ESPN Writer Lists Ohio State No. 2 In ‘Way Too Early Rankings” For 2015


Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes fans hold up signs celebrating their victory over the Oregon Ducks in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Ohio State won 42-20. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Maybe’s Mark Schlabach just likes being controversial and is searching for page views. How else do you explain the writer putting the Buckeyes in the No. 2 slot of his “Way Too Early” college football rankings for the 2015 season?

Being behind Alabama would be one thing…but TCU is ranked No. 1? Come on Mark, at least make the column worthy of a debate!

The Horned Frogs offense will be electric, but at this point, how can anyone pick against an Ohio State team that just won a national championship with freshmen and sophomores playing significant roles?

Schlabach acknowledged the Buckeyes are returning a stacked group in 2015, but his reasoning for why the Buckeyes might finish lower than No. 2 is laughable.

Schlabach writes:

"“OSU’s nonconference schedule isn’t easy, with a season opener at Virginia Tech and home games against Hawaii and MAC foes Northern Illinois and Western Michigan.”"

OK, Virginia Tech still has scoreboard from last season, but seriously? Does Schlabach really think Urban Meyer is sweating going to Blacksburg, in addition to playing Hawaii, NIU and Western Michigan?

Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman Joey Bosa (97) tackles Oregon Ducks running back Byron Marshall (9) during the second quarter in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

There will be some change in Columbus, as the Buckeyes are losing offensive coordinator Tom Herman, who accepted the head coaching job at Houston. But Ohio State’s talent should help the program succeed, no matter whom Meyer names as his new O.C.

The quarterback position will also be continuously monitored, as Meyer’s selection of a signal caller may forecast how the season plays out. But first, Meyer will have to take inventory of what he has. As an underclassmen, Cardale Jones has until Thursday to declare for the NFL Draft. Braxton Miller said he wants to stay, but rumors have surfaced that he may transfer, or even go pro. J.T. Barrett was adamant that he isn’t going anywhere, so at the very least, the Buckeyes will have a guy who finished fifth in the Heisman voting returning to play quarterback.

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There’s also some other major weapons returning on offense. Ezekiel Elliott is just a sophomore and is coming off a historic postseason. His backup, Curtis Samuel had a strong freshman season and also looks promising.

At wideout, Jalin Marshall has shown play-making ability, as has Michael Thomas, who caught 14 balls for 160 yards in the Buckeyes’ three postseason games. Dontre Wilson will also be welcomed back as a weapon after sustaining an injury against Michigan State.

The Buckeye offensive line also appears to be in good shape, with four of its five starters eligible to return.

The defense also returns stars in defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington, in addition to stud linebacker Darron Lee.

Freshman Raekwon McMillan will see more reps at linebacker with the graduation of Curtis Grant, while the Buckeye secondary might be one of the best in the country as freshman Eli Apple will return, while Tyvis Powell and Vonn Bell will just be juniors.

Incoming recruits are also sure to play a role, as Meyer welcomes the seventh-ranked recruiting class in the country to Columbus next fall, according to 247Sports.

Schlabach’s rankings are what they are. It is way too early, and it’s always fun to speculate. But if his aim was to be controversial, mission accomplished.

What do you make of Schlabach’s rankings?

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