Though the Ohio State Buckeyes went undefeated in 2012, they lacked a premier opponent and they rarely dominated. Those young men had a great season, but they're still a cut below the top teams in the country. Next year, though, they should dominate and show that they're still the class of the Big Ten.
The Buckeyes will be losing some talent on defense, especially along the defensive line. Still, Ohio State is among the best programs in the country at recruiting for defense, so expect little drop-off in Columbus in that regard.
Where the big improvement will be, though, is on offense. The Buckeyes will be returning star sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller, who is an offense in himself. With 1,271 rushing yards and 28 combined touchdowns, Miller has proven that he can carry this team.
What's scary is that Miller will probably improve as a passer. This season, he was efficient but not especially accurate. With an 8.0 yards-per-attempt average but just a 58.3 percent completion percentage, Miller was good, but he has room for improvement.
Top receiver Philly Brown is also returning, along with speedster Devin Smith. So Miller will have the opportunity to grow alongside these two receivers, promising impressive fireworks for this passing attack.
Additionally, top running back Carlos Hyde is returning as well. Hyde ran for 970 yards last season, giving him and Miller 2,241 combined rushing yards to form one of the best one-two punches in the country. As long as these two are leading the charge, this offense will be solid.
The Buckeyes' 2013 recruiting class should also pay some early dividends. The team already has commitments from four 4-star defensive linemen, including the big and talented Joey Bosa. As the Buckeyes continue to recruit, expect more star high school players to commit to the Ohio State program as the rich continue to get richer.
Meanwhile, 2012 recruits Noah Spence and Adolphus Washington showed some flash this season, combining for four sacks. Expect at least one of these 5-star recruits to break onto the scene in 2013.
All this talent, combined with an easy schedule, should help Ohio State run the table yet again next year. And with enough development from Miller, this team could just be champion caliber.