Ohio State Buckeyes
2013 record: 12-2, 8-0 Big Ten
Final AP ranking: 12
Bowl result: L 40-35 Clemson, Orange Bowl
Top returners: QB Braxton Miller, DE Noah Spence, DE Joey Bosa
Top losses: RB Carlos Hyde, LB Ryan Shazier, CB Bradley Roby
Overview: If quarterback Braxton Miller had decided to leave for the NFL, Ohio State would have been in trouble. The Buckeyes lose star running back Carlos Hyde and H-Back Philly Brown as well as four offensive linemen. However, with Miller back, the team should shake off the two-game losing streak that ended 2013 and look ahead to better days in 2014.
And to do that, it will rely on its defense.
Linebacker Ryan Shazier and cornerback Bradley Roby are gone, but the Buckeyes do return seven starters. The young defensive line had some issues in 2013, but those experiences will make it a stronger unit in 2014, especially with Joey Bosa coming into his own and Noah Spence being motivated once he gets back from a three-game suspension for a banned substance.
Also, Ohio State will welcome Raekwon McMillan, the No. 1 inside linebacker for the 2014 class. He could step in and fill the void left by Shazier.
Continue Reading: Dr. Saturday’s Too Early Top 10: No. 5 Ohio State (Dr. Saturday)