ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenberg already thinks the Ohio State Buckeyes are a top 25 team in the country, and they are receiving votes in both the coaches polls and AP polls, so it’s only a matter of time before it actually happens.
With a win this weekend against a struggling Purdue squad, Ohio State could be back in the top 25, something fans and critics probably never saw coming.
Purdue gave Penn State a game earlier this season, and wound up beating then-ranked Illinois after Ohio State took them out of the rank of unbeatens, but they have since been rolled over by Michigan and Wisconsin, and are 4-5 this season.
Still, if Ohio State is able to put together a convincing victory against the Boilermakers, I have no doubt this new and improved squad will make its way back to the top 25. They are an immensely talented team—as expected—and are a lot better right now than a lot of folks are giving them credit.
After playing great football for about three quarters against Nebraska, the Buckeyes have taken down 16th ranked Illinois, 15th ranked Wisconsin, and lowly Indiana in consecutive games behind a resurgent Braxton Miller and dominant running game.
You have to wonder how much longer OSU is going to be able to get away with not throwing the ball more than about 15 times a game, but as long as the running game is this dominant, they really won’t have to worry about it. Freshman quarterback Braxton Miller has four rushing touchdowns in his last two games, and he only had five pass completions against Indiana if that gives an indication of just how well these guys are stepping it up offensively.
Defensive lineman John Simon has also keyed a much-improved defensive unit, along with the return of suspended running back Dan Herron, whose lowest rushing total in his three games so far this season is 114 yards, which he got in his first game back.
Herron could be the X-factor for Ohio State going forward. He rushed the ball only 10 times against Indiana, but carved them up to the tune of 141 yards. He has two touchdowns in three games and is averaging nearly six yards per carry.