Ohio State Football: Top 10 defenses and CFP contenders?


To compete for a national title a team must have a stellar defense. If these projections are accurate, Ohio State will once again be in the mix.

An early projection of the top 10 defenses in college football has Ohio State listed at No. 5. While things are certain to change once the season begins, Brian Rauf of Chat Sports made a compelling case for each of the defenses he anticipates will finish the season ranked in the top 10 

If he is correct, there is a good chance a few of those teams will be CFP contenders and one will win the national title. That has usually been the case recently.

Ohio State won the first College Football Playoff in 2014 without having a top 10 defense but the last three champions have. And only four teams have made the playoff when their defenses were ranked below No. 11, Oregon, Florida State and Oklahoma twice.

So if Mr. Rauf is fairly accurate with his assertions, and I think he may be, it could also be a list of potential playoff contenders. Take a look at the teams he picks to have top 10 defenses and see what you think.

Not surprisingly, the list is dominated by Big Ten and SEC teams. The two conferences had 9 of the top 14 ranked defenses in the country last year.

Big Ten teams joining Ohio State on the list are Michigan (2), Michigan State (6) and Wisconsin (7). All four teams finished last season ranked in the top 10 in total defense.

The SEC teams include Alabama (3),  Georgia (8), Auburn (9) and LSU (10).  Alabama finished last season with the top ranked defense in the country and Georgia was No. 5. LSU and Auburn weren’t far from the top 10, ranked 12 and 14 respectively.

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The other two teams on the list are Clemson (1) and Washington (4). With the number of returning starters the Huskies have coming back on that side of the ball, expect them to improve on their No. 8 defensive ranking in 2017. And you can count on the Tiger defense that was No. 4 last season to be strong once again.

Three teams will be in reloading mode but that shouldn’t be a problem for any of them. Urban Meyer usually has to replace players who leave early for the NFL but that hasn’t stopped Ohio State from having a top 10 defense each of the last three years. Wisconsin has had a top 10 defense for five consecutive years and Georgia head coach Kirby Smart is one of the best defensive coaches in college football.

I’m not one that’s fond of clichés but this one rings true quite often, especially when it comes to college football. Defense wins championships.

So it would be a good idea to keep your eyes on the teams listed above so you can spot serious contenders for the national title this season. I also want to add one more Big Ten team to the mix because their defense could bump one of the those teams out of the top 10.

Next: With newest commit the Buckeyes vault to No. 6

Coach James Franklin has vastly improved Penn State on that side of the ball. The Nittany Lions  made a jump from No. 32 to the 17th spot last year. If Penn State improves even more and has a top 10 caliber defense, with quarterback Trace McSorley behind center, the Nittany Lions will be a force to be reckoned with this season.