At this year’s Big Ten Media Days, there was an Ohio State reporter who went around asking every Big Ten coach what it would take for the Buckeyes to be bad.

It was a leading question, clearly designed to get coaches to begrudgingly answer something like “Well, they never will be, thanks for the reminder.” And that’s what most coaches said, or something along the lines of there needing to be a catastrophe of epic proportion (see: tattoo scandal).

But if there were ever a year when that question could be at least somewhat prescient, it was this year. Two years out from a national championship and one year out from a team that boasted about a million (okay, 12) 2016 NFL Draft picks, Ohio State has by far its least experienced team since Urban Meyer arrived in 2012. The Buckeyes returned just six total starters — three on each side of the ball — and one could reason, with a tough schedule and a division with great Michigan and Michigan State teams, that this might not be OSU’s year. Vegas even initially set the team’s over/under for wins at 8.5, eventually inching it up toward nine.

Ha! So much for all of that.

Three weeks into the 2016 season, Ohio State has proven to be plenty capable of reaching the College Football Playoff and winning the National Championship. That much was obvious when the Buckeyes traveled to Norman and obliterated Oklahoma, 45-24. Despite all of the talent and experience leaving for the NFL, OSU might be just as good as — if not better than — it was last year. The statistical ratings seems to agree. The S&P+ ratings from Football Outsiders rank the Buckeyes fifth after they finished third last season, and the rating could improve, since a majority of it is still made up of preseason projections.

There are a couple of takeaways here. Even though it’s just one link, it’s clear that in some cases, we rely far too much on experience and far too little on talent in predicting teams’ success. Added years in the weight room are a clear benefit, and sure, OSU doesn’t have “senior leaders” who Know How To Win™ at this level (whatever the hell that means), but the Buckeyes do have better players than everyone else, which should obviously make them a better team.

But the biggest takeaway for the rest of the country, and especially the rest of the Big Ten, is that not only is Ohio State never going to be down, the Buckeyes are turning into a juggernaut that could truly rival Alabama as a constant force in the College Football Playoff.

About Kevin Trahan

Kevin mostly covers college football and college basketball, with an emphasis on NCAA issues and other legal issues in sports. He is also an incoming law student. He's written for SB Nation, USA Today, VICE Sports, The Guardian and The Wall Street Journal, among others. He is a graduate of Northwestern University.