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Urban Meyer is King of the college football world right now and there is no evidence he’s going to give up his throne any time soon. On the contrary.
As the dust settles on the 2014 college football season the focus has already moved to 2015 and with it, one obvious realization. The Buckeyes are going to be loaded.
Ohio State earned Meyer his third national title with a 42-20 victory over Oregon on Monday night. The Buckeyes wrapped up a 14-1 season with a performance that was outstanding and led by a number of underclassmen.
We all have heard the storyline over and over, third string quarterback Cardale Jones improved to 3-0, all essentially in playoff games, and sparked the Buckeyes to the title with another solid start. Jones will be back and a prominent player in one of the more fascinating quarterback races college football has seen in some time. Braxton Miller, a two-time Big Ten offensive player of the year, and J.T. Barrett, who likely would have been a Heisman finalist if not for a broken ankle he suffered in the Michigan game, opening the door for Jones’ heroics.
But quarterback is hardly the only spot where the Buckeyes have an embarrassment of riches.
The defense will be led by defensive linemen Joey Bosa and Adolphus Washington with linebacker Darren Lee and defensive backs Vonn Bell and Eli Apple also returning after taking a star-in-the making turn in the college football playoff. Whoever is back at quarterback will have Ezekiel Elliott at running back to hand off to as well.
The conventional wisdom around Ohio State entering this season was that Meyer is doing a great job and this group of Buckeyes was likely a year away from a playoff run but it could still have a strong season. An early season loss at home to Virginia Tech seemed to confirm that this wasn’t the Buckeyes’ year, but from that day on Ohio State kept working and was easily the most improved team in the country, as well as the best, at season’s end.
“This team wasn’t supposed to do this, but they fought through adversity, they got stronger and stronger and stronger, and this is a great team,” Meyer said after the win over Oregon. “We finished the year a great team. To have four turnovers and still beat a team like that 42‑20, incredible experience. I don’t want to get over dramatic, but it’s as improved a football team, and I’ve watched football for a long time from Game 1 to Game 15. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Now Meyer’s focus changes from trying to return Ohio State to the top to trying to keep it there. With the pieces the Buckeyes have in place, it’s hard to imagine Meyer not wearing the crown at the end of next season as well.
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