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Why Ohio State will -- or won't -- repeat as national champ

While we wait for the Big Ten to take its turn in the media days spotlight, we're going to borrow an idea from our friends over at the SEC blog and look at the reasons why each team will or won't reach a specific goal this season.

We'll start with the defending champions at Ohio State. Was last season just the warm-up act? Remember, most people thought at this time last summer that the Buckeyes were still a year away from serious national title contention. Then they surprised everybody by winning the inaugural College Football Playoff.

Is an encore coming? Let's examine.

Why Ohio State will repeat as national champ this season:

Talent, talent, talent: When we compiled our preseason Big Ten position outlooks last week, Ohio State checked in as the best of the best at almost every position. That's more of a statement about how much blue-chip talent Urban Meyer has collected than it is about the rest of the league. Simply put, the Buckeyes might well be the most skilled team in the nation. They have five legitimate preseason first-team All-America candidates in running back Ezekiel Elliott, offensive linemen Taylor Decker and Pat Elflein, defensive end Joey Bosa and linebacker Darron Lee. Whoever plays quarterback is an automatic Heisman Trophy candidate. Plus young guns like Raekwon McMillan, Johnnie Dixon and Curtis Samuel are ready to make their mark. This was a sophomore-dominated team in 2014, which means this season's group could be even more loaded.

The schedule: The Buckeyes' schedule isn't easy, per se. They open the season on the road at Virginia Tech in a very difficult environment. They have to play a top-10 team in Michigan State, a potentially very good Minnesota team as a crossover opponent and have Michigan on the road. But Ohio State will be favored in every contest, and both the Spartans and Gophers come to the Horseshoe. It's hard to picture the champs losing at home this season. Meyer's team should romp through most of the Big Ten and be perfectly positioned to reach the playoff again.

Why Ohio State won't repeat as national champ this season:

Complacency: It's difficult to imagine any Meyer team playing without an edge, but these Buckeyes have been toasted and praised for a solid six months now. For many of them, last season's playoff was their first real taste of national fame. How do they handle it all once the grind begins anew? While Nick Saban seemed to be making an excuse last week when he complained about the draft advisory information hurting Alabama's team chemistry, he did make a reasonable point. I have covered teams in the past where coaches absolutely believed certain players were more worried about not getting hurt and protecting their draft status than winning. Several Buckeyes are already being touted as first-rounders next year. Does the quarterback competition become a divisive wedge? These are issues Meyer and his staff will have to stay on top of all season long.

Repeating is really hard: Meyer won two national championships at Florida, but not back-to-back ones. That's a tough road to navigate, especially since every team on your schedule is bringing its best possible effort. The Buckeyes were rather fortunate last season in the injury department outside of the quarterback situation, though several guys were held out of spring practice after the toll of the playoff. A couple key injuries on the offensive and/or defensive lines could have a major impact, as Ohio State is not especially deep in the trenches. The largest obstacle, however, may be the playoff itself. The Buckeyes' path to a repeat involves beating Michigan in an intense rivalry game on the final weekend of the regular season, winning the Big Ten title game and then playing two elite-caliber opponents in a 12-day span. Lots of twists and turns can happen on that journey. Ohio State proved as much last season.