There are a variety of questions that can be requested of Ohio State heading into the 2021 faculty soccer season. Chief amongst them can be who begins at quarterback, what the linebacker scenario appears to be like like, how will the carries be distributed at working again and the way improved can the secondary be from a yr in the past.
However the greatest query, and the one one that actually issues primarily based on the Buckeyes’ objectives, is the place the Scarlet and Grey will find yourself on the finish of the season. Will or not it’s one other journey to the Faculty Soccer Playoff for Ohio State or will the Buckeyes come up brief primarily based on expectations and watch faculty soccer’s marquee postseason occasion from one other bowl website?
In every of the final two years, the Scarlet and Grey have carried out sufficient within the common season to obtain a bid for the postseason. Two years in the past, Ohio State got here up simply brief towards Clemson earlier than returning final postseason for a revenge recreation towards the Tigers within the semifinal. That arrange a dream nationwide title recreation towards Alabama, however the dream rapidly became a nightmare in a humbling 52-24 defeat.
Can the Buckeyes make it again and this yr recover from the hump and produce house that trophy? Based on Athlon Sports activities projections for all 43 bowl video games for the 2021 season, the solutions are sure and no.
Athlon predicts a really acquainted discipline for this season’s Playoff. Whereas they do not checklist projected rankings, Athlon has Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma within the Playoff. Each the Crimson Tide and the Tigers have been within the Playoff six occasions — all however one yr — and the Buckeyes and the Sooners have every made the Playoff on 4 events.
Based mostly on Athlon’s projections, there can be a nationwide title rematch within the 2022 semifinal between Alabama and Ohio State within the Cotton Bowl on New 12 months’s Eve. The Orange Bowl will function Clemson and Oklahoma within the different semifinal.
Whereas it’s not acknowledged, this projection appears to point the Scarlet and Grey will win the Large Ten title for a fifth straight yr and third consecutive season beneath head coach Ryan Day. Athlon tasks Wisconsin to face Oregon within the Rose Bowl as a part of the New 12 months’s Six bowl video games, probably indicating Ohio State beats the Badgers within the title recreation. The truth that it is the Buckeyes within the Playoff and never the Geese probably means Athlon believes the Scarlet and Grey will win when the 2 groups meet at Ohio Stadium on Sept. 11.
Ohio State has loads of expertise coming again on offense, which may very well be the aspect of the ball that carries the group, particularly early within the yr, to the Playoff. Whereas the quarterback place should be found out, there are three gifted choices in C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller and Kyle McCord. The receiver room is led by senior Chris Olave and junior Garrett Wilson, however has loads of depth behind these two. There are a variety of working again choices, beginning with junior Grasp Teague, who will compete for carries. The offensive line returns two of the most effective offensive tackles within the nation in Thayer Munford and Nicholas Petit-Frere and can have gamers who’ve seen time competing for the three inside positions.
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The Buckeye protection faces extra questions, however there is not any doubting the expertise on paper. Seniors Tyreke Smith and Haskell Garrett and junior Zach Harrison will lead the defensive position. The linebackers should exchange all three starters from a yr in the past, however have three seniors in Teradja Mitchell, Dallas Gant and Okay’Vaughan Pope, in addition to gifted, younger gamers on the lookout for reps. The secondary will function seniors Sevyn Banks and Josh Proctor again, however will want the likes of Lathan Ransom, Ryan Watts, Sevyn Banks and Cameron Martinez to take steps for the secondary to get again to its excessive customary after a down yr final season.