Dynasty Mode: Ohio State Is Still The Best Team In College Football
It's a Friday afternoon in Collegetown, USA.
You're walking home from class and you pass the house a block away from yours. A dozen or so guys are on the porch, solo cup in hand, basking in the mid-afternoon glow and the fumes from the grill a few feet away.
There are remnants of the well-attended banger from the night before strewn about the yard, though it somehow transcends the description of grimy.
As Action Bronson softly bumps from speakers balanced on the banister, scantily-clad university coeds nod rhythmically in the kiddie pool in the front yard. The energy and positive vibes are palpable as the harmless gathering calmly awaits the mass influx sure to come.
That house (you know the one) is an accurate symbolization of Ohio State football right now.
The momentum in Columbus is real. And if anyone tells you they aren't intrigued, they're lying to you and most likely jealous.
Fresh off a championship where they shocked everyone with their laundry list of quarterbacks, the Buckeyes returned to The Shoe with the vast majority of last year's difference makers.
The sports media world is fixated not on Los Angeles, Florida or Alabama, but on central Ohio.
With Joey Bosa, Ezekial Elliot and Michael Thomas, it truly is an embarrassment of riches.
Even without a guaranteed job, Cardale Jones, JT Barrett and Braxton Miller opted to stay at OSU and battle it out for under-center duties. Miller even opted to switch positions entirely, rather than packing his bags and leaving the party early.
Big-shot freshmen like Torrance Gibson are drinking the red punch as fast as they can ladle it. The five-star recruit from Florida has said he will play receiver this season rather than further logjam the situation at his natural position of quarterback.
Devin Smith has moved on to the NFL, but Thomas should be a more-than-apt replacement as the go-to guy after a 799-yard, nine-touchdown sophomore campaign.
Jalin Marshall and Corey Smith are threats every time the ball is in their hands and will benefit from increased touches.
Besides Jones, Elliot was the star of the inaugural College Football Playoff. Tummy exposed, he ran for 476 yards and six touchdowns against two of the sport's perennial powers, breaking his career high in each outing.
Their schedule also works in their favor even more this season.
Though Bosa and a slew of other contributors will be suspended, the Buckeyes will come out on fire in Blacksburg to open up the year against Virginia Tech, remembering with all-too-much clarity what happened last year against the Hokies.
Road games at Rutgers, Indiana and Illinois pose little threat to an untainted record, but they do travel to Ann Arbor to close out the season with Jim Harbaugh's first OSU-Michigan game as a coach.
I always seem to work the Kentucky Wildcats into my articles, but it is especially applicable here.
Several times since his arrival in Lexington, John Caliper has put teams on the floor that have attracted attention and commanded respect through a combination of excitement and substance.
The John Wall year, the Anthony Davis year and the Karl Towns year, in particular, had all eyes on Lexington.
The unusual combination of supreme talent and the players' ability to check their egos at the door made the Cats must-see TV.
The Ohio State Buckeyes will be no different this year on the football field.
Momentum is not only a scientific phenomenon, but an intangible force with an ever-present role in sports.
The momentum in Columbus is no fluke. It will continue to increase until Ohio State faces the unlikely prospect of defeat.
Right now, it's good to be a Buckeye.