Will Ohio State football continue their dominance this season?
Expectations were high this season for The Ohio State Buckeyes football team as they came into the preseason polls ranked second in the country. The only question seemed to be: how would a team full of freshmen be able to handle the pressure of being a part of the largest dynasty in college sports?
After last season nine Buckeyes declared for the draft, head coach Urban Meyer was again left with the need to rebuild the core of his team for the second year in a row. In 2016, twelve Ohio State players got drafted, the second highest in OSU football history, with five going into the top twenty and three going into the top ten. The following season, even after rebuilding their whole team, the Buckeyes still impressively made it to the College Football Playoffs before losing to the eventual National Champions, The Clemson Tigers, in a 0-31 game. Constantly losing most of their starters is not a problem for Urban Meyer and the rest of the coaching staff. Last year they pulled in the second best recruiting class in the country, proving once again he is one of the best recruiters in the game.
With fifth year senior J.T. Barrett as their quarterback, fans were hopeful to watch his season after the record breaking year he had last season. Many people wondered if he could follow up his breakout freshman season with two more years before declaring for the draft. Last winter many fans were surprised that he would be returning for his senior season and not going to the draft, after he struggled in the end of last season throwing for less than 350 yards and only one touchdown in the last three games of the season.
After a strong performance in the second half of their opening game against Indiana the Buckeyes held strong at number two. The next week after a disappointing loss to Oklahoma, the Buckeyes fell in the rankings. After easily beating Army and UNLV Ohio State fell even more in the rankings, and for the first time in 42 weeks they were ranked below the top ten at eleven. Before last week they held the longest streak for consecutive weeks ranked in the top ten.
Now the only way the Ohio State Buckeyes can make it into the playoffs would be if they won out the rest of their schedule and put up impressive wins against top ten opponents such as Penn State and Michigan. OSU certainly has a difficult schedule but the one question that remains is whether or not they can beat their tough opponents. Big Ten play starts next Saturday as the Buckeyes travel to New Jersey to face off against Rutgers. After that they will have to play the always tough Big Ten for the rest of the season, with winning being a must if they want to continue their hopes of making the playoffs for the third time in four years.
Fans of Ohio State will now spend the rest of their season hoping for the Buckeyes to continue to win, as the pressure piles on to J.T Barrett to lead the Buckeyes to a postseason victory. Can the Buckeyes become the first team to win two national championships in the playoff era, or will their season end in heartbreak for the many dedicated fans?