The preconceived notion heading into the 2015 season in the Big Ten is that the Buckeyes will breeze through the non-conference slate, escape the conference schedule unscathed for the fourth consecutive season and compete for a second-straight national championship.
With 14 starters returning from last year’s team and some of the most important pieces from the improbable title run returning, it’s hard not to give Ohio State an automatic bid into the Big Ten championship game, and subsequently, the College Football Playoff.
Offensive leaders Ezekiel Elliott, Jalin Marshall and Michael Thomas return at the skilled positions while Cardale Jones, J.T. Barrett and Braxton Miller battle for the starting quarterback role this spring.
The defense returns the Big Ten sack leader Joey Bosa, as well as other talented secondary defenders Vonn Bell and Darron Lee.
It’s quite possible that Urban Meyer coaches the Buckeyes to be one of the most dominant football teams we’ve seen at the collegiate level in recent memory. But it’s also possible the scarlet and grey suffer a heart-breaking defeat, much like it did a season ago against Virginia Tech in the Horseshoe.
Looking ahead to the 2015 schedule, three games pop out as potential tallies in the loss column for the defending national champions.