Buckeyes, Headlines

Ohio State ranked No. 1 in ESPN’s 2017 FPI football rankings

(Chuck Crow, The Plain Dealer)

The college football season is only six months from kicking off, so it is time to start team ranking for the 2017 season. ESPN released the first preseason Football Power Index (FPI) rankings. No. 1 on the list was the Ohio State Buckeyes with 28.9 points.

What is FPI? Here’s their explanation:

Preseason FPI is designed to take the guesswork out of preseason ratings. It is an automated ranking intended to measure team strength going forward. It is not a ranking of who will have the highest win total (which is dependent on schedule) or who is most likely to make the College Football Playoff.

The model comprises four major components: the last four seasons of performance on offense, defense and special teams, with the most recent season counting most; information on offensive and defensive returning starters, with special consideration given to a team returning its starting quarterback or gaining a transfer quarterback with experience; a four-year average recruiting ranking of four systems (ESPN, Scouts, Rivals and Phil Steele); and head coaching tenure. These four components interact and are assigned different weights depending on the team to produce preseason FPI.

Heading into his sixth season in Columbus, head coach Urban Meyer once again is filling rosters in the NFL Draft. Along with the graduating seniors, six players declared for the NFL Draft (15 in the last two years).

Even with the departures, Ohio State is returning eight starters on offense and seven on defense. The Buckeyes will have to reload in their defensive secondary after losing their entire starting defensive backfield for the second-straight season. They will also have to reload at wide receiver on offense. The top returning receiver heading into 2017 is K.J. Hill, who had just 18 catches for 262 yards and one touchdown in 2016. Tight end Marcus Baugh, who will also be back next season, had 24 catches for 269 yards and two touchdowns last season.

The Bucks return quarterback J.T. Barrett, who Vegas has given the second-best odds of winning the 2017 Heisman Trophy. Although the offense sometimes struggled, two new co-offensive coordinators should add creativity to the Buckeyes’ offense.

Signing day does not always provide immediate returns, but the team also did just sign one of the best recruiting classes in school history.

The second-best team is Alabama, who has 25.9 points. That three-point gap is relatively big, considering the difference between Bama and No. 4 Florida State (24.3 points) is just 1.6 points.

2016 was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Buckeyes. Instead, they managed to make the College Football Playoff for the second time in three years. Will they be able to do so again in 2017?

Ohio State’s 2017 schedule features three teams in the Top 20: No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 8 Penn State, and No. 18 Michigan.

All 12 Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 100:

  • No. 1 Ohio State
  • No. 8 Penn State
  • No. 10 Wisconsin
  • No. 18 Michigan
  • No. 29 Northwestern
  • No. 39 Iowa
  • No. 57 Nebraska
  • No. 58 Michigan State
  • No. 60 Indiana
  • No. 61 Minnesota
  • No. 69 Maryland
  • No. 83 Illinois
  • No. 88 Rutgers
  • No. 98 Purdue