Last season, the Ohio State Buckeyes were a few plays away from appearing in the national title game. If they want to take that next step this fall, the Worldwide Leader in Sports believes there are two things that need to happen.
ESPN released two ifs that need to happen for top programs to be title contenders this season. For Ohio State, it appears the coaching staff has to figure out how to replace key contributors on both sides of the ball.
According to ESPN’s latest work, the Buckeyes will be title contenders if “young, high-upside wide receivers prove that upside” and the “pass rush holds up.”
Ohio State lost a plethora of receivers to the NFL this year, such as K.J. Hill, Austin Mack and Binjimen Victor. Fortunately, the receiving corps for this fall still features Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson.
The Buckeyes will need younger wideouts on their roster to step up. Perhaps five-star freshman Julian Fleming can make an impact at some point this year.
As for the pass rush, it’s impossible to replace Chase Young. What the Buckeyes can do is find several players capable of rotating on the defensive line to essentially replicate Young’s production in a group effort. Zach Harrison and Tyreke Smith should see increased roles this year.
Luckily for Ohio State, the team still has one of the best coach-quarterback duos in the country. The combination of Ryan Day and Justin Fields should provide the program enough firepower to contend for a national championship.
Ohio State fans, what do you think will be the deciding factor for the team’s national title hopes this year?