Last season, Ohio State wasn’t even eligible to be a part of the USA Today coaches poll. But now that the Buckeyes are again eligible and a legitimate player in the national championship picture, Urban Meyer isn’t putting anymore stock in his team’s ranking than he did a year ago.
“High expectations have been discussed, but not the number,” Meyer said after it was announced that his team would start the season ranked second in the country, behind reigning national champion Alabama. “I’m anxious to get to Sunday because that will not be discussed one time.”
Expectations are nothing new for Meyer, who coached two national championship teams at Florida, in addition to a pair of undefeated squads at Utah and OSU. That, however, wasn’t always the case for the second-year Buckeyes head coach, who started at the bottom — literally — in his debut season at Bowling Green in 2001.
“I’ve told the story, one time we started 115th, and that’s a little more difficult,” Meyer said. “Starting No.2, that means some people have respect for what we did a year ago. But I can’t wait till Sunday and get to practicing.”
The Buckeyes’ second-place ranking is far from unexpected, after a 12-0 season that ended with a 26-21 regular season victory over Michigan. Due to NCAA violations committed by former head coach Jim Tressel and members of his 2010 team, Ohio State was ineligible for the postseason, but finished third in The Associated Press’ Top-25.
This season, however, the Buckeyes are capable of playing in both the Big Ten Championship Game and a potential bowl game, a journey that begins this season in Columbus.
Rounding out the top-five in this season’s initial coaches poll are Oregon, Stanford, and Georgia. Other Big Ten teams joining the Buckeyes in the preseason poll include Michigan (17), Nebraska (18), Northwestern (22), and Wisconsin (23).
Ohio State kicks off the 2013 season on Aug. 31 with a home date against Buffalo.