Check your magazine stands.
Nothing screams "college football is nigh!" quite like the annual college football season preview magazines.
With the four major publications – Athlon, Phil Steele, Street & Smith's, and Lindy's – now dispatched, it's officially time to start thinking about the start to the college season, even if we still face quite a bit of uncertainty.
Here's a look at how the four major season preview magazines rank Ohio State and how they see the Buckeyes heading into the 2020 season.
Athlon gave Ohio State the lowest rank of any major preview magazine, but is still exceptionally high on the Buckeyes, ranking them No. 3 in the country, behind only No. 1 Clemson and No. 2 Alabama.
Though Athlon predicts Ohio State to go undefeated and make the College Football Playoff once again behind one of the most talented rosters in the country and likely the most lethal offense in the country, they have concerns about the Buckeye defense after losing three starters in the secondary and the best pass rusher in the country.
Even though this is a team with enough ability to contend and with several upperclassmen occupying key spots, a lot will have to fall into place for OSU to return to the College Football Playoff. With Day under the headset, Fields at the controls and young blazers at the wideout positions, this offense could be electric again. Clearly, Fields will have every chance to confirm why he is a Heisman frontrunner. But are the losses on defense going to prove to be too much to overcome?
Athlon is quite high on Justin Fields, ranking him the No. 2 player in the country behind only Trevor Lawrence. Athlon also likes Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade, ranking them the No. 15 and No. 19 players in the country, respectively. Fields is a second-team All-American along with Shaun Wade, according to Athlon, while Wyatt Davis is an Athlon first-team All-American.
As for a bowl prediction, Athlon has Ohio State meeting Alabama in the College Football Playoff semifinal.
Lindy's views the Buckeyes as the best team in the country heading into the season, ranking them ahead of No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Alabama, and they predict that Ohio State "will emerge as masters of college football" this season.
Ohio State has that gleam in its eye. Yes, the Buckeyes have accomplished a lot in recent years, but not at the end of the season lately. They haven’t won a playoff game since winning it all in 2014. Don’t underestimate that hunger, which will be fueled by some of the best talent in America. And is there a better coaching staff? Bottom line: Ohio State has the look of a national champion.
Lindy's views Ohio State's roster as absolutely loaded, with Justin Fields as the nation's top quarterback, Wyatt Davis as the top guard, Josh Myers as the No. 2 center, and Shaun Wade as the No. 2 cornerback, and Thayer Munford as the fifth-best offensive tackle.
As a result, Lindy's gives five Buckeyes All-American nods with Fields, Davis and Wade all making the first team and Myers and Munford checking in on the second team.
Lindy's expects Ohio State to be the most dominant team in the country and to flex its muscles on the college football world this fall.
Street & Smith is high on the Buckeyes as well, but does not quite view them as the best team in the country heading into next season, but close, ranking Ohio State No. 2 behind only Clemson.
The beat goes on, and Ohio State again will remain among the very small class of teams that truly can win the 2020 national championship. Like most years in Columbus, this is a title-or-bust affair.
Street & Smith gives three Buckeyes All-American nods heading into the season with Wyatt Davis and Shaun Wade each earning first-team honors while Justin Fields – who they also name Ohio State's top pro prospect – earning second-team nods.
The magazine also named some preseason Big Ten superlatives, naming Fields the best passing QB, Master Teague III the most elusive RB, Ryan Day most innovative coach, and of course, Drue Chrisman the Big Ten's best Twitter account.
As for a season prediction, Street & Smith has the Buckeyes making the national title game against Clemson.
Noted football-knower and prognosticator Phil Steele has the Buckeyes as the nation's top team heading into the season, ranking them ahead of No. 2 Clemson and No. 3 Alabama and telling 247Sports that he believes this is Ohio State's year to win the national title.
“I’m going with Ohio State this year,” Steele said. “I was very impressed with what Ryan Day did. I thought Ohio State last year was two touchdowns better than the previous year’s Ohio State team. The 2018 squad allowed over 400 yards per game, had close calls on a weekly basis. Last year, Ohio State just stepped on everybody’s throat from start to finish, dominated every game. Probably should’ve beaten Clemson in the playoff last year.
“They’ve got a veteran quarterback in (Justin Fields), they’ve got three guys that turned down the NFL on the offensive line. The defense will be good as always, and I’ve got a lot of faith in Ryan Day, so I think they pull it out this year.”
Steele sees Ohio State as running the table in the Big Ten behind Fields and a stout and talented offensive line, but if there's any challenger in the conference in his eyes, its Penn State, who he ranks at No. 10 in the country.
“I do think Ohio State’s biggest challenger and the Big Ten is Penn State. When you look at Penn State, they’ve got the majority of the team coming back,” Steele told 247Sports. “…This is a loaded Penn State team and they get Ohio State at home.
"Now you wonder how many folks will be on hand for the whiteout conditions on October the 24th, but we’ll worry about that late October, as long as we’re playing football, we’re happy, right?”
We'll be happy, indeed.