Realistically, it's hard to argue with being ranked behind Michigan Sate right now. The last time the two teams met - at a neutral site - Sparty won by ten points. OSU had a veteran offensive line, a bruising NFL calibur running back and the B1G Player of the Year at quarterback. As everyone knows they're all gone, now. This year's new bunch didn't do much in week one to impress the voters.
An argument can be made, though, that none of that really matters. First of all - this year's team will have an entirely different look. There will be no speed demon with a cannon for an arm at quarterback - but the Buckeye faithful had to like what they saw from J.T. Barrett in the opener - calm, cool and collected - only one glaring error.
The new o-line started out rather shakily as many expected it would, but seemed to play better as the second half progressed. Because of the inconsistent line play, Barrett was not able to put the speed he's surrounded by on full display - but there were flashes of it.
The major weakness of last year's team - that awful pass defense - has, hopefully, been addressed. If so, this team could be very special - because it seems to truly be a team. The players' reaction to Miller's injury was quite impressive. It appears to have helped them pull together.
In that regard, perhaps the lower the expectations are from the pollsters - the better - at least, in the early going. They still have to be in the top four at the end of the season, after all.
But if Michigan State beats Oregon saturday - and if both MSU and OSU keep winning - the Buckeye's will have the opportunity to impress the voters when it really counts - in November.
Let 'em disrespect us now.