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CFB analyst believes Ohio State tops Georgia with ‘best roster in the country’

Fox college football analyst Joel Klatt is known for giving the Big Ten extra love. It’s no surprise that he recently included Ohio State at No. 1 in his post-spring college football top-25 rankings.

While rankings this early in the year aren’t worth noting in my mind, Klatt’s reasoning for listing Georgia at No. 2 behind the Buckeyes is worth some exploration, though. According to the former Colorado quarterback, Ohio State is the best team in the nation because of its star-studded roster.

“There was a lot of debate about who should be No. 1 between Ohio State and Georgia,” Klatt wrote for Fox Sports.

“I was initially going to put Georgia at No. 1 because the Bulldogs have a strong incumbent quarterback in Beck. But that couldn’t make up for the fact that Ohio State’s roster is the best in the country.”

Georgia’s 2024 squad sits at No. 1 in both ESPN and CBS Sports’ way-too-early top-25 rankings. A top-tier roster propelled by Carson Beck’s return is an undeniable reason for UGA’s standing in both of those polls.

The Buckeyes’ situation at quarterback, on the other hand, is anything but established. That is a much bigger issue than Klatt admits here.

“Their quarterback situation is their biggest question and could cause some to hesitate from ranking them No. 1.”

Ohio State’s question at quarterback should cause more than hesitation. A similar situation arguably caused the Buckeyes to falter at the hands of Michigan last season with Kyle McCord at the helm. The Buckeyes also had a strong roster top-to-bottom in 2023, but didn’t have a signal-caller that could will the team past the Wolverines, who have won three-straight matchups between the Big Ten rivals.

Head coach Ryan Day and new offensive coordinator Chip Kelly will choose from among Kansas State transfer Will Howard, five-star signee Julian Sayin and four-star signee Air Noland to take the keys of the Buckeye’s offense. A unit that will be without No. 4 overall pick Marvin Harrison Jr.

Klatt is putting his faith in Ohio State’s defense to make up for the question at quarterback and the transition to a new offense under Kelly.

“The defense will also allow Will Howard or whoever is at quarterback to go through some growing pains. It allows Chip Kelly to get Ohio State’s feet settled on offense. Kelly’s effect on the run game can’t be overlooked. It hasn’t reached its potential in that element over the last few years, and he has the best backfield in the country with Judkins and TreVeyon Henderson.”

The Buckeyes defense does appear to be one of the top units in the sport after returning nine starters from 2023 and adding All-American safety Caleb Downs. The question is can that unit carry the Buckeyes past a new-look Michigan team in their own conference, nonetheless a program in Georgia that has lost one game in the last two seasons?

It’s probable that both Ohio State and Georgia make the expanded 12-team College Football Playoff, regardless of the pair winning their respective conference. This means that we likely won’t get to witness the Buckeyes face a uber-talented team until the postseason. A rematch of the 2022 Peach Bowl, a thrilling last second win by Georgia, would be a game of epic proportions and one that would be a tale tell sign of how these blue-blood programs actually compare on the field rather than in the month of May.

Story originally appeared on UGA Wire