COLUMBUS -- Ohio State is ranked in the top five of both preseason polls and figure to be in the playoff hunt into December. However, that doesn't mean everything is set in stone.
Here are five position battles worth paying attention to:
1. Center: The Buckeyes have had stalwart centers throughout Urban Meyer's tenure. The last two -- Pat Elflein and Billy Price -- were exceptional. It's possible Michael Jordan could follow the same path as those two, left guards who eventually moved down the line to center. But the odds-on favorite remains fifth-year senior Brady Taylor.
2. Linebacker: One of Ohio State's weakest positions last year offers plenty of intrigue as the season approaches. Pete Werner, Dante Booker, and Keandre Jones are competing for the starting spot, and if the brief glimpses of practice the media have seen are any indication, Werner may be winning the competition.
3. Safety: Jordan Fuller's status as one of the starting safeties is firm. But there's a vacancy on the other side, featuring Isaiah Pryor, Jahsen Wint, Amir Riep, and Brendon White. In his letter to fans last week, acting head coach Ryan Day singled out Pryor and Wint.
4. Defensive end: There's one defensive end spot open -- the other is occupied by perhaps the best player in all of college football, Nick Bosa. Chase Young, a supremely talented sophomore, and Jonathon Cooper, a junior, have both exhibited flashes of being able to produce on OSU's vaunted defensive line. Both will play this season, but chances are Young will be the starter.
5. Punt returner: This one seems easy. It would be a stunner if Demario McCall wasn't Ohio State's punt returner -- and an ace at that. Jaelen Gill and C.J. Saunders are providing competition, but this job is all McCall's.
This article is written by Kyle Rowland from The Blade and was legally licensed via the Tribune Content Agency through the NewsCred publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to firstname.lastname@example.org.