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Ohio State has national championship hopes despite inexperience

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Even with a young team in Columbus, expectations remain high as ever.

NCAA Football: Ohio State Spring Game Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

“In Las Vegas, the Buckeyes — the youngest, most inexperienced team in the nation — have the second-best odds of winning the national title.”

- David Briggs, The Blade

Not a season goes by without Ohio State being in the mix as a potential contender for the national championship, or that how it feels, anyway. And that sense of confidence rests in the teams that Urban Meyer has coached since he came to Columbus. So it comes as no surprise that the Buckeyes feel that they can end up being in the conversation for another appearance in the College Football Playoff in 2016 despite losing a bevy of starters from last season.

Still, even with the inexperience across the board, Ohio State has the second-best odds of winning the national championship according to Vegas. That speaks volumes to the job Meyer has done both in recruiting the talent and also developing that talent into legitimate top-level players. He’ll have his work cut out for him early and an early season test against Oklahoma in Norman could prove to be a nice measuring stick for where this group of Buckeyes currently stands in the grand scheme of the college football landscape.

“You know, Coach (Urban) Meyer, he was on me everyday. Especially when I changed my position he was kinda upset about it when I told him I wanted to play receiver. He was on me everyday to watch film and any mistake, he was on it. It is all about learning from the best.”

- Braxton Miller via Patrick Starr, Scout.com

Braxton Miller was an electrifying playmaker during his time at Ohio State and is now on his way to doing the same thing in Houston for the Texans. Miller has the talent to succeed in the NFL and is thanking Urban Meyer for pushing him to be greater at all times last season. Miller also spoke highly of Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins who Miller has been closely watching during the preseason and taking every bit of advice he can get. With the preseason coming to an end, Miller seems penciled in to be the starting slot receiver for the Texans come Week 1.

Some may have questioned Miller’s ability to grasp a brand new position quickly after playing quarterback both in high school and at Ohio State for three seasons. At one point a Heisman-contending quarterback, two shoulder surgeries essentially forced Miller to change his position with the Buckeyes and he stepped in immediately and made an impact. Now he gets a chance to improve further in the NFL and it seems like Houston may have been a nearly perfect spot for him.

“[Big Ten fearless predictions] Sam Hubbard will lead the nation in sacks”

- Austin Ward via Brian Bennett, ESPN

The Big Ten writers for ESPN gave their fearless predictions for the upcoming season, and Austin Ward predicts that Ohio State defensive end Sam Hubbard will lead the country in sacks. Hubbard is entering his redshirt sophomore season after playing backup to Joey Bosa in 2015. Hubbard filled his role in terrific fashion, playing when Bosa was both suspended at the start of the year and when he was ejected in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame. He proved what he’s capable of when put into the game, and now will get to solidify that in 2016.

Playing behind Bosa only allowed Hubbard to improve his game and it showed a lot of the times that Hubbard could be just as disruptive on the defensive line. Now with fellow defensive end Tyquan Lewis on the other end, Hubbard is likely looking forward to a season in which he’s the starter. And though Jayln Holmes is listed on the depth chart with Hubbard, expect the sophomore to shine early on in the season.

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