Ohio State ranked fifth in Associated Press preseason poll

Ohio State football will begin the 2018 campaign ranked No. 5 in the Associated Press writers poll.

Defending national champion Alabama is No. 1 followed by Clemson, Georgia and Wisconsin.

Ohio State’s schedule includes four teams in the preseason top 25: No. 10 Penn State, No. 11 Michigan State, No. 14 Michigan and No. 16 TCU.

The Buckeyes will kick off the season Sept. 1 at home against Oregon State.

They may or may not be coached by Urban Meyer at that time.

He has been on leave since August 1 following accusations he mishandled allegations an assistant coach had abused his wife.

>>RELATED: Updated timeline surrounding the Urban Meyer investigation

Two days later, Meyer said via a published statement he had followed all protocols regarding a reported incident in 2015, but he has remained on the sideline while an independent investigation was conducted into his conduct.

The school said Friday that would be completed Sunday and a report will be prepared for the university board of trustees to consider.

A decision from University President Dr. Michael Drake and the board could come this week.

The Buckeyes are No. 3 in the preseason coaches poll, where Alabama is No. 1 and Clemson is No. 2. Ohio State received one first-place vote in the coaches poll.

Phil Steele rated Ohio State No. 3 in his annual preseason magazine, and advanced statistics from Football Outsiders and SB Nation project the Buckeyes as the No. 1 team in the country.

Ohio State has won five Associated Press national championships — 1942, ’54, ’68, 2002 and ’14 — and claims titles awarded by other major organizations in ’57 (UPI), ’61 (FWAA) and ’70 (National Football Foundation) as well.

Meyer’s Ohio State teams have finished the season ranked third, 10th, first, fourth, sixth and fifth in the AP poll.

The 2014 squad was the consensus national champion after winning the first College Football Playoff.

Meyer also coached top-five teams at Utah (2004) and Florida (2006, ’08, ’09).

That Utes team was undefeated while the Gators won the Bowl Championship Series championship game in ’06 and ’08.

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