“O-H!” is the beginning of a chant heard often in OSU football-addicted Columbus, and this year was no exception. With an 11-2 record, a double overtime win against longtime rival University of Michigan and selection to the 4-team national college football playoff, the 2016 Buckeye season was worthy of the exuberant “I-O!” that finished out its favorite cheer and its regular season. The 2017 season could thrill the scarlet-and-gray crowds as well, especially if it results in a more inspiring post season than Coach Urban Meyer’s only career shut-out, against ultimate national champion Clemson University in the first round of the national championship playoffs. The best we can do for now is give you pre-game chills at the thought of you seeing the team in helmets and cleats, since the regular football season doesn’t start until September. Here’s a summary of the recent past and what the future holds.
Their competition will vary between unranked to top 10 teams. Games against Maryland and Nebraska look like a cakewalk, while matches against Michigan and (No. 6) Oklahoma will likely prove to be a battle. This season’s encounter with (No. 7) Penn State could be billed as a grudge match, since the 2016-17 Nittany Lions’ regular season defeat of OSU helped them capture the Big Ten Championship, but did not result in an invitation to the national playoffs.
Players headed to the big leagues and those stay another year
Malik Hooker, Raekwon McMillan, Curtis Samuel, Noah Brown, Marshon Lattimore and Gareon Conley are losing their scarlet jerseys in order to pursue the big league. They hope to make a similar statement as the 2016 draft class, which had five players drafted in the top 20 picks of the first round, including Ezekiel Elliott, Joey Bosa, and Eli Apple. The Buckeyes shouldn’t drop their heads, despite key players leaving. Chris Worley, Billy Price, Sam Hubbard, and star quarterback J.T. Barrett are staying in Columbus. Due to another stellar recruiting year, there will be a host of other new talent to support their top remaining players. Next Buckeye up! Urban Meyer’s contract lasts through 2020. He has the highest annual compensation of Big Ten coaches. He’s earned the brand of the ultimate Buckeye coach, with a 61-6 OSU record.
#BuckeyeNation I'm not going anywhere. Time to get to work for next season .. Thank you seniors, it was a pleasure. Love you all
— Samwise (@Sam_Hubbard_) January 1, 2017
There are 18 commitments for the upcoming year. Safety Jeffrey Okudah, running back Cam Akers, linebacker Baron Browning and cornerback Lamont Wade are among the five-star committed prospects. A healthy crew of four-star athletes like cornerback Lamont Wade, linebacker Anthony Hines and defensive tackle Anthony Hines are also on board. The 2017-2018 season could be a groundbreaking campaign, thanks to this young and promising talent.
Leaving their legacy after college
The 2016 draft class had five players selected in the top 20 picks of the first round. Six members of the 2016 OSU draft players made the all-rookie list. With 1,631 yards and 15 touchdowns, Dallas Cowboy Ezekiel Elliot had one of the best NFL freshman campaigns ever, and solidified himself as one of the best running backs in the game. Joey Bosa was named NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year with 10.5 sacks in 12 games for the Los Angeles Chargers. That says something about the lasting legacy of Buckeye football.
State of the Fanbase
There is nothing like hearing fans scream during a critical drive, especially when one of the most exceptional human support systems are behind you. OSU fans are #1 in college athletics and #8 globally based on its booming attendance of 100K + fans per-game, according to a Fansided Time. Inc. survey. Never turn down watching a game in the Buckeye’s beloved Horseshoe stadium or in whatever venue their loyals consistently follow them to throughout the country.
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