The Buckeyes are going to be absolutely stacked in 2022.
Behind the nation's-best offense, Ohio State was a legitimate title contender in 2021, falling just short of the College Football Playoff with a loss to rival Michigan. But the good news for the Buckeyes is that for many of their starters and contributors, that was just the beginning.
The vast majority of Ohio State's production on both sides of the ball will be returning in 2022 – far more than any of last season's other title contenders – making the Buckeyes one of the most dangerous teams in the country looking ahead to next season.
Ohio State (second in SP+, 24th in returning production). Of last year’s top seven teams, per SP+, the six not named Ohio State currently rank an average of 82nd in returning production. That the Buckeyes return a vast majority of last year’s talent might make them 2022's early national title favorites.
With 76 percent of its production returning in 2022 – 70 percent on offense and 82 percent on defense – Ohio State ranks No. 24 in returning production and is one of just two teams to finish in the top-10 last season to return more than 70 percent of its production with Michigan State ranking No. 42 with 72 percent of its production returning.
In contrast, Alabama ranks just No. 65 in returning production with just 65 percent of its production returning while defending champion Georgia ranking No. 96 with just 59 percent returning. Michigan ranks No. 67 with 65 percent returning.
On offense, Ohio State returns a Heisman Trophy finalist at quarterback, a running back who had arguably the best freshman season in school history, and a receiver who already broke multiple single-game and single-season Ohio State records.
On defense, the Buckeyes return even more production than on offense and even add a multi-year starter in Tanner McCalister, but the key during the offseason will be the changes to the scheme and coaching with Jim Knowles taking over the defense and both Tim Walton and Perry Eliano coaching the secondary.
This Buckeye team has the pieces to be one of the most talented and most experienced teams in the country. They just need to put it all together this offseason.