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How Each Top Team Wins the Title

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BrutusB's picture
June 2, 2020 at 11:01am

This was a good read from Bill Connelly.  He basically ranks the teams on the number of "ifs" that need to happen for them to win the title.  Clemson / OSU / Bama are currently in his top tier at only requiring two things.  Here's the OSU bit:

If ... the pass rush holds up. Chase Young was unfair. Despite being increasingly double-teamed as 2019 went on, the now-former Buckeyes defensive end generated pressure on 19% of his pass rushes (easily the most among players with 200-plus attempts) and sacked QBs 16.5 times (also the most). It's been a while since Ohio State didn't have an incredible pass-rusher, but that bar's probably too high for anyone to clear.

One way or another, the Buckeyes will have to continue generating high pressure. The OSU secondary has to replace first-round cornerbacks Jeff Okudah and Damon Arnette and safeties Jordan Fuller and Brendon White, and while corner Shaun Wade is a proven entity and fellow juniors Cameron Brown and Sevyn Banks have shined when given the chance, the best favor you can give a newish secondary is a stressed-out quarterback. Ends Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith are former blue-chippers, but neither enjoyed even a 10% pressure rate; senior Jonathon Cooper's return from an injury will help too, but new coordinator Kerry Coombs might have to get a bit creative to get pressure.

If ... young, high-upside wide receivers prove that upside. The Buckeyes' offense was balanced and brilliant in 2019, and it returns quarterback Justin Fields and three linemen who earned all-conference honors, but J.K. Dobbins (2,003 rushing yards) and three of last season's top five receivers all depart.

No one is a sure thing, but the replacements are close to it. Carries will go to some combination of sophomores Master Teague III and Marcus Crowley, redshirt freshman Steele Chambers and Oklahoma transfer Trey Sermon, while Chris Olave and blue-chip sophomore Garrett Wilson return after combining for 79 catches and 1,281 yards. Still, diversity was a huge plus in the Buckeyes' receiving corps (six players caught 20-plus passes) and that means a few options from a pool of other recent blue-chippers -- sophomores Jameson Williams, Jaelen Gill and injury-prone Kamryn Babb, plus four incoming freshmen led by all-world Julian Fleming -- have to produce immediately, especially with a Week 2 trip to Oregon looming.

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