My crystal ball is broken, still in repair from its prediction Ohio State would only go 10-2 last fall. So for now, we're outsourcing the 2013 picks.
Suffice to say few will be guilty of underselling this year's Buckeyes. Five out of five experts agree: Year 2 of the Urban Meyer era means big things for Ohio State. As the 2013 national predictions continue to roll out, most see OSU as two-time defending national champion Alabama's foremost threat. Here's where the Buckeyes stand in those early rankings:
ESPN.com — "In case you haven't noticed, Urban Meyer still hasn't lost a game as Ohio State's coach. Now, here's the scary part for the rest of the Big Ten: the Buckeyes might be more talented and face a much easier schedule in 2013 than they did last season, when they went 12-0 in Meyer's first season at OSU. ... [Ohio State] doesn't play Nebraska or Michigan State during the regular season and gets Wisconsin, Iowa and Penn State at home. Sure, the Buckeyes might have to defeat an SEC opponent to win a BCS National Championship, but Meyer already has proved he's capable of doing it."
1. Ohio State
CBSSports.com — "Of course there are holes. Braxton Miller has to improve as a leader and a thrower. The defense will miss John Simon. But this is the Big Ten where there isn't a serious challenger to the Buckeyes. Plus, this team is motivated after being shut out of a bowl in 2012."
1. Ohio State
3. Texas A&M
Athlon Sports — "The Buckeyes suddenly have a potent offense with experience up front, a legitimate Heisman Trophy candidate at quarterback and weapons that can populate open areas of the field. The defense, however, requires some development up front and steadier tackling on the back end. Fortunately for OSU, four of the first five games are at home, and the pieces should be in place by the time the team heads into a crucial November that includes road trips to three Big Ten schools. Ohio State looks formidable on paper, and the hunger to return to a high-profile bowl is evident, but the coaches are concerned that too much leadership has walked out the door. Still, don’t be surprised if this team is playing for a national title.
2. Ohio State
5. South Carolina
Phil Steele — "The Buckeyes do have to replace their entire starting defensive line, but Meyer has done a great job of recruiting at that position in his short tenure while the D’s other stars in linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby should help fill the void as the young lineman mature. The schedule clearly sets up for success as the non-conference features Buffalo, San Diego State, California and Florida A&M while in conference play they avoid both Nebraska and Michigan State while hosting Wisconsin and Penn State. The two toughest hurdles look to be road trips at Northwestern and at Michigan."
2. Ohio State
5. Texas A&M
SI.com — "Ohio State's offensive assistants visited Clemson offensive coordinator Chad Morris during the winter. Morris was last spotted running 100 plays against LSU in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. If the Buckeyes add an up-tempo package to their regular offense, they could be even tougher to stop. That likely will depend on the development of the defense, which must replace seven starters. Urban Meyer's offense has always bled the play clock, and that likely will continue if the defense struggles early. Sometimes, the best defense is an eight-minute touchdown drive."
2. Texas A&M
4. Ohio State
5. Notre Dame