Tuesday, May 29, 2012

ATHLON SPORTS RANKS OHIO STATE NO. 6 IN 2012 PRESEASON TOP 25

Etienne Sabino
TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
Athlon Sports has released its 2012 Preseason College Football Top 25 rankings, and the magazine rates Ohio State as the sixth-best team in the country.

The No. 1-selling college football mag also predicted Ohio State to finish as the top team in the Big Ten Leaders division, stating that the Buckeyes — who finished 6-7 last season under interim head coach Luke Fickell — will make rapid improvement under new football boss, Urban Meyer.

"It won't take long for Urban Meyer to have the Buckeyes back on top in the Big Ten," Athlon Sports Managing Editor Mitch Light stated in an e-mail.

Steven Lassan — College Football Editor for AthlonSports.com — shared the same sentiments with me as Light did in the e-mail ...

"We have a lot of faith in Meyer for a quick turnaround," Lassan told me via Twitter. "Lots of talent coming back. Almost have to throw out last year."

At first glance, I sort of disagreed with Athlon's rankings. But after examining the schedule, as well as processing what I witnessed in OSU's spring camp, I believe the addition of Meyer will help the Buckeyes to at least 10 wins in 2012. 

A 10-2 Buckeyes team could be good enough for a No. 6 ranking.

I have already seen an incredible, Earth-shaking improvement from sophomore quarterback Braxton Miller this spring, and the new high tempo, spread offense being implemented has already greatly enhanced the athletic signal caller's multi talents.

"Talent will get you seven or eight wins," Meyer said during a press conference on May 16. "Discipline gets you to around nine. Leadership is when the magic starts happening."

That's the key to the No. 6 ranking — leadership. If Miller can continue to hone his leadership abilities (notably on the vocal end), the team could win all 12.

Unfortunately, the Buckeyes are prohibited from playing in the conference title or a bowl game in 2012.

WHAT DOES TWITTER THINK? ... I posted a tweet on Twitter Tuesday asking what people thought about the Buckeyes' No. 6 ranking in Athlon and here were some of the responses ...

@OSUEvan: I would put them in 9-3/10-2 range. I think they go 8-0 at home, but road games will be a struggle, 2-2 at best on road.

@JonDouglass1: Man, #6? I don't think they s/b that high. 2 many question marks, new offense, playmakers?, I would've put them like 18-20.

@JKellyGOBUCKS: Not so sure where they should b ranked but I'm pretty sure that 6 is too high. Not yet anyway.

@JoshStivers3723: I agree. Last year w/JT or Meyer as HC, I think OSU goes at least 9-4. Only going to get better this year.

@BuckeyeBoard: I think #MSU #Wisconsin #PSU and #scUM will all be tough ... Get a new start. I think the season will be exciting, and our defense could be the most improved unit in the #B1G.

@jaxon_knife: 6 losses in 2011 by 7 or less, w/1st time HC and QB, worst offseason in OSU history, and weekly suspensions. (I believe he agrees with ranking).

— You can follow Lee Hudnell on Twitter @LeeHudnell_TBT