Last night, LGHL took a stab at crafting our own way-too-early preseason Top 25, and placed the Buckeyes 10th. That isn't to say that we don't think the Bucks can make a run at a Big Ten title or a playoff bid, or that we don't have confidence in the young talent that Meyer and company have amassed over the past few cycles. It's just an acknowledgement that there is a ton of talent to replace, and Ohio State's schedule in 2016 is considerably harder. There are probably other teams that are safer bets.
But we're not the only outlet to release a Top 25. How do some of the other national voices view Ohio State next season? We took a look at some of the other major lists released, and it doesn't seem there's much of a consensus on where to put Ohio State. Here's how they voted:
The Big Lead: 4th
USA TODAY: 6th
Orlando Sentinel: 7th
Bleacher Report: 8th
Fox Sports: 14th
We certainly understand the argument for making Ohio State a top six team. Unlike the other Big Ten contenders, Ohio State returns their quarterback, and not just any quarterback, but an elite one like J.T. Barrett. Ohio State still one of the best coaches in America (just some dude who's gone 50-4 at Ohio State), and will have strong upperclassmen leaders. With the way Ohio State has recruited, the idea that the Bucks will just reload is certainly possible.
The other, more conservative way of thinking, believes that you can't replace that many excellent starters in one season without feeling it a little bit, especially since Ohio State's schedule gets harder. Ohio State's week three trip to Norman to face Oklahoma, for example, looms large. Add depth concerns in the defensive backfield up with a new defensive coordinator, and you can see why some are a teensy bit more measured in their expectations.
Perhaps one of the great offseason arguments this year will be whether Ohio State or Michigan should be ranked higher heading into the season. Both have great coaches. One has more experience up and down the field, and has a superior secondary. The other is young and inexperienced, but unquestionably has the better quarterback. National voices seem to differ wildly. Heck, opinions among our own staffers do too.
No matter what, 2016 should be an exciting year for Ohio State. What to expect certainly isn't clear yet, after all.