From now until preseason camp starts in August, Land-Grant Holy Land will be writing articles around a different theme every week. This week is all about our Unreasonable Expectations. You can catch up on all of the Theme Week content here and all of our Unreasonable Expectations here.
As college sports seasons wind down and we inch tantalizingly close to summer, it’s a great time to start thinking about what the next seasons could have in store for some of your favorite Ohio State teams. So, last week we asked you for your thoughts on how you think the Buckeye football, men’s basketball, and women’s basketball teams will finish up their next campaigns.
For the most part, the survey respondents were moderately optimistic about all three teams, but the expectations don’t appear to be too unreasonable. While you can quibble with how you think each team will end up next season, I think the percentages of each survey question were well within the realm of possibility. Let us know what you think of the results in the comments below.
Question 1: How do you think the 2023 Ohio State football season ends?
Thanks to the changes in the College Football Playoff that will start in 2024, this is likely the last year for the foreseeable future in which there will be any question about whether the Ohio State football team will make the CFP. Nonetheless, 68% of fans who participated in the survey think that the Buckeyes will make the playoff this fall.
While that is very close to being a nice number, I would venture to guess that had I asked this question a year ago that it would have been much higher. Now I don’t think that one-quarter of respondents picking OSU to win it all is unreasonable, though I don’t know that I will be making that pick this year.
But, it is interesting to see that the normally rabid Buckeye fans have apparently taken off their scarlet and gray colored glasses a little bit following back-to-back losses in which Ohio State failed to beat their rival or win the Big Ten title. Of course, Ryan Day’s team was (essentially) one play away from winning the national title last season, but that seems to have done little to quiet the nerves of some Buckeye fans.
Nonetheless, I think it is still a fairly safe bet to pick OSU to make it to the CFP, even if they do have a fairly difficult schedule this coming campaign.
Question 2: How do you think the 2023-24 Ohio State men’s basketball season ends?
Given how poorly the 2022-23 season went for the OSU men’s basketball team, seeing 86% of people surveyed think that the Buckeyes will make the NCAA Tournament in 2024 is encouraging — especially with all of the negativity aimed at the team and head coach Chris Holtmann.
But, if we want to talk about potentially unreasonable expectations, 39% of respondents picked the team to make it to at least the Sweet Sixteen for the first time in Holtmann’s tenure in Columbus. I personally think that is fairly reasonable. The 5% who picked the Buckeyes to make the Final Four... perhaps less so.
However, the 2023-24 Buckeyes are going to be incredibly talented with Bruce Thornton, Felix Okpara, Roddy Gayle Jr., and Zed Key returning along with transfers Jamison Battle, Dale Bonner, and Evan Mahaffey joining top-50 true freshman Taison Chatman, Devin Royal, and Scotty Middleton. There will likely be some growing pains early in the season as all of the new pieces figure out how to work together, but if the Buckeyes are able to bottle the energy they played with down the stretch last season, this could be an exciting campaign.
Question 3: How do you think the 2023-24 Ohio State women’s basketball season ends?
Like with the men’s team, the fans who participated in the survey also picked the women’s basketball team to make it to either the Sweet Sixteen or Elite Eight. Of course, that is in no way unreasonable, considering the team finished the 2022-23 season in the Elite Eight just over one month ago.
While Taylor Miksell is on to the WNBA’s Indiana Fever, Jacy Sheldon is back as is the majority of the rest of the team’s production from last year. Like the men’s team, Kevin McGuff’s squad also added some potentially impactful transfers as well in National Defensive Player of the Year finalist Duke’s Celeste Taylor and Michigan State’s Taiyier Parks.
In 2022, OSU shared the Big Ten regular season title and in 2023, the team landed in the Elite Eight. If McGuff and company can continue the momentum of the past few seasons, there’s no reason to think that the 30% who picked the Buckeyes to make the Final Four are being unreasonable.