Chaos struck the college football world this weekend. No. 2 Georgia, No. 6 West Virginia, No. 7 Washington and No. 8 Penn State were all top ten teams that lost on Saturday. The Buckeyes managed to defeat Minnesota 30-14 in a game that was closer than expected.
The latest AP Poll ranks Ohio State as the No. 2 team in the country behind No. 1 Alabama, who is also the defending national champ. Despite that fact, Ohio State could make a reasonable case as the No. 1 team in the nation.
They potentially have the best player in the country on offense and defense:
Dwayne Haskins is an elite college quarterback. In fact, he might be the best player in the country. Currently, Haskins is seeing his Heisman odds skyrocket after another 400-yard performance through the air. Last week, Haskins had 9/2 odds to win the coveted award, now he is 3/1. Furthermore, Haskins is on pace to shatter nearly every single-season passing record in Ohio State history this season. The Buckeyes are set at the most important position in football.
On the defensive side of the ball, Nick Bosa is a consensus top five draft pick. The only issue with Bosa is the fact that he is nursing an abdominal injury that required surgery, but he is expected back by November. Despite the injury, in just four games this season, Bosa has recorded four sacks and scored a defensive touchdown.
The Buckeyes have an elite player on both sides of the ball which will allow them to compete with any team in the nation.
The defense is better than what they are getting credit for:
Despite missing their best defensive player, the Buckeyes have rallied well on defense. In fact, missing Bosa might be a blessing in disguise for the Buckeyes as it allows other leaders to emerge on the field. Chase Young has done an excellent job anchoring the defensive line while Malik Harrison has put together a stellar season, even while dealing with injuries.
This defense has only given up more than 30 points this season once. That was week one and the majority of those points came in garbage time. Yes, the defense has allowed plenty of explosive plays this season, but it should be noted that this defense has allowed fewer points per game than the 2014 team that won the National Championship. This defense will continue to get better each week.
Success on the field:
Ohio State currently holds the No. 1 spot in ESPN’s strength of record. This metric shows how Ohio State has fared against teams in the AP top 25. It should also be noted that Ohio State has two of the most impressive wins of the season. A win in a “pseudo home” game against TCU in Dallas and a comeback win at Penn State. Yes, Notre Dame has some impressive wins, but Ohio State also faces the same Michigan team Notre Dame has beaten. And if history has told us anything, Ohio State should beat them too.
Urban Meyer might be the most hated man in college football this season, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t done an excellent job surrounding this team with an elite coaching staff that was able keep the Buckeyes focused during his absence. Ryan Day and Greg Schiano are both head coaches in waiting thanks to their efforts this season.
Thanks to Day, the offense is on a record-setting pace through the air. Meanwhile on defense, Ohio State has given up an average of only eight points in the second half this season, which is a testament to the excellent job done by the coaching staff. There is no denying that Ohio State’s coaches know how to successfully utilize halftime in order to make proper adjustments that put the program in the best position possible to win.
A collision course in the making:
After all of this there is one major elephant in the room, his name is Big Al. This past week Alabama received 60 first place votes in the AP Poll, meanwhile Ohio State was the only other team to receive a first place vote with just one. There is no denying Saban’s greatness, but if there is one person that has been a thorn in the side of Saban it is Urban Meyer.
At the end of the day, we will most likely not know which team deserves to be the top in the nation until they face. Until then, let the debate commence.
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