Ohio State is among the favorites to not only win the Big Ten once again, but to possibly play for a national championship.
The Buckeyes were the country's only undefeated team a year ago, but had their share of limitations that created some problems, particularly when it came to consistency at certain areas.
OSU is expected to be much better with another year in Urban Meyer's system along with another outstanding recruiting class.
But with all the pressure of being a national championship contender on them, can they live up to that hype?
Here are three reasons why the Buckeyes can overachieve in Meyer's second season at the helm.
Braxton Miller was one of the breakout stars in college football last year, throwing for over 2,000 yards and rushing for over 1,200 in his sophomore season.
He is expected to improve much more, particularly in the passing game. Miller has the benefit of eight returning starters combined with a group of talented freshmen at the skill positions, including Jalin Marshall and Dontre Wilson.
Offensively, this may be the best Buckeye team on paper since the 2006 version which had Troy Smith, Antonio Pittman, Ted Ginn, Jr., Anthony Gonzalez and freshman running back Chris "Beanie" Wells.
Last year's team made a dramatic turnaround from the 2011 season where the OSU offense looked nearly inept and predictable at times. It continues to trend upward with more talent and familiarity in the system.
Ohio State's ability to reload defensively will be tested after losing seven starters, including its entire defensive line.
Thankfully, the Buckeyes do have a large amount of young studs waiting in the wings led by sophomore defensive ends Adolphus Washington and Noah Spence, who each saw plenty of playing time as true freshmen.
Ryan Shazier will lead a group of young linebackers full of talent, though also short on experience. He is the unit's only returning starter from the end of the 2012 season.
The reality is that although we don't know who will get the nod for sure, the competition between all the young linebackers will produce a proven starter who will play alongside Shazier and junior Curtis Grant.
OSU has had a history of reloading its defense despite two years of subpar play compared to units of the past. This year's defense has the type of potential to get back to elite levels once again.
NCAA sanctions kept Urban Meyer from coaching in a bowl game for the first time since he coached at Bowling Green—not including the one year he took off.
He's only lost one bowl game in his career and only one of three conference championship games.
In short, he knows how to win the big game.
Meyer is still perfect at Ohio State after an impressive 12-0 season, but now has a chance to prepare the Buckeyes for big games that matter as far as the BCS picture is concerned.
He is one of the best coaches in the game because of his record in big games and winning conference and national championships.
He can show it once again now that the NCAA bowl ban shackles are off of the Buckeyes.
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