Urban Meyer COLUMBUS, OH – SEPTEMBER 3: Head Coach Urban Meyer of the Ohio State Buckeyes calls out instructions to his players during the second quarter of the game against the Bowling Green Falcons on September 3, 2016 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)

It wasn’t supposed to be this easy. Teams don’t just lose a bushel of top-shelf NFL talent and plug in 16 new starters without feeling the burn.

You don’t simply swashbuckle into Norman, step foot on Owen Field after many players’ first airplane ride, and plant a flag into the psyche of the college football world.

Literally, the youngest starting team in all of the FBS has to grow a little before a test like this, right?

But now that we’ve seen the 2016 version of Urban Meyer’s latest Ohio State team after a pasting of Oklahoma 45-24, maybe it’s time to reassess how quickly this team can arrive as a serious College Football Playoff contender.

Led by JT Barrett at quarterback, and his cachet of weapons on offense, the Buckeyes stepped off the bus scoring touchdowns, making circus catches, and beating Boomer Sooner into submission at its own place. It also found a No. 1 receiver in Noah Brown, thanks to catches like this:

On defense, Ohio State may have given up more yards than it wanted, but it made big plays when it had to, and helped stretch out the lead in the first half with yet another pick-six, it’s fourth touchdown of the season on defense. Not to be forgotten, punter Cameron Johnston was a beast again when given the chance.

All phases of Ohio State’s game were able to have their moment in the Oklahoma night.

Look, it’s too early to anoint any team as a shoe-in for anything, but it’s clear that this team has enough talent to play with, and beat, anyone — yes, even big, bad Alabama, or Clemson, or Louisville.

In fact, maybe we should have seen this coming. Urban Meyer has been very brash about the talent on this team. At Big Ten Media Days, he raised eyebrows by stating “This is as talented a group, top to bottom, as I’ve had, now it’s, how do we get them ready?”

How about put the talent on the field and let it roll?

That’s exactly what OSU did on Saturday night, even after an hour-and-a-half weather delay because of lightning in the area. There would be more to come from the Scarlet and Gray sideline once the game began.

So now it’s time to wonder just how far THE Ohio State Buckeyes can go this year. There are still plenty of land mines left on a schedule that hasn’t even begun league play yet.

There are still night games at Wisconsin and Penn State in back-to-back weeks, a game at Michigan State, and of course the game against that school up north that has a coach that likes to tweet, bear his chest, and wear khakis at satellite camps — among other newsworthy events like this:

That’s a tough way to go for any team, let alone a team with so much inexperience and youth that is bound to show inconsistencies. There will still be stiff challenges ahead, and you can almost guarantee that more adversity will elbow its way into the season than what we’ve seen thus far.

But so far, so good. OSU has blasted all three of its first opponents, and we now know a little more about its abilities after tonight. And those abilities might just take it to another shot to play for it all.

Yes, this team has arrived ahead of schedule, if it can just stay on schedule.

About Phil Harrison

Phil has been writing about college sports for over eight years. In addition to contributing to The Comeback, he is a frequent contributor to collegefootballnews.com and talking10.com. His writing has been featured on foxsports.com, espn.com, and cbssportsline.com among others. He's a Jack of all trades, and a master of one -- living in the doghouse at home far too often. Follow him on Twitter @PhilHarrisonCFB