Five for Friday: What Are the CFB Magazines Saying About OSU?
By Tony Gerdeman
COLUMBUS, Ohio — Everybody would agree that the best part of summer is the onset of the college football magazine season. If you've glanced at your local magazine rack in the last couple of weeks, you'll notice that they have been populated with pages of prognostications.
Personally, I usually buy three magazines every year. I'll buy the first national mag that I see -- this year it was Lindy's, then I'll buy the first Big Ten mag I see -- Athlon, and then I'll always, always buy Phil Steele's magazine.
Unfortunately, the one magazine that I rely on more than any other -- Steele's -- is not yet on the shelves, though digital copies are available. But I have decided to soldier on with this piece regardless, as Steele has released plenty of his picks and projections via his website.
With all of that said, here are some of the more noticeable OSU trends that have gone national.
1. Defensive tackle Michael Bennett is pretty good.
All three of the publications listed above have named Michael Bennett a First-Team All-American, as each of them expect him to explode as a senior. This is not an uncommon thought when it comes to Bennett, who put up 42 tackles, 11.5 tackles for loss and 7.0 sacks a year ago. With new defensive line coach Larry Johnson's aggressive playing style, Bennett should be even more disruptive this season, even if he isn't playing as many snaps.
Photo by Dan Harker
2. Ohio State is also pretty good.
The Buckeyes are the pick to win the Big Ten by Steele, Lindy's, Athlon, The Sporting News and USA Today, with Michigan State finishing second in the B1G East. Steele has OSU #3 in the nation, as does Athlon. Lindy's puts the Buckeyes #5, while The Sporting News has them all the way down at #9. USA Today, meanwhile, does them all one better by putting the Buckeyes at #2. As you can imagine, Ohio State is a popular pick to make it to the first College Football Playoff.
3. Ezekiel Elliott is being slept on.
Based on the two magazines that I have in my possession, as well as Steele's release of his top four All-Big Ten teams, the only recognition that sophomore running back Ezekiel Elliott has received was a Third-Team All-Big Ten projection from Athlon. Given how much this offense relied on Carlos Hyde a season ago, it's logical to assume that much of that reliance would now fall to Elliott, which should lead to some pretty emphatic production.
Photo by Jim Davidson
4. Everybody really, really likes the OSU defensive line.
Regardless of how Buckeye fans may feel about the OSU defense as a whole, they are nearly all excited about the upcoming defensive line, and they are not alone. Each of Steele, Athlon and Lindy's ranks the Buckeyes' defensive line as the best in the nation. Given the return of starters Michael Bennett, Joey Bosa and Noah Spence, as well as the promise of Adolphus Washington, it's an understandable opinion to have. Still, the epic collapse of the defense a season ago wasn't just on the back seven.
5. Braxton Miller is gonna three-peat as an All-B1G QB.
This may not come as a shocker to anybody but Michigan State fans, but the magazines think Braxton Miller is the best quarterback in the Big Ten. Having been named a First-Team All-Big Ten quarterback as both a sophomore and a junior, Miller is expected to become a rare three-time First-Team honoree. Athlon also tabs Miller as a Third-Team All-American, as does Steele. Lindy's doesn't have a Third Team, but they do have Miller as their #3 quarterback in the nation.
Bonus: People are buying the Pat Elflein hype.
Okay, so I don't really know how much "Pat Elflein hype" there actually is, but it is good to see that he is being recognized in the preseason magazines. Lindy's has him as a first-team All-Big Ten projection, while Athlon has him as a second-teamer. Phil Steele, however, is a hater.
Bonus: Dontre Wilson expectations have gone national.
Lindy's has named Dontre Wilson a First-Team All-Big Ten selection at their "All-Purpose" position, which is a pretty good descriptor for the different things that he can do on offense and special teams. Steele, meanwhile, has Wilson on his second team as a wide receiver. With just 53 touches on offense last season, that number could double in 2014, and the big plays should multiply as well.
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