Only four college football teams have repeated as national champion since the mid-1970s. Can Ohio State do it this season?
Five reasons Ohio State will repeat:
1. The schedule.
Virginia Tech, Penn State and Minnesota appear to be the only opponents who will be even somewhat challenging for Ohio State before late November when it plays Michigan State and Michigan back to back to end the regular season.
OSU has two quarterbacks who could start almost anywhere in the country and another quarterback who could become one of its best receivers. It has a Heisman Trophy candidate running back and a first-round NFL draft choice on the defensive line. The list goes on and on.
3. Urban Meyer.
OSU’s coach has won three national championships. He has done this before.
Ohio State learned what happens if you aren’t properly prepared for a game when it lost to Virginia Tech last season. It learned how to play under extreme pressure when just winning the Big Ten championship game wasn’t enough, it had to win it big time. And it learned it could beat the big dogs in college football when it knocked off Alabama and Oregon.
For a team that has been the toast of college football since January, OSU has done a good job of keeping the focus on the team, not the individuals. The players have had fun with it but seemed to know where the line they shouldn’t cross was, with the exception of the four who will be sitting out the Virginia Tech game.
Five reasons Ohio State won’t repeat:
1. The schedule.
Michigan State comes to OSU on Nov. 21 for a huge game a week before the Buckeyes go to Michigan. And that would be followed by the Big Ten championship game and two playoff games.
2. Stuff happens.
A turnover at the wrong time, an injury, a suspension or the whole team just not being ready to play against a good, but not great opponent could bring a dream season to a screeching halt.
3. Defensive line questions.
Defensive lineman Adolphus Washington disagreed when a reporter at Big Ten media days suggested there were questions about Ohio State’s defensive line this season. “Who says that?” Washington asked.
But there are questions about the defensive line. Joey Bosa looks like a first-round NFL draft pick and Washington looks like he has a chance to play on Sundays. But OSU must get a decent pass rush from the defensive end opposite Bosa and Michael Bennett will not be replaced easily.
4. The kicking game.
Ohio State’s offense was so efficient at getting touchdowns that Sean Nuernberger hitting only 13 of 20 field goal attempts didn’t matter last season. He is untested in situations where the outcome of the game depends on a field goal.
5. Something no one is thinking about.
Winning it all last year with a third-team quarterback was a surprise. Losing this year could also come from a surprise.