Sean Merriman, BTN.com web editor, BTN.com staff, August 14, 2013
Will Ohio State jump defending National Champion Alabama in any publication's preseason college football top 25 poll? The chances are looking slim for the Buckeyes as Sports Illustrated released its preseason top 25 poll, and Urban Meyer's team came in at No. 4, behind Alabama, Stanford and Texas A&M.
[ SI.com: Preseason college football top 25]
Buckeye nation can't be happy with that, and after coming off a perfect 12-0 2012 season and featuring one of the top returning offenses in the country, can you really blame them?
But Ohio State being ranked at No. 4 certainly isn't the only thing that is going to stand out to Big Ten fans.
What do you think? My first impression is that Michigan State seems a little high up on this list, especially with so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball.
The Spartans are coming off a 7-6 season and faced with the task of replacing All-Big Ten running back Le'Veon Bell, which certainly won't be easy. MSU's defense should be not only one of the best in the Big Ten, but throughout the entire country. Max Bullough, Darqueze Dennard, Denicos Allen and Isaiah Lewis are all entering their third year as starters and should be the backbone of DC Pat Narduzzi's talented group. But still, is a team with so many question marks on the offensive side of the ball really worthy of a top 15 ranking?
Michigan and Northwestern seem right at home at No. 18 and 22, respectively. Both teams should be explosive on the offensive side of the ball, but also feature plenty of questions on the defensive side.
But perhaps my biggest gripe with this entire poll would be that Nebraska is nowhere to be found in the mix. I know Bo Pelini's team has several questions on the defensive side of the ball, much like both Michigan and Northwestern, but that offense should be explosive yet again in 2013.
The Huskers averaged just under 35 points per game last season, and return their top quarterback, running back and wide receiver from a team that went 10-4 last year and won the Legends division.
If the old saying of "defense wins championships" holds true, then I suppose SI's picks make sense. But I guess I'm not much of a traditionalist, which is why I think it's shocking to leave the Huskers off this list.