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Despite a 10-1 start, Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann knows there is plenty of work to do

Even though Ohio State sits at 10-1 this year, just don’t ask Chris Holtmann for his thoughts on the Buckeyes being ranked 15th in the country.

NCAA Basketball: Ohio State at Cincinnati David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

“The ranking is the ranking and I don’t know what to make of that and don’t really care. I think the sample size is really too small right now.”

Ohio State men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann via Matt Norlander, CBS Sports

All Chris Holtmann has done since coming to Ohio State is surpass expectations. Last year the Buckeyes were projected to finish in the bottom of the Big Ten in Holtmann’s first year in Columbus, and all Ohio State did was make the NCAA Tournament. After losing Keita Bates-Diop and Jae’Sean Tate, many were thinking the Buckeyes would take a step back this year, but with last night’s win over Youngstown State, Ohio State is 10-1 to start the season.

Next up for Ohio State is a battle with UCLA in Chicago as part of the CBS Sports Classic. A win over the Bruins on Saturday would give Holtmann his best start to a season in his coaching career, as well as giving the Buckeyes their third quad-one win of the season. Ohio State will have to play better than they have in their last two games if they want to beat the Bruins, though. The Buckeyes can’t afford another start to the game like against Youngstown State, where they fell behind 14-2, or else UCLA might not give them the opportunity to dig themselves out of a hole like that.

Even though Ohio State entered this week ranked 15th in the country, Holtmann isn’t putting much stock in the rankings. The Buckeyes have showed some toughness in wins on the road over Cincinnati and Creighton, but they have also not played up to their potential in a number of games. The good news for Ohio State is Kaleb Wesson is playing the best basketball of his career, and a young Ohio State team is showing promise. With a second strong season at Ohio State in the works, it’s likely nobody will have low expectations for the Buckeyes heading into next season.

“I could just see it in his face, see it in his eyes. Something like that is very serious. As he has mentioned before, it is not like it is your knee or your back or your elbow or something. It’s his brain.”

Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell on head coach Urban Meyer’s health issues via Patrick Murphy, Bucknuts

The day before Urban Meyer announced his retirement, the Ohio State head coach met with senior wide receivers Parris Campbell and Terry McLaurin. The three talked for an hour and a half about Meyer’s health, which was well publicized throughout the season, especially after Meyer dropped to a knee due to a headache during the fourth quarter of a game against Indiana in early October.

Both Campbell and McLaurin knew that Meyer was dealing with some serious health issues due to a cyst in his brain, but they weren’t expecting Meyer to announce to the team the next day that he would be retiring after the Rose Bowl. McLaurin thought Meyer would have at least another year in him as Ohio State’s head coach.

While the announcement was shocking to Campbell, McLaurin, and the rest of the Ohio State team, they understand why Meyer made it. Even though it is tough for a highly competitive person like Meyer to step away when he feels like he still has a lot to give, Campbell says Meyer is happy with his decision. The Buckeyes may not be a part of the College Football Playoff like Meyer and the rest of the team had hoped they would be, but they are still Big Ten champs, and Meyer will have a chance to end his Ohio State coaching career with a win in the Rose Bowl.

“You can get injured walking outside, I can get injured driving home in my car. I can get injured doing anything so injuries are going to be there. Can’t really avoid that, so I’m going to play. I love the game of football, so I’m going to play.”

Ohio State defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones via Jon Spencer, Mansfield News Journal

Over the past few years, there have been more college football players who have decided to sit out bowl games to avoid injuries ahead of the NFL Draft. This year has already seen players like Houston defensive tackle Ed Oliver and West Virginia quarterback Will Grier decide against playing in bowl games, and the list is growing by the day.

A couple of Buckeyes are going against the grain though, as defensive tackle Dre’Mont Jones and running back Mike Weber have announced their intentions to skip their senior seasons in favor of declaring themselves eligible for the NFL Draft, but will don the scarlet and gray one more time and play in the Rose Bowl. Despite the injury concerns that come with playing one last game at the college level, Jones will be playing because he loves the game of football, and feels like injuries are a risk that comes with anything in life.

There is still a question to be answered on whether record setting quarterback Dwayne Haskins will return to Columbus next year, but many feel he will be headed to the NFL with where he is projected in the draft. Even if Haskins decides to declare himself eligible for the NFL Draft, he says there is no chance that he wouldn’t play in the Rose Bowl.

A big reason why a number of Buckeyes will be playing in their bowl game despite declaring for the NFL Draft as opposed to players from other schools who do the same, is Ohio State has a little more to play for on New Year’s Day. Not only will the Buckeyes be playing in the prestigious Rose Bowl, but it will also be Urban Meyer’s last game as Ohio State’s head coach. For those who have spent the last few years with Meyer, the chance to fight for their coach one more time means more to them than sitting out their final college game.