Returning Starters – Offense: 8 Defense: 7
Preview: Ohio State proved without a doubt that they were the best team in the country in 2014 as they reached the college playoff and went on to handle both Alabama and Oregon on their way to winning the title. Ohio State is loaded with returning talent as they have 15 starters back and the Buckeyes arguably have the three best QBs in the nation currently on their roster. Urban Meyer has already had an incredible ride at Ohio State picking up a 38-3 record in his first three seasons as the head man.
Ohio State is trending up on the offensive side of the ball with 8 returning starters back to a unit that exploded under third string QB Cardale Jones at the end of last season. The question will be who starts the season between proven QBs Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones, and J.T. Barrett? With where the competition is right now it would seem Jones has the inside track to earn the job given he has the best arm of the three, he’s also a threat to run the ball, and he has a national title under his belt. The O-line returns 4 starters to a unit that will be strong in both pass protection and run blocking. RB is also a position of strength with returning RB Ezekiel Elliott. The WR position is also in good shape and the unit will build around Thomas, Marshall, and Wilson.
Ohio State didn’t have the best defense in the nation last season, but the unit was still solid and good enough to hold an offense like Oregon to just 20 points in the title game. The scary thing is Ohio State is likely to be better on this side of the ball in 2015. The D-line returns 2 starters and the unit will be led by standouts Joey Bosa, who’s coming off Big Ten Defensive POY honors, and Andolphus Washington. The LB corps also returns 2 starters and will be led by guys like Perry, Lee, and McMillan. The secondary will also be a position of strength on a defense that’ll be tough to get yards on in 2015. CBs Apple and Grant are solid along with safeties Powell and Bell.
Prediction: Ohio State was expected to fall off a bit last season after losing Braxton Miller, but the team was resilient on their way to winning the title. The Buckeyes will be overwhelming favorites to win all of their games and it’s up to this roster and coaching staff to not get complacent. Look for Ohio State to run through their conference slate unscathed again in 2015 on their way to winning the Big Ten title and getting back to the college playoff.
Projected Record: 12-0 (8-0)