The first Associated Press poll of the 2018 college football season was released on Monday, and the Ohio State Buckeyes sit at No. 5 The ongoing paid administrative leave of head coach Urban Meyer— and the uncertainty of his future in Columbus— likely played at least a small part in the Buckeyes’ ranking.
Earlier this month, OSU was slotted into the third spot in the Coaches Poll. That poll was conducted before the announcement of Meyer’s absence, while the AP’s poll was taken while the OSU head coach was under investigation.
In the AP rankings, Alabama was selected as the preseason No. 1 for the third consecutive year, matching the feat achieved by the Barry Switzer-era Oklahoma Sooners.
The top five in the poll also included No. 2 Clemson, No. 3 Georgia, and No. 4 Wisconsin. Other Big Ten squads making the grade were No. 10 Penn State, No. 11 Michigan State, and No. 14 Michigan.
The Buckeyes’ Week 3 opponent, the TCU Horned Frogs, are on the list at No. 16. While early season polls are by no means a predictor of the teams that will eventually find themselves in the College Football Playoffs, the higher the initial ranking, the more leeway a team has if they stumble— especially early.
In addition to playing TCA in Arlington, Texas in mid-September, the Buckeyes will travel to Happy Valley on Sept. 29 to take on the Nittany Lions in what will be one of the most anticipated match-ups of the early season. If OSU drops either of those games, especially if it is close, their ranking should allow them the opportunity to climb back up into playoff contention as the season progresses.
The Buckeyes finished in the fifth spot following the 2017 season’s Cotton Bowl victory over USC.
AP College Football Preseason Poll
|5||Ohio State||Big Ten||N/A|
|10||Penn State||Big Ten||N/A|
|11||Michigan State||Big Ten||N/A|
|17||West Virginia||Big 12||N/A|
|22||Boise State||Mountain West||N/A|