Final 2012 AP Ranking: 3
Final 2012 B/R Ranking: 2
Projected 2013 Preseason Ranking: 6
Ohio State was the only undefeated program in the nation last season, but thanks to their well-documented transgressions, the Buckeyes were left out of the Big Ten title game, the BCS or any bowl game.
Ohio State fans are well-known for their bravado, and apparently, the program itself isn't above tooting its own horn: “Champions” rings were given to players and coaches despite the fact that Ohio State failed to win a championship of any kind last season.
It's also questionable whether Ohio State would have even found itself playing in the BCS title game, as both Notre Dame and Alabama were ranked ahead of the Buckeyes in the one poll that contained all three teams: the AP Poll.
Despite that 12-0 mark from 2012, Ohio State struggled mightily. The Buckeyes were 46th in total offense last season (which included the 105th-ranked passing offense). Those troubles led to very narrow wins over some “lesser” teams: a one-point win over 7-6 Michigan State, a three-point victory over a hapless 4-8 Indiana and an overtime squeaker against 6-7 Purdue. Not exactly the kinds of performances you'd expect to see from a championship-caliber team.
Perhaps Ohio State will be able to use its maturity from 2012 to improve against mediocre opposition this season. The Buckeyes return nine offensive starters from a year ago, including standout quarterback Braxton Miller. Miller will join three other All-Big Ten selections in what many hope to be Ohio State's return to form.
Miller was a fairly impressive—and surprising—16-of-25 for 217 yards and two touchdowns in Ohio State's spring game (played in Cincinnati due to renovations at Ohio Stadium). That's certainly a step up from last season, and it's more than enough to get Buckeye fans really excited.
But hold on just a sec. That above-average defense Ohio State fielded last season? Yeah, it only returns four starters from 2013. Maybe Miller's performance had a little something to do with a near wholesale change for the front seven.
We probably won't know the real answer to that question until a few weeks into September at the earliest, but coming off a 12-0 season with a massive chip on the shoulder pad will be more than enough to earn Ohio State a preseason Top 10 ranking.