Take Two: Will Ohio State win the national championship?
Take Two returns with a daily offering tackling a handful of issues in the college football landscape. Rivals.com National Recruiting Analyst Adam Gorney lays out the situation and then receives takes from Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell and a local expert from the Rivals.com network of team sites.
Rivals.com National Recruiting Director Mike Farrell, ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit and Sports Illustrated’s Bruce Feldman have all picked Ohio State to win the national championship this season.
Will the Buckeyes be pouring Gatorade on coach Urban Meyer after this season or will Ohio State fans have to endure another unsettling picture of Meyer sitting on a golf cart chowing down on some pizza after a tough, late-season loss?
Ohio State definitely has an excellent chance.
Quarterback J.T. Barrett could be special, especially under the tutelage of first-year offensive coordinator Kevin Wilson and co-offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Ryan Day. Barrett has plenty of weapons across the offense, even though some receivers are unproven.
The front seven on defense should be exceptional with tough, attacking line and swarming linebackers. There are some questions in the secondary after numerous NFL departures, but defensive coordinator Greg Schiano has a ton of talent to work with.
So what could be roadblocks? An early September game against Oklahoma won’t be a cakewalk. Penn State is a big-time threat and rival Michigan is chomping at the bit to take down the Buckeyes in coach Jim Harbaugh’s third season. The Wolverines have had no luck so far. Also, the Big Ten schedule is never a breeze.
Last year in the College Football Playoff, Ohio State got its doors blown off by Clemson, 31-0, in the national semifinal. It had to be motivation all offseason in Columbus to never let it happen again.
FIRST TAKE: Kevin Noon, BuckeyeGrove.com
“The Buckeyes return 15 starters this season and go from being one of the youngest teams in the nation to one of the older teams because of it. The addition of Kevin Wilson also gives the Buckeyes something that they were sorely lacking over the last two years. Wilson and Meyer have seen eye-to-eye on what the Ohio State offense should be and how it should play with pace and if all goes according to plan, this offense will look a lot more like the 2014 National Championship team than the past two teams that won a lot of games but seemed to be operating with the parking brake on. Lofty expectations are just part of the territory when it comes to Ohio State, especially under Meyer. There are a small handful of teams that should be heavily in the conversation for the CFP championship but at this point I don’t see any with a better case than Ohio State.” - Noon
SECOND TAKE: Mike Farrell, Rivals.com
“I’m banking on Wilson and Day to really improve J.T. Barrett as a passing threat. If they can push his completion percentage especially on intermediate and long throws, if he can improve that dramatically, it’s going to be really hard to stop that offense. They have some inexperience in the secondary, but their front seven is as good as any in the country. They need to find some weapons at receiver but Barrett can do so much with his legs, he hurt himself last year with his inaccuracy, and those two guys are very, very good coaches. They’re going to play uptempo and I think Ohio State is just going to wear a lot of people down.” - Farrell