida State were the 2 missing from the list.  Given that Phil loves to pick surprise teams I thought there might be a very remote chance he'd have Auburn that high in his preseason to set himself apart from eveyone else.  Turns out of course he did not, it was FSU.  
So what all of this speaks to is how drastically underrated coaching talent and schemes are in determining these (arbitrary) polls.  Everyone is much more keen to focus on a big recruiting class or a returning star player than the arrival of a genius head coach/offensive coordinator that can work with any random assortment of roster talent.  Everyone has advanced metrics and power ranking for game stats etc, but no one has figured out (or perhaps even thought about) coaching talent.

TheBadOwl's picture

He hasn't announced yet, but if he comes back, I'll be extremely happy and it's great for our team.
With that said, look at the last two Heisman trophy winners. Both were redshirt freshmen who took over for extremely talented, yet slightly frustrating quarterbacks. Both Manziel and Winston had something that their predecessors lacked: poise.
Who's to say that JT Barrett isn't the next Manziel or Winston. Dude's crazy talented and his intangibles are off the charts. I honestly believe that he will win a Heisman and a national championship here.

When I walked in this morning and saw the flag was at half mast I thought, "Alright, another bureaucrat ate it." but then I saw it was Li'l Sebastian. Half mast is too high. Show some damn respect.

ghalephoto's picture

Braxton is back next year.

Chief B1G Dump's picture

Good news is that we just have to make it into the top 4 moving forward...and then it will play out on the field.
And then we wont have to worry as much about the opinions of the Mays, Pollacks, Palmers, Finebaums of the world.

fanfarris's picture

You make good points Dumpino.But for it to be a legit playoff system,you need 8 teams.Then you really don't have to worry about all these talking Aholes.I wonder who first coined that phrase!! Was it Henry Miller ? or william burroghs?


PittBuckeye's picture

I think they have decent odds of beating everyone on their schedule, and I'd like to see them in a playoff. Otherwise I won't be too interested in the whole thing.

bassplayer7770's picture

But of course Stanford is ranked ahead of the Buckeyes.  The media's love fest for Stanford ranks only behind the SEC and (now) Florida State.
Regardless, I'm having my doubts about next season unless the defensive staff experiences a major shake up.

Woodshed's picture

This x1000000.
i saw this and my first thought was "Stanford?? Really? Stanford??" Unreal.

rock flag and eagle's picture

I don't think it's unreal.  Stanford finished ranked higher than Ohio State this year (AP, tied with OSU for 10th in the Coaches poll) and they return more starters than Ohio State (15 to 13).
Both OSU and Stanford struggled in the same area: pass defense.  But, Stanford was young and will return all four starters.  OSU only returns two, and they are losing their best DB.  Stanford will likely improve on pass defense next year due to returning experience.  OSU?  Who knows what they will put on the field.
Even if you don't agree with Bovada odds, it seems a stretch to call faith in Stanford "unreal," considering that they performed just as well as OSU this year and return more proven commodities.

Woodshed's picture

I said absolutely nothing about osu.
I am replying to the notion that stanford is overrated. imo they are and have been for the last couple years. Their 18 returning starters lost to Utah this year and I just don't think the PAC12 is that good.

rock flag and eagle's picture

Fair enough.  I shouldn't have assumed you comparing OSU and Stanford.  The comment you agreed with (x1,000,000) did.  I guess I should have directed my comment to that post.
Thanks for not responding with the impetuous click of a mouse, but rather with a fair comment.
I personally don't think Stanford has been overrated.  I think David Shaw is very overrated, but not Stanford.  When I watched Harbaugh roll out extra heavy sets, or run power on third and short, I always thought "Damn, that's bad ass."  When I watch Shaw do similar things, I just feel like he's doing a gimmicky version of Harbaugh's bad ass-ness. An impression of Jimmy H, if you will.

Nutinpa's picture

I agree with this.  While flattered by the ranking, only a S&G glasses wearer would have the Buckeyes ranked # 1, especially with this sieve of a Defense....while not even ranking Sparty at all.   Add to it, the recipe for beating the Buckeyes was perfected by Sparty and Clemson (dare Miller to beat you in the air) I would struggle with that ranking with a straight face.
Some strange selections by the writer, IMHO. 
I see the Buckeyes ranked more reasonably around 8- 10th.

GoBucksToledo's picture

Assuming the play "Stanford football" every week.

FROMTHE18's picture

I think barring some ridiculous purposeful attempt at avoiding improvement, I see this team being much more complete next year. I still think we drop the game in East Lansing, but an 11-1 regular season is very possible. There could obviously be mishaps in the offseason regarding players, injuries (knock on wood for both), but I think at least on paper, and an assumption Fickell and the defensive staff get theirs heads out of their asses, also Braxton finally developing a touch pass/short pass game, we are in business. One loss will drop us out of the playoff primarily because the media still has a chub for SEC teams and OSU's abysmal defensive performances in the last 3 games, even if its a loss to an undefeated Michigan State team at their place. I actually think the young inexperienced guys who will be stepping in for departed players may actually be an improvement. Dont think we win the national title next year (I think 2015 is the year), but definitely could see a 1-loss OSU team.

TilstheHun3's picture

Here's the schedule for next year:
vs. Navy, vs. Virginia Tech, vs. Kent State, vs. Cincinnati, @ Maryland, vs. Rutgers, @ Penn State, vs. Illinois, @ Michigan State, @ Minnesota, vs. Indiana, vs. Missagain.
Top 3 Toughest Games: vs. Virginia Tech, @ MSU, vs. Michigan... Then the B1G Champ Game.
Definitely looks like they can win all of these games. It is not easy to run the table but they have a good chance to do it. There are obviously a ton of questions to be answered about next season's team but if they stay healthy, this team has just about as good of a shot to get into the playoff as anyone.
The real question is, what happens then? The Chase Continues.

What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?

cplunk's picture

Navy is a tough opener to a season when you have a defense that wasn't very good last year. That's a danger game just due to timing.
I'll be there. So glad I get to go to two this year- Navy in Baltimore and Maryland.

USMC11917's picture

Good news is they are not a phenomenal passing team.

Buckeyevstheworld's picture

Good news is they are not a phenomenal passing team.

Stefon Diggs is going to be a problem.

"YOLO" = I'm about to do something extremely ignorant/stupid & I need an excuse to do it.

TilstheHun3's picture

Also good news, they are still Navy...

What is this? A center for ants?!? How can we be expected to teach children to learn how to read if they can't even fit inside the building?

gwalther's picture

"Better watch out for Cincinnati since they're almost as good as Ohio State, they just dont get the respect." - 50% of UC Alums/Bearcat fans. LOLOLOLOL.

Class of 2008

MichaelJ721984's picture

I never used to care but I have some friends that went there and my God you'd think Ohio State people killed their families the way the talk about us. I now refer to them as the BitchCats.

Michigan sucks.

otrain2416's picture

I really hope V. Tech is ranked early. Then them Cincy, and Navy have good seasons after we play them. 

We were born to love Ohio State and hate that team up north.

Indy_Buck87's picture

With Meyer as coach and the talent we haveor will have just sharpy us in the top 5 for the next 10 years.

I know of only two things that are infinite, space and human stupidity.....and I'm not sure about space". Albert Einstein.

ABrown07's picture

I hate pre-season polls

I don't like nice people. I like tough, honest people.

-Woody Hayes

Northbrook's picture

And you can never have too many top flight kickers on scholarship.

st pete bch buckeye's picture

Ohio state will be better on offense and defense(dline returns top 10 players) next season.  they should run the table if they win at msu.

BeijingBucks's picture

We lose Hyde.  that's at least one pole position.  New OLine.. .that's another 2 pole positions.. We lose our only experienced Receiver who actually made separation..  our only LB.  period.   Our smooth jazz...
how are we ranked in the top 5 of anyone?
We need to get an infusion of these jazzy freshmen ASAP before we start talking about playoffs.

None can love freedom heartily, but good men; the rest love not freedom, but license. ~ John Milton