Between now and the start of college football season, I’ll present you with 10 college football teams that have a realistic chance to win the national title this season. Today, the series continues with Ohio State.
Ohio State Buckeyes (2013 schedule)
2012 record: 12-0
No postseason competition (banned from postseason)
Why they could win it all: A perfect season in 2012 is a good enough argument, especially considering the Buckeyes return stud quarterback Braxton Miller who carried them to that spotless record last season. He rushed for 1,271 yards, best on the team in 2012, but the offense passed for just 181.5 yards per game — near the bottom of the Division I rankings.
Word is Miller has been working tirelessly to improve his passing, however, and that’s really scary for opposing defenses.
The Buckeyes have a very talented roster that is being touted to be as speedy as your garden-variety SEC team, which is a great sign for a team playing in the slower Big Ten conference.
OSU has a cake schedule as well. Their toughest nonconference game will come when they play at California on Sept. 14, and if the Wisconsin Badgers aren’t any good this year, it’s tough to find another real challenge on Ohio State’s schedule before they go to Michigan on Nov. 30. Will Northwestern give the Buckeyes a tough game? Probably, but the talent disparity will be noticeable.
(More in this series: Why Alabama could win yet another title)
Why they might not win it all: Distractions, for one. Carlos Hyde, the team’s best running back in 2012, has been dealing with legal problems in the offseason. Same with defensive back Bradley Roby. A few other veteran players are starting the season serving suspensions, and while they’re not in any danger of losing the season opener to Buffalo, if these problems persist, it could knock the Buckeyes down a peg.
Now, throw in a little pressure. For the first two years of his career, Miller has led a team that was torn down and placed on probation. There was no pressure to do anything at all in the big picture. Sure, they were still playing to win every game, but the stakes are raised in 2013. We’ll see if this squad is ready to handle the added attention and pressure of every game truly counting.