Way-Too-Early Rankings Roundup: Ohio State Ranked As Consensus No. 2 Team in the Country Entering 2022 Season

By Kevin Harrish on January 11, 2022 at 3:20 pm
Ohio State is the consensus No. 2.

Ohio State will enter the 2022 season as a favorite to win the national title yet again.

The 2021 season didn't go quite as the Buckeyes had hoped with Ohio State falling to Michigan for the first time in a decade, missing out on a Big Ten title for the first time since 2016, and missing out on the College Football Playoff for the first time since Ryan Day took over.

Next season, however, still has promise.

Coming off of a big Rose Bowl win, Ohio State will enter the 2022 season with one of the top offenses in the country behind some of the nation's top playmakers and a new-look defense under the leadership of new defensive coordinator Jim Knowles.

The Buckeyes are the consensus No. 2 team in the various way-too-early top-25 polls. Here's a look at what each had to say about Ohio State heading into the 2022 season.

ESPN: #2

Like every other outlet, ESPN has Alabama as the way-too-early No. 1 with Ohio State checking in just behind at No. 2. Here's what ESPN has to say about the Buckeyes.

The Buckeyes just missed making the College Football Playoff for a third straight time under coach Ryan Day, with a humbling 42-27 loss at rival Michigan knocking them out of contention. Much of Ohio State's problems in 2021 can be attributed to the defense. Day hired Jim Knowles, who revamped Oklahoma State's defense the past two seasons, and Knowles will have his work cut out for him. With quarterback C.J. Stroud and running back TreVeyon Henderson coming back, the offense should again be explosive, even with Wilson and Olave turning pro. The receiver corps is in good hands with Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The 2022 season will be demanding, with a home opener against Notre Dame, Big Ten road games against Michigan State and Penn State and divisional crossover games versus Iowa and Wisconsin at home.

While ESPN's projected top teams – Alabama, Ohio State Georgia and Texas A&M – are pretty consistent with other outlets, this list is more optimistic about Michigan's 2022 season than most, ranking the Wolverines as their way-too-early No.  5 team.

All in all, five of Ohio State's 2022 opponents make ESPN's list: No. 5 Michigan, No. 6 Notre Dame, No. 10 Michigan State, No. 15 Iowa, and No. 24 Wisconsin.

Penn State, which is ranked on two other lists, is unranked by ESPN.

USA Today: #2

USA Today's top three are the same as every other outlet: No. 1 Alabama, No. 2 Ohio State and No. 3 Georgia and they expect the Buckeyes to be a title contender once again behind a prolific offense.

The Rose Bowl gave an indication of what the Buckeyes' offense will look like without receivers Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson. Don't expect any slowdown from a unit that ranked No. 1 in total offense and scoring. C.J. Stroud should again contend for the Heisman Trophy and receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba might join him in New York. Changes on the defensive staff illustrate the concerns with that side of the ball. Denzel Burke was a bright spot in the secondary as a freshman, but there are needed improvements everywhere. Ohio State has recruited well, so the players are there.

USA Today is high on the Big Ten, with four Big Ten teams cracking the top-11 of their way-too-early rankings.

Six of Ohio State's 2022 opponents make USA Today's rankings: No. 8 Michigan, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 10 Iowa, No. 11 Wisconsin, No. 17 Michigan State and No. 20 Penn State.

CBS Sports: #2

CBS has a familiar top three – Alabama, Ohio State and Georgia – and sees the Buckeyes as the frontrunner in the Big Ten.

The Rose Bowl served notice that two Heisman frontrunners behind Young might be C.J. Stroud and Jaxon Smith-Njigba. The Buckeyes should be favored to win the Big Ten again, but to get to the next level, the defense needs a lot of work. The hiring of Jim Knowles from Oklahoma State was huge.

CBS is not particularly high on the Big Ten at the top as Ohio State is the only team from the conference to even crack the top-10. Michigan is the next highest-ranked Big Ten team, checking in at No. 11.

Five of Ohio State's 2022 opponents crack CBS' list: No. 7 Notre Dame, No. 11 Michigan, No. 19 Wisconsin, No. 20 Michigan State, and No. 24 Penn State.

Iowa, which is on every other way-too-early ranking – ranked as high as No. 10 by USA Today – is unranked by CBS.

Sports Illustrated: #2

Sports Illustrated followed the consensus with its top-three teams, ranking Alabama No. 1, Ohio State No. 2 and Georgia No. 3 and sees the Buckeyes as a title contender behind a loaded offense and a new-look defense.

Last we saw of the Buckeyes, quarterback C.J. Stroud was throwing for 573 yards and six touchdowns, Jaxon Smith-Njigba was breaking a bowl record with 347 receiving yards, and Marvin Harrison Jr. was nabbing three TD catches. They’ll all be back in 2022, and Jim Knowles arrives from Oklahoma State to shore up the defense. Buckeyes should be loaded.

Five of Ohio State's 2022 opponents crack Sports Illustrated's list: No. 7 Michigan, No. 9 Notre Dame, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 17 Wisconsin, and No. 22 Iowa.

Penn State was left off the list while No. 24 Purdue cracked the top-25, giving the Big Ten six teams represented.

SportingNews: #2

Once again, Ohio State finds itself ranked No. 2 in a familiar top-three with Alabama ranked No. 1 and Georgia at No. 3 as SportingNews sees the Buckeyes as title contenders yet again.

The Buckeyes return quarterback C.J. Stroud, who finished fourth in the Heisman Trophy voting this season. Ohio State led the nation with 45.7 points per game, and the supporting cast includes TreVeyon Henderson, Jaxon Smith-Njigba and Marvin Harrison Jr. Ohio State hired Oklahoma State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles to renovate the defense, which is flush with four-star talent. Ohio State bookends the season with home games against Notre Dame and Michigan. 

SportingNews ranks Notre Dame higher than any other outlet giving the Irish a way-too-early ranking of No. 5, which would set up a top-five showdown in Columbus to start the 2022 season.

This list features the fewest of Ohio State's 2022 opponents with just four cracking the way-too-early top-25: No. 5 Notre Dame, No. 7 Michigan, No. 15 Michigan State, and No. 17 Iowa.

Penn State and Wisconsin – which is ranked on every other list and as high as No. 11 by USA Today – were listed in the "just missed" section.

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