Ohio State football: Previewing Potential Playoff Foes

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Jan 12, 2015; Arlington, TX, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Cardale Jones (12) takes the snap against the Oregon Ducks during the fourth quarter in the 2015 CFP National Championship Game at AT&T Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

New year, different teams, tougher challenge for the Ohio State Buckeyes?

In about seven months’ time, the second ever College Football Playoff will be underway.

Four teams will compete in such a playoff, with the defending champion Ohio State Buckeyes hoping to once again be among them.

Last season, the Buckeyes arrived at the coveted ball playing the role of Cinderella. Many thought the clock would strike midnight against heavyweight Alabama.

Boy, were they wrong.

Ohio State would eventually go on to win the whole College Football Playoff National Championship, knocking off Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota and his Oregon Ducks.

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Undefeated defending champion Florida State, an overrated squad that was beaten into submission by Oregon, stood alone as the only team the Buckeyes wouldn’t face during their historic run.

The playoff field was solid in its inaugural year, but not overwhelmingly brutal. In other words, it wasn’t like the World Cup’s infamous “group of death.”

That should change in 2016, as many elite teams have substantially improved. The rest of the field has also grown in size and are ready to make a push for a spot in the final four.

The Buckeyes will be truly put to the test if/when they make the College Football Playoff. Repeating will not be so easy as once thought, regardless if their regular season schedule is a cakewalk.

While remaining within realistic boundaries, here we preview the Buckeyes’ potential playoff opponents.

Next: Alabama Crimson Tide