Ohio State won't be in the mix for the BCS National Championship game in 2012 due to its postseason ban. But judging from the way the Buckeyes have played—specifically quarterback Braxton Miller—a trip to Pasadena after the 2013 season to play for the BCS National Championship isn't out of the question.
But the SEC buzz saw may await the Buckeyes again, and that buzz saw may wear crimson and white.
So who has the inside track to the crystal football in 2013?
The Alabama Crimson Tide are on the brink of a dynasty, and that dynasty doesn't show any signs of letting up.
If Alabama head coach Nick Saban proved anything early this season, it's that the depth he's been able to establish in Tuscaloosa is second to none in college football.
The running back corps is likely set unless Eddie Lacy goes pro. If he does, T.J. Yeldon isn't a bad insurance plan to have. The true freshman rushed for 111 yards in the opener vs. Michigan, becoming the first true freshman in Alabama history to top the century mark in program history.
The Tide's strength this season is its offensive line, which boasts two seniors, center Barrett Jones and guard Chance Warmack. Tackle D.J. Fluker is a junior and could go pro as well, but if he doesn't, having both tackles and a guard returning would be a solid foundation for the Crimson Tide.
Throw in what would be senior quarterback AJ McCarron and a wide receiving corps that will have plenty of experience under its belt, and you have an offense that potentially could be deadly.
It probably wouldn't have to be, though.
Everybody talked about the holes that Alabama had on defense, but if the first three games of the season are any indication, that's not an issue. The Crimson Tide have shut out two of its first three opponents, and they limited Michigan's potent offense to just 269 total yards in the opener.
What's more, most of those players will be back for 2013 unless they jump to the NFL. Cornerbacks Dee Milliner and Deion Belue, linebackers Adrian Hubbard, C.J. Mosley, Trey DePriest and Xzavier Dickson and safeties Vinne Sunseri and Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix all form the new wave of SEC stars on the Alabama roster.
All of them except Belue, a junior college transfer, have big, shiny national championship rings from last season on their fingers.
Nothing against Urban Meyer and the Ohio State Buckeyes.
Meyer has led his teams to successful seasons in year two at stops at Bowling Green, Utah and Florida; and considering the talent he has in Columbus, his stint at Ohio State should be no different.
He has the perfect quarterback for his system in Braxton Miller, who is laying the groundwork for a run at the Heisman Trophy down the road. Is he more talented than Tim Tebow, as Meyer suggested? That's debatable, but he's a solid player that has a great future in front of him.
Aside from defensive end John Simon, the majority of the stars on the Buckeye defense will be around in 2013, including sophomore linebacker Ryan Shazier, who's a few missed tackles away from being a star. Veteran leadership is always important if you want to achieve ultimate success.
If we're taking bets on which team has the inside track for the 2013 title, lean toward the Alabama Crimson Tide. Both programs have the coaches and the talent to contend for the crystal, but you can't teach experience, and that's what puts Alabama over the edge.