The 2017 college football season officially ended last night, which means it's officially time to look forward to next year. It's early, but things are looking good for the Buckeyes.
CBS, Sports Illustrated, USA Today and ESPN each put together a set of way-too-early top-25 rankings, and Ohio State finds itself in the top four in each of them.
CBS ranks the Buckeyes at No. 4, behind No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Georgia.
I know J.T. Barrett is gone, but Urban Meyer has won at least 11 in each of his seasons in Columbus. There are worse bets than going with that trend. The Big Ten East is loaded. Until further notice, the defending conference champion is going to win it again.
Ohio State is joined by three other Big Ten teams in the top seven, with Michigan State at No. 5, Penn State at No. 6 and Wisconsin and No. 7. Michigan, meanwhile, comes in at No. 14.
Sports Illustrated: #4
Sports Illustrated also has the Buckeyes at No. 4 and behind the same teams, just in a slightly different order, with Georgia at No. 1, followed by No. 2 Alabama and No. 3 Clemson.
Losing Barrett will be a blow, but the Buckeyes are no stranger to attrition, and with Dwayne Haskins stepping in to take his place on a full-time bases, plus the returns of running back J.K. Dobbins and defensive end Nick Bosa, things in Columbus will be just fine.
SI has two more Big Ten teams cracking the top 10 with No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 7 Penn State. No. 22 Michigan and No. 25 Northwestern bring the Big Ten to five teams in the top 25.
USA Today: #3
USA Today has a more favorable view of the Buckeyes, ranking them at No. 3 behind No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama, and just above No. 4 Georgia.
The Buckeyes will sorely miss J.T. Barrett’s leadership but should feel confident in Dwayne Haskins’ ability to take the reins of the offense as a sophomore. Like Alabama, OSU will lose a number of major players to the NFL, but the inherent talent base and the addition of former Washington State assistant Alex Grinch as co-defensive coordinator will keep Urban Meyer and his team among the nation’s elite.
USA Today has three other Big Ten teams cracking the top ten with Wisconsin at No. 5, Penn State at No. 6 and Michigan State at No. 10. They also rank Michigan at No. 16 as the Wolverines are the only other Big Ten team to crack their top 25.
ESPN also looks favorably on Ohio State, ranking the Buckeyes No. 3 behind No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Clemson and ahead of No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Georgia.
The Buckeyes fell just short of reaching the CFP for the third time in four seasons, but they finished with a five-game win streak, including a 24-7 victory over USC in the Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic.
OSU will have a quarterback battle to watch in the spring; Dwayne Haskins is the favorite to replace Barrett, but highly regarded Tate Martellis a talented dual-threat quarterback who might bring more creativity to the offense. With J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber expected back, whoever wins the job will have plenty of help.
Urban Meyer has brought on Washington State's Alex Grinch, a two-time Broyles Award nominee, to be co-defensive coordinator. The Buckeyes will have to survive three difficult road games to stay in CFP contention in 2018: TCU (in Arlington, Texas), Penn State and Michigan State.
ESPN has two other Big Ten teams in its top 25: No. 6 Wisconsin and No. 9 Michigan State. It also ranks Michigan at No. 13 – the only other Big Ten team in its top 25.
Staying true to this trend, the Buckeyes are tied for the third best odds to win the 2018 national title, according to Bovada. Here are the current odds for a a few selected teams:
- Bama 5/2
- Clemson 6/1
- OSU 8/1
- UGA 8/1
- UM 10/1
- PSU 12/1
- OU 18/1
- UT 25/1
- Miami 25/1
- Wisco 25/1
- MSU 25/1