OSU is everyone’s target

COLUMBUS – The last flake of confetti in the postgame celebration had barely settled onto the turf after Ohio State’s 42-20 win over Oregon in the national championship game when someone somewhere probably started talking about next year.

Next year is here and the Buckeyes are everyone’s No. 1 team in the preaseason polls.

The last team to repeat as national champion was Alabama in 2011 and 2012. USC won at least a share of the title in 2003 and 2004. Going back a little more, Nebraska had back-to-back poll championships in 1994 and 1995 and Oklahoma was ranked No. 1 in 1974 and 1975.

Closer to home, Ohio State came up a little short the last two times it had a chance to repeat.

Michigan’s legendary upset of the Buckeyes in 1969 derailed OSU’s hopes of going back to back after being No. 1 in 1968.

And in 2003, Ohio State lost early to Wisconsin and lost at Michigan when it still might have reached the BCS championship game with a win over its biggest rival. The Buckeyes finished both those seasons ranked No. 4.

With two national championships at Florida (2006, 2008) OSU coach Urban Meyer is not a newcomer to trying to win back-to-back national championships.

The 2007 Gators lost many of the key players from the team which dominated Ohio State 41-14 in the national championship game, finished 9-4 and were ranked No. 13. Meyer’s 2009 team was ranked No. 1 all season until a loss to No. 2 Alabama in the SEC championship game. That team finished No. 3 in the polls.

Meyer says holding the national championship trophy again is not something Ohio State is talking about going into this season.

“Repeat is not a conversation,” Meyer said during spring practice. At the Big Ten media days in July, he banned another word. “We don’t use the word ‘defend’,” he said.

Senior offensive tackle Taylor Decker said the idea that this year is a clean slate with no carryover from last season is a theme the coaching staff has emphasized.

“That’s over. It’s cool but it’s done,” Decker said about last year’s national championship. “Obviously, the spotlight is on us more than ever. People will tell you how great you are but you don’t want to start believing all that hype. That can make you believe that just because we’re Ohio State we’ll go out and win every game we play.”

Maybe that caution is understandable. The last time the preseason No. 1 in The Associated Press college football poll won the national championship was USC in 2004. And the last time Ohio State was No. 1 in the preseason, its 2006 season ended with the loss to Florida in the BCS championship game.

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Lead by Head coach Urban Meyer the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field to start the celebration at Ohio Stadium on Jan. 24, 2015
http://www.limaohio.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/54/2015/08/web1_StadiumEntrance.jpgLead by Head coach Urban Meyer the Ohio State Buckeyes take the field to start the celebration at Ohio Stadium on Jan. 24, 2015

By Jim Naveau

[email protected]

Reach Jim Naveau at 567-242-0414 or on Twitter at @Lima_Naveau.

Jim Naveau has covered local and high school sports for The Lima News since 1978 and Ohio State football since 1992. His OSU coverage appears in more than 30 newspapers. Naveau, a Miami University graduate, also worked at the Greenville Advocate and the Piqua Daily Call. He has seen every boys state basketball tournament since 1977. Reach him at [email protected] or 567-242-0414.