The full AP preseason poll won’t be released until Aug. 21, but we know that it will have at least one surprising vote for the top team in the country: Ohio State.
John Wilner of the San Jose Mercury News, has published the ballot that he’ll submit to the AP already, and he’s picked the Buckeyes as his top team in the country.
Here’s Wilner’s rationale:
No. 1: Ohio State. Not ready? Too much attrition? Wait ’til 2017? Nah. Urban Meyer proved two years ago that he can make it work ahead of schedule. Yes, the Buckeyes were slammed by departures to the NFL, but they have experience where it matters most (QB J.T. Barrett), there are future draft picks everywhere, and motivation shouldn’t be an issue after last year’s disappointment. Get ’em early — that means you, Oklahoma! — or get the heck out of their way. (Previous: 1)
Wilner also noted that he fills out his preseason ballot as a reflection on how he thinks things will finish in the end, not for who might be best in early September, so his vote is a sign that at least one AP voter thinks Ohio State will be this year’s national champions.
It’s probably also worth mentioning that Wilner is no stranger to using his AP ballot to dramatically distance himself from the opinions of his peers. If you hear about a ballot that seems dramatically different from the rest of the Top 25, there’s a good chance it’s coming from Wilner.
The 2016 Coaches Poll was released last week, with the Buckeyes ranked fifth, ahead of Michigan and every other Big Ten team. Ohio State did not get any first place votes, though. We’ll see if Wilner will be the only one on the 21st.