The Ohio State Buckeyes were last seen walking off the field after a tough loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide in last year's national championship game.
As the confetti fell and Justin Fields walked off the field for the last time as a Buckeye, Ohio State knew their offseason was going to be massive. Ohio State entered the offseason with an enormous question at quarterback.
Justin Fields took his talents to the NFL, leaving C.J. Stroud, Jack Miller, and Kyle McCord. Then the Buckeyes received an early enrollment by five-star quarterback Quinn Ewers. That announcement now has brought even more attention to the quarterback position for the Buckeyes.
Ohio State also lost critical pieces on the defensive side of the football but has seemed to fill those without trouble. With fall practices kicking off earlier this week, let's take a look at the Ohio State Buckeyes season preview.
What to expect from Ohio State on offense?
The Ohio State Buckeyes enter the 2021-2022 college football season with one of the best wide receiver groups in the country. Chris Olave and Garrett Wilson are just the iceberg tips when it comes to the talent at receiver. Julian Fleming and Jaxon Smith-Njigba are two young wideouts that are poised to have significant years.
The Buckeyes have former NFL wide receiver Marvin Harrison's son, Marvin Harrison Jr. They are set for the future at the wide receiver position.
Ohio State will need Master Teague to have a dominant year in 2021. Teague is a bruiser and could benefit from the talented receivers. When defensive coordinators plan for the Buckeyes offense, the receiver group will be a top priority. That plays to Master Teague's favor.
Finally, the Buckeyes will need the winner of the quarterback battle to make strides towards replacing Justin Fields. Reports have pointed towards C.J. Stroud as the starter for the upcoming season. If that turns out to be accurate, the young quarterback has massive shoes to fill and will need to start off on the right foot.
What to expect from Ohio State on defense?
The Ohio State Buckeyes enter the 2021-2022 season with their defensive line being their strength. That comes as no surprise as the Buckeyes have produced massive talent in the NFL from their defensive front. Haskell Garrett and Zach Harrison are the two defensive linemen on NFL draft boards.
Once again, the Buckeyes secondary will be tested. Sevyn Banks will look to prove why he's one of the top cornerbacks in the country this season. Ohio State struggled to stop the high-powered passing attack of Alabama in the national championship game.
Their corners will need the front seven to develop a pass rush to cover up weaknesses inside the secondary. Even with the questionable secondary, the Buckeyes are the favorites to win the Big Ten and make another trip to the CFB Playoffs in 2021.
Will the Ohio State Buckeyes return to the national championship this season?
Ryan Day has done a tremendous job taking over for Urban Meyer. The 2021-2022 season will be Day's most challenging season since becoming the head coach at Ohio State. For the first time in a long time, the Buckeyes don't have a clear-cut starter at quarterback.
The quarterback position's talent is there, but ultimately that talent is almost useless without a confident passer. That brings us back to our question, will the Ohio State Buckeyes return to the national championship in 2021?
Unfortunately, the Buckeyes will fall short of making it back to the big game. The lack of experience at quarterback will hurt the Buckeyes once they enter the college football playoffs. Ohio State also lacks a dominant rushing attack to lean on when the passing game is struggling.
The Buckeyes will most likely enter the CFB Playoffs as the fourth seed and matchup with Nick Saban and Alabama. That game will be similar to the national championship from last season. With the questions on offense and defense, it's hard to place the Buckeyes over Alabama.