"No. 10 Ohio State Buckeyes"
- Mark Schlabach, ESPN
Mark Schlabach released his post-spring way-too-early top 25 and Ohio State landed in the top 10. The Buckeyes return just three starters on offense, three on defense, and two on special teams, but Urban Meyer has proven in the past that he'll have his teams contending for a title regardless. Of those returners, of course, is quarterback J.T. Barrett. Barrett is entering his third season as Ohio State's quarterback and will be the key component to the Buckeyes offensive gameplan this fall. Though the losses from the NFL draft (to which Ohio State lost key starters) sting, Meyer and his staff will look to simply reload for the 2016 season with a heavy helping of young talent.
Alabama headlines the top 10 in the top spot, followed by Clemson, Michigan, Florida State, Oklahoma, LSU, Baylor, Stanford and Notre Dame. Other Big Ten teams to make the top 25 include Michigan State and Iowa. The Spartans and Hawkeyes played in the Big Ten championship last season but both have lost a fair share of each team's respective depth. Keep in mind Ohio State plays Oklahoma, Michigan State, and Michigan this season. Ohio State travels to both Oklahoma and Michigan State, but the Buckeyes do host the Wolverines in Columbus to finish the regular season.
"Barrett wasn't just the best in the conference, he was one of the most accurate passers vs. the blitz in the nation."
- Josh Moyer, ESPN
The Big Ten has had quite a few excellent signal-callers in the conference over the past couple of seasons, and looks to have another great crop in 2016. But among the quarterbacks for each Big Ten team this year, Josh Moyer dug into some stats and determined which players were the best at several different statistics. The first category was which quarterback was the best against the blitz.
The answer is none other than Ohio State quarterback J.T. Barrett. Barrett completed 66.7 percent of his passes and only turned the ball over one time against blitzes by the opposing team. With the offensive line play being pretty shaky for most of last season, it's impressive how good Barrett was under the pressure of defenders in his face. That bodes well for the Buckeyes this season, with some shifting of the offensive line and fresh faces defending their quarterback, who will make their job that much easier.
Barrett also finished second in determining who was the Big Ten's best quarterback in the fourth quarter. The top quarterback was Iowa's C.J. Beathard. It wasn't too close either, but Barrett was still a strong second statistically, completing 21 of his 35 passes for 201 yards, three touchdowns and only one interception. Still, you don't need these statistics to tell you that Barrett is one of the top quarterbacks in the conference and Ohio State will be grateful to have him in the scarlet and gray this fall.
"I think this one validates even to a higher level that Ohio State clearly is a player on the national stage every season."
- Ohio State head coach Pete Hanson via Todd Jones, The Columbus Dispatch
In case you somehow missed it, Ohio State's men's volleyball team became national champions this past Saturday, after upending the top seeded team in the tournament, BYU, avoiding seven set-point chances in the opening set of the NCAA final before taking victory in a three-set sweep (32-30, 25-23, 25-17). The Buckeyes clinched their second national championship in six seasons, an impressive feat.
Ohio State was seeded third in the tournament and actually had to upset a second-seeded UCLA team to even face off against the Cougars. Head coach Pete Hanson has coached the Buckeyes for 32 seasons and has two titles to his name. He also was honored as the AVCA national coach of the year this season for the tremendous play from his team.
Ohio State's Miles Johnson, named most valuable player for the tournament, mentioned how tightly knit the team was both on and off the court: "We're not just teammates. We're good friends in general. We don't go to volleyball and then go our separate ways. We'll probably all be hanging out again in a couple of hours."
It's another title for the university, and a bit of a statement to the program itself as Ohio State cemented itself as a true contender for the foreseeable future.
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