Urban Meyer on National Title Expectations: 'We're Not There Yet'

David RegimbalFeatured ColumnistJune 19, 2013

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 28:  Urban Meyer speaks to the media after being introduced as the new head coach of Ohio State football on November 28, 2011 in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

It's hard to find a ranking for the upcoming college football season that doesn't have Ohio State as one of the top five teams in the country.

The Buckeyes return 13 starters to a team that went undefeated last year, including Heisman Trophy candidate Braxton Miller, making Ohio State one of just a handful of teams expected to contend for a national championship.

Just don't tell that to Urban Meyer.

Before speaking at a United Way fundraiser in Youngstown, Ohio, on Monday night, Meyer was asked about the national title expectations surrounding his team (via FoxSportsOhio.com).

"We're not there yet,'' Meyer said. "You worry about it because you're dealing with 18, 19, 20-year-old kids. I'll tell them when they're there, but they're not there yet.''

Meyer might not be ready to tab his team a national title contender, especially this early, but he's a lot higher on the Buckeyes than he was going into last season. 

Just three weeks into his first spring practice at Ohio State, he described his offense as a "clown show" and noted that the team was surprisingly out of shape.

Of course, those issues were resolved by the time the season started. Ohio State's offense went on to lead the Big Ten in scoring (37.2 points per game), But that came only after the team nutritionist shaved more than 450 pounds of fat off the Buckeyes and the strength coach added more than 500 pounds of muscle.

With the momentum generated during Meyer's first year, he feels that Ohio State is in a much better place. In fact, he even "loves" the position Ohio State is in going into the season.

"We expect to have a chance to win every game," Meyer said, according to FoxSportsOhio.com. "We're working towards that, working on getting better. Our expectation is the same ... it's very good right now in Columbus."

There's no doubt that things are very good in Columbus, but Meyer will be looking for ways to keep the Buckeyes grounded leading up to and during the college football season.

Preseason praise doesn't guarantee success on the field. Just ask Lane Kiffin and the USC Trojans, who started the 2012 season ranked No. 1 by the Associated Press, but went on to lose six games and finish the year outside of the top 25.

Meyer will look to avoid a similar fate by forcing the Buckeyes to approach this season one game at a time.

"Our first goal is just to go out and work so that on August (31) we can just try to go out and win our 13th game in a row," Meyer said. 

If the Buckeyes buy into Meyer's plan, Ohio State stands a good chance of validating its preseason hype.


David Regimbal is the lead Ohio State football writer for Bleacher Report.
Follow him on Twitter @davidreg412.