"I do believe this year's team is even stronger than the 2014 version and, unlike last summer when the QB depth was questioned by many, they now have three quarterbacks who have either been a Heisman contender or led the team to a national title. OSU is the first defending champ since LSU in 2007 to not lose a single underclassmen early to the NFL draft. OSU had a lot of super sophomores last year."
- Phil Steele
Phil Steele is widely respected among the college football community for with his accuracy and detailed reports on teams with his preseason predictions and beyond. On Tuesday, Steele released a spring primer, which took a look at the 2014 season and giving out all-conference honors for each of the conferences. Steele also takes a stab at predicting what the 2015 AP top 10 will look like once they release their preseason top 25 poll.
The Buckeyes led off the list of 10 teams, as Steele mentions the 15 starters returning to Ohio state and cites the relatively easy schedule they boast in 2015 with teams such as Virginia Tech, Indiana, Rutgers, Illinois, and Michigan. None of those teams finished in the top 38 at the end of last season, which could be good news for Ohio State, depending on your point of view. The teams following the Buckeyes, in order, are TCU, Alabama, Baylor, Oregon, Michigan State, USC, Florida State, Auburn, and Georgia.
"It's gonna be hard, but I'm gonna do what I can to get my team wins and make everyone around me better. It's gonna be hard to fill those shoes. He's a first team All-American, and it's hard to come in and do what he did night in and night out. Hopefully I'll be able to do the same thing."
- JaQuan Lyle via Bill Landis, Northeast Ohio Media Group
With D'Angelo Russell taking what was likely his last shot in an Ohio State uniform, the Buckeyes and coach Thad Matta are left to figure out what they can do to replace their freshman star. Maybe the answer will come in the shape of current Ohio State commit JaQuan Lyle, another top prospect coming into his first collegiate season next year. Lyle is a 6'5, 220-pound shooting guard that could potentially take the reins over on offense with his scoring ability.
Whether or not Russell returns (which doesn't appear to be a real option, considering he's been pegged as a top five prospect by many NBA scouts), Lyle could be the next in line of Ohio State star basketball players. Losing a handful of seniors, who were also starters, from last season will make things a little tougher on the Buckeyes next season. They'll need all the help they can get, and with Lyle, it's possible that they could get that help.
"Ohio State coach Urban Meyer got a $250,000 bonus for reaching the inaugural College Football Playoff title game, and earned the maximum postseason bonus of $400,000 for also winning the Big Ten East Division and the overall Big Ten title."
- Heather Dinich, ESPN
ESPN obtained 34 coaching contracts from the different Power 5 conferences, and noticed that there is a wide disparity of incentive money given to the coaches for winning a national championship. As you see above, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer received a $250,000 bonus and a postseason bonus of $400,000 for reaching the title game, and also winning the Big Ten East and Big Ten championship.
Jim Harbaugh, the new head coach at Michigan, would receive $800,000 for winning a national championship with the Wolverines. Interestingly enough, Alabama head coach Nick Saban's contract stated he would have received $300,000 for playing in the national championship game. If he would have won the title, Saban would have got $400,000.
"I never thought that we were out of the game, but I did think when we buckled down and played defense like we're supposed to, we can make something happen."
- Kelsey Mitchell on last-second loss to North Carolina
Just like the men's basketball team, Kelsey Mitchell and the Ohio State women's basketball team lost in the second round of the NCAA tournament. The fifth-seeded Buckeyes fell to a fourth-seeded North Carolina team that would win on a last-second buzzer-beating shot by Jamie Cherry. Cherry's shot ruined a ferocious 23-point comeback from Ohio State, led by the nation's leading scorer in Mitchell.
Mitchell had tied the game, completing the long comeback, by sinking two clutch free throws to tie the game at 84. With 5.1 seconds remaining, the Tar Heels moved quickly and Cherry pulled up for the game-winning shot, sending North Carolina to the Sweet Sixteen. Despite the loss, the lady Buckeyes showed they belonged among the best, and with their star player in Mitchell, should be a contender for the next couple of years.
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