Receiving a high ranking in the preseason polls is an indication of tremendous respect for a college football team. With those high expectations, however, also comes the pressure to deal with the figurative target that a high numerical ranking represents.
Defending national champion Ohio State will find out what it’s like to deal with that weight and the responsibility of being anointed with a preseason No. 1-ranking when they begin the 2015 season as the consensus top-ranked team in all of college football.
When you’re considered the cream of the crop team in the sport, you’re going to get the best effort from every opponent, every week. Head Coach Urban Meyer knows that from his days leading the Florida Gators. He knows how quickly a team can degenerate from being a celebrated national champion to a four-loss also-ran.
The difference between the 2015 Buckeyes and Meyer’s 2007 Gator squad—a team which failed to materialize into much of a worthy championship defender—is expectations and talent.
Unlike that ‘07 Florida team, Ohio State will enter the upcoming season as the undisputed most talented team in all of college football. That’s why the sky high expectations are warranted.
DE Joey Bosa, RB Ezekiel Elliott, OT Taylor Decker, LB Darron Lee, FS Vonn Bell and DT Adolphus Washington are all potential first-round NFL draft picks, as well as All-American candidates. Then there’s also the much talked-about, star-studded quarterback trio of Braxton Miller, Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. Plus, there are plenty of other emerging young playmakers on both sides of the ball.
This fall, Colombus will be home to one of the best collections of talent that we’ve seen on a college football team in quite some time.
The burning question is: Can the Buckeyes handle the pressure of having the target on their back and repeat as national champions?
The 2015 schedule isn’t shaping up to be overly daunting or overbearing. But the 12-game slate does include its fair share of challenging matchups and hurdles to overcome.
Here’s a look at Ohio State’s five toughest tests of 2015.