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Ohio State is on a two-game losing streak after its Orange Bowl loss to Clemson, but it comes in to 2014 as the team in the East in the best shape.
Sure, Carlos Hyde will be gone and so will four of his offensive linemen, but this team gets its most important player back for one last go-around in Braxton Miller.
Had Miller left for the NFL after this season, Ohio State would've been in some major trouble. With Miller back in the fold it can ease in the new players around him and know that he is capable of winning football games on his own (see 2012 for proof).
Replacing Hyde and his over 1,400 yards won't be easy, then again the Buckeyes backfield showed up without him to open this past season. Look for Ezekiel Elliott, who ran for 262 yards on just 30 carries as a freshman in 2013, to be the main back next season.
There's also the intriguing fit of Dontre Wilson into this offense. His role diminished a bit as the season went on, but Wilson can be an X-factor for this team going forward and don't be surprised to see a breakout season for him in his sophomore year.
Defensively, the Buckeyes lose their biggest playmaker in linebacker Ryan Shazier but are getting one of the best players in the 2014 class, Raekwon McMillan, to replace his athleticism. He's one of the early enrollees at Ohio State, and that extra time is likely to lead to him seeing the field from Day 1 in Columbus.
The defensive line was young this past year but showed great promise. As long as the starters stay healthy, it will be the best defensive line in the Big Ten in 2014.
Now the question is can the secondary get fixed and can anyone outside of Joey Bosa or Noah Spence get pressure on the quarterback.
There are holes in the roster that need to be filled on both sides, but with the way Urban Meyer has hit the ground running in recruiting over the past few years, this team is in a plug-and-play situation almost across the board.
Ohio State also catches a break in its schedule this year, avoiding Wisconsin, Nebraska and Iowa out of the West division. Its schedule is pretty attractive, with games against Michigan State and Michigan spread out nicely as well.
Give me the Buckeyes as the way-too-early favorites in the East for 2014, but it'll be a close race.
*Andy Coppens is Bleacher Report's lead writer for the Big Ten. You can follow him on Twitter: @ andycoppens.