There’s a lot of excitement surrounding Ohio State entering the 2022 season.

Coming off of an 11-2 season and Rose Bowl victory, the Buckeyes are the No. 2 in many preseason rankings, including the Coaches Poll, AP Top 25 and ESPN’s Power Rankings.

ESPN’s Power Rankings include each team’s X factor, defined as “player the season depends on.” Ohio State’s X factor is the obvious pick:

Quarterback C.J. Stroud. Ohio State is built to win with its big-play passing attack, which Stroud executed to perfection down the stretch last season. He’s a popular pick to become Ohio State’s first Heisman Trophy winner — and the Big Ten’s first — since Troy Smith in 2006. Stroud will throw to arguably the nation’s best group of receivers and embraces the championship-or-bust expectation in his junior season, which should be his final one with the Buckeyes.

Stroud threw for 4,435 yards and 44 touchdowns with just 6 interceptions last season, becoming the first player in Big Ten history to be named its offensive player, quarterback and freshman of the year. Stroud was a Heisman Trophy finalist in 2021, and he might win the award in 2022 with a super sophomore season.

Stroud and the Buckeyes open the 2022 season at home against No. 5 Notre Dame on Sept. 3 (7:30 p.m. ET, ABC).

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