No. 11 Ohio State

Here is the power of Ohio State coach Urban Meyer. The Buckeyes lose almost a dozen and a half starters, most of them headed for the NFL. They lose their No 2 all time rusher. They play a non-conference schedule which includes a road game at Oklahoma. They have six--repeat--six starters returning and people are talking about them as a Final Four team.

I'm not buying it. I think the Buckeyes will have a tough time winning the Big Ten East. I think they could lose, two or three. I think that talk of a Final Four is for only the biggest of dreamers.

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I see that Meyer still has J.T. Barrett at QB. I see that the recruiting class again is Top 5 quality, which means there is talent on the roster, but it has yet to develop.

I see the first part of the schedule--other than Oklahoma on Sept 17--includes games against Bowling Green, Tulsa, Rutgers and Indiana. That looks like a 4-1 start at worst. And by then, when the schedule turns to October, the kids that Meyer has recruited the past few years will be Buckeyes, tested and ready.

And, of course, there is Urban Meyer. The guy knows his X's and O's. He knows how to build, how to motivate, how to manipulate. He is the best coach North of Nick Saban.

 So Top 4?

Nah, but near the bottom of the Top 10. That would be a definite maybe especially if the Buckeyes close with a win on the road against a rebuilding Michigan State team and at HOME against Michigan.

The countdown so far: No. 16 Pepper Hamilton (Baylor), No. 15 Georgia, No. 14 Michigan State, No. 13 Miami, No. 12Houston [/membership]