ESPN predicts the top future defenses in college football. Where is Ohio State?

It’s the college football offseason folks, and that means there are a ton of lists and rankings out there. Heck, we’re not throwing any shade because we’ve also gotten into the act and will continue to do so.

However, we’ve been following ESPN’s Adam Rittenberg and his future power rankings pieces that try to project ahead for the next three years (2022, 2023, and 2024). He already had Ohio State extremely high in his future quarterback rankings and his future offense rankings, and now he’s back to take a look at the defensive side of the ball.

If you’re interested in what Rittenberg says about the entire 25-team list, you can get a peek at it yourself by heading on over to ESPN (subscription required), but we’re just going to focus on the rankings and what he says about YOUR Ohio State Buckeyes.

So where does Rittenberg think Ohio State will be over the next three years when it comes to stopping the opponent, something that has to get much better from the last couple of seasons? Pretty much where the Buckeyes have been for a while. Here’s what Rittenberg has to say and where OSU is ranked in his assessment.

As usual, we unveil things by saving the best for the last.

Boise State Broncos:

Boise State running back Andrew Van Buren (21) leads the team onto the field carrying the Dan Paul Hammer before an NCAA college football game against New Mexico Saturday, Nov. 20, 2021, in Boise, Idaho. Boise State won 37-0. (AP Photo / Steve Conner)

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

Oklahoma Sooners:

Oklahoma helmets are seen before a college football game between the University of Oklahoma Sooners (OU) and the West Virginia Mountaineers at Gaylord Family-Oklahoma Memorial Stadium in Norman, Okla., Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 19:

Auburn defensive lineman Caleb Johnson (45) lays out Mississippi State running back Kylin Hill (8) at Jordan-Hare Stadium in Auburn, Ala., On Saturday, Sept. 28, 2019. Auburn defeated Mississippi State 56-23. Credit: USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 10:

Iowa State Cyclones:

Jan. 2, 2021; Glendale, AZ, USA; Iowa State Cyclones head coach Matt Campbell receives an ice water shower from his players after defeating the Oregon Ducks 34-17 at the 50th PlayStation Fiesta Bowl at State Farm Stadium. Rob Schumacher-Arizona Republic via USA TODAY Network:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 18:

Florida Gators:

Nov 20, 2021; Columbia, Missouri, USA; A general view of a Florida Gators’ helmet against the Missouri Tigers during the game at Faurot Field at Memorial Stadium. Credit: Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 12:

NC State Wolfpack:

Nov 13, 2021; Winston-Salem, North Carolina, USA; A North Carolina State Wolfpack helmet is seen on the sideline during the second half against the Wake Forest Demon Deacons at Truist Field. Credit: William Howard-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

UAB Blazers:

Dec 18, 2021; Shreveport, LA, USA; UAB Blazers tight end Gerrit Prince (20) reacts after defeating the BYU Cougars in the 2021 Independence Bowl at Independence Stadium. Credit: Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 21:

Kentucky Wildcats:

Oct. 27, 2018; Columbia, MO, USA; A general view of a Kentucky Wildcats helmet during the game against the Missouri Tigers at Memorial Stadium / Faurot Field. Kentucky won 15-14. Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

Penn State Nittany Lions:

Penn State Nittany Lions head coach James Franklin yells during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Syndication The Columbus Dispatch:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 17:

San Diego State Aztecs:

Dec. 12, 2020; Provo, UT, USA; San Diego State head coach Brady Hoke talks to other coaches before an NCAA college football game against BYU Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020, in Provo, Utah. George Frey / Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

Oklahoma State Cowboys:

Oct. 30, 2021; Stillwater; Oklahoma State Cowboys head coach Mike Gundy looks up at the scoreboard during the fourth quarter against the Kansas Jayhawks at Boone Pickens Stadium. Oklahoma State won 55-3. Brett Rojo-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

Oregon Ducks:

Dec 29, 2021; San Antonio, Texas, USA; The Oregon Ducks mascot on the field during the second half of the 2021 Alamo Bowl against the Oklahoma Sooners at the Alamodome. Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 6:

Baylor Bears:

Jan 1, 2022; New Orleans, LA, USA; Baylor Bears head coach Dave Aranda is doused with sports drink by his players in the final seconds of the Bears victory over the Mississippi Rebels in the 2022 Sugar Bowl at the Caesars Superdome. Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: Not Ranked:

Utah Utes:

December 3, 2021; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Oregon Ducks quarterback Anthony Brown (13) is brought down by Utah Utes defensive tackle Junior Tafuna (58) during the first half of the 2021 Pac-12 Championship Game at Allegiant Stadium. Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 16:

Ohio State Buckeyes:

WATCH:  Ohio State football drops sensational Rose Bowl trailer:

WATCH: Ohio State football drops sensational Rose Bowl trailer:

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Zach Harrison (9) celebrates a sack by linebacker Palaie Gaoteote IV (21) during the third quarter of the NCAA football game against the Penn State Nittany Lions at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on Sunday, Oct. 31, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 5:

Michigan Wolverines:

Ohio State Vs.  Michigan did massive numbers for Fox |:  Buckeyes Wire:

Ohio State Vs. Michigan did massive numbers for Fox |: Buckeyes Wire:

Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97), linebacker Michael Barrett (23) and defensive back Vincent Gray (4) celebrate behind Ohio State Buckeyes wide receiver Jaxon Smith-Njigba (11) during the fourth quarter of the NCAA football game at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor on Saturday, Nov. 27, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 24:

LSU Tigers:

LSU cornerback enters transfer portal, lists Ohio State in top 4:

LSU cornerback enters transfer portal, lists Ohio State in top 4:

Oct 6, 2018; Gainesville, FL, USA; A detailed view of LSU Tigers football helmets against the Florida Gators during the second half at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 8:

Cincinnati Bearcats:

Dec 31, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Cincinnati Bearcats head coach Luke Fickell on the sidelines during the game against the Alabama Crimson Tide during the 2021 Cotton Bowl college football CFP national semifinal game at AT&T Stadium. Credit: Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 7:

Iowa Hawkeyes:

Kirk Ferentz Iowa Hawkeyes:

Kirk Ferentz Iowa Hawkeyes:

(Bryon Houlgrave / Des Moines Register – USA TODAY Network)

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 13:

Notre Dame Fighting Irish:

Marcus Freeman was reportedly offered D-coordinator gig at Ohio State:

Marcus Freeman was reportedly offered D-coordinator gig at Ohio State:

Nov 27, 2021; Stanford, California, USA; Notre Dame Fighting Irish defensive coordinator Marcus Freeman stands on the sideline during the second quarter against the Stanford Cardinal at Stanford Stadium. Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 11:

Wisconsin Badgers:

Jan. 1, 2020; Pasadena, California, USA; Wisconsin Badgers head coach Paul Chryst looks on in the first half against the Oregon Ducks in the 106th Rose Bowl game at Rose Bowl Stadium. Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 9:

Alabama Crimson Tide:

Jan 9, 2016; Tempe, AZ, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide head coach Nick Saban during a football team practice in an indoor facility at Arizona State University. Credit: Erich Schlegel-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 3:

Texas A&M Aggies:

Nov 27, 2021; Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA; Texas A&M Aggies head coach Jimbo Fisher looks on during the first half against the LSU Tigers at Tiger Stadium. Credit: Stephen Lew-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 4:

Georgia Bulldogs:

Ohio State and Georgia agree to home-and-home football games:

Ohio State and Georgia agree to home-and-home football games:

Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 2:

Clemson Tigers:

Ohio State football:  The only 8 teams to beat OSU under Meyer and Day:

Ohio State football: The only 8 teams to beat OSU under Meyer and Day:

Nov 7, 2020; South Bend, Indiana, USA; Clemson Tigers head coach Dabo Swinney signals to his players in the second quarter against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium. Credit: Matt Cashore-USA TODAY Sports:

ESPN’s Previous Ranking:

2021 Future Defense Ranking: No. 1:

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