In case you haven’t heard, things are happening in Columbus.

Like, a lot of things.

Huge return announcements? Denzel Burke, Jack Sawyer, JT Tuimoloau, TreVeyon Henderson and Tyleik Williams were just a few of the guys who took care of that.

Transfer portal splashes? Caleb Downs, Quinshon Judkins, Julian Sayin, Seth McGlaughlin and Will Howard checked that box.

Coaching changes? Bill O’Brien is on board as Ryan Day’s new offensive coordinator/play-caller. Administration changes? Ross Bjork, AKA the guy who signed off on a $77 million buyout for Jimbo Fisher at Texas A&M, agreed to take over after longtime AD Gene Smith called it a career.

Things are happening. Money is flying. Ohio State is all in.

On the heels of 3 consecutive losses to Michigan, yeah, the Buckeyes are sensing that the time is now to pounce. Whether Jim Harbaugh will stand in the way of that remains to be seen. Whether this is just about Michigan remains to be seen.

We know that Ohio State went from being a program loaded with questions post-Cotton Bowl to now feeling like as “title or bust” a program as there is in the sport. It could have an impact on the sport.

For today, let’s focus on how that could impact the SEC:

4. Ohio State capitalized on an SEC coaching change … just as everyone will do if the Buckeyes pull the plug

That roster is loaded with blue-chip talent, which in today’s context means it’ll create a feeding frenzy if it experiences a coaching change. That’s what the 30-day window means at a place that consistently recruits top-5 classes. Go ask Alabama. Or shoot, ask Ohio State, who got 3 Alabama transfers (2 came post-Nick Saban retirement).

If Ohio State has a coaching change, you can bet that those former blue-chip quarterback recruits like Lincoln Kienholz, Devin Brown, Air Noland and the aforementioned Sayin will have a significant market, even if they don’t play a snap in 2024.

It’s not an indictment of the program if programs like LSU, Georgia, Tennessee, Texas and, ironically enough, Alabama, woo established players away from Columbus. It’s somewhat inevitable, especially with the relationships some of these guys establish and maintain through the high school recruiting process.

And until the NCAA actually launches a tampering investigation, there’s nothing that’s stopping anyone from doing so.

4A. If this season sets the tone for the rest of the 2020s for Ohio State, look at the future schedule

From 2025-31, Ohio State has home-and-homes against the likes of Texas, Alabama and Georgia. You think those games will have a say in Playoff seeding? My guess is an astounding “yes.”

3. Ohio State’s SEC hurdle in the postseason is real, but so is that talent

The Buckeyes are 2-13 against the SEC in bowl games having lost to the likes of Alabama, Georgia and most recently Mizzou. We can pretend that’s just a coincidence, or we can acknowledge that the Buckeyes have a hurdle to overcome that doesn’t reside in the state of Michigan.

We can also acknowledge that when you add established All-Americans from the SEC like Quinshon Judkins and Caleb Downs, well, that’s a bit different than anything in recent memory.

Let’s not dismiss that as depressing as Ohio State’s bowl game performance against Mizzou was, the Tigers were held to their worst offensive showing of the year. That was against an Ohio State defense that ranked No. 2 in America in scoring and returns 9 starters. Significant? Yeah.

Let’s also not dismiss that Ohio State was 1 defensive stand from beating Georgia and being in a favorable spot to beat TCU in the 2022 national championship. Mind you, that was as the Dawgs were in the midst of an SEC record 29 consecutive victories in what was essentially a road game for Ohio State at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

All that is worth mentioning because if Ohio State meets an SEC team in the Playoff, 2-13 will be brought up. It should. But Ohio State isn’t quite the SEC doormat that the troubling mark would suggest, especially if 2 of the SEC’s top returning players are leading the way in a 2024 Playoff matchup.

2. If this model leads to a title, that SEC-NIL spending will go through the roof

Ryan Day told in 2022 that $13 million was the amount of money it would take for the Buckeyes to keep their roster intact. While there’s been debate over how real that number is/was, it’s clear that Ohio State isn’t exactly tightening the belt.

The 2022 Texas A&M recruiting class was “bought,” according to Saban. The difference with that group was that it was compiled of high school talent, not transfer portal talent. It wasn’t a “win now” team, despite what that ridiculous preseason No. 6 ranking suggested. That was for a team that was just trying to reach its first conference championship game in the 21st century. That’s not Ohio State, AKA the team with 17 top-10 finishes in the past 19 years.

What’s interesting is if Ohio State’s spending rubs off on programs like Alabama, Georgia and LSU, which haven’t gone quite as all in with portal splashes. All 3 titles that have been won in the NIL era (2021-23) have been with a foundation of high school recruiting. Never before have we seen a program spend enough to have a top-10 high school class and a top-10 portal class then compete for a national championship.

A lot of people believe that market correction is coming, but what if this model works? If Ohio State wins the first title of this era — just as it did in the 4-team Playoff — could that push big-time programs to spend even more on portal additions? It’s possible, though it’s worth remembering that the Buckeyes only have 6 portal additions, 5 of which were from Power 5 programs. This isn’t a Deion Sanders-Colorado situation.

Still, though. Ohio State could be inflating the NIL market if 2024 nets a title.

1. If Ryan Day is fired, this opening will put a wild SEC stat to the test

I don’t like speaking in absolutes. I truly don’t. Too often, it’s not that black-and-white.

That’s worth prefacing because if Day is fired — something that is somehow both crazy and conceivable for a coach who is 53-8 in 5 years — that opening might be the most lucrative we’ve ever seen.

Ohio State has been as consistently elite as any in America in the 21st century. It has a national recruiting brand. It has boosters who are clearly willing to spend. The Buckeyes have a path to the Playoff that doesn’t go through the SEC, yet it still yields even better TV money than what the SEC gets.

How good of an opening is Ohio State? The 1 time it came truly open in the past 2 decades, Ohio State was still waiting on post-TattooGate sanctions from the NCAA. Still, the Buckeyes got Urban Meyer, who had 2 titles in the previous 6 seasons at Florida. Three different coaches in the 21st century got the Buckeyes to a title berth, and all of them have historically dominated the Big Ten.

What does that mean? That search would be far and wide, including the SEC. Like, the conference that hasn’t had a coach willingly leave for a job outside of the conference since James Franklin left Vanderbilt for Penn State at the end of 2013. That would be put to the test. Brian Kelly, Lane Kiffin, Mark Stoops and even Eli Drinkwitz would all likely be linked to that job.

Coaches in the SEC would either have to turn that down or leverage it to get a raise/extension. That would be inevitable.

Maybe an SEC successor to Day is already in the works for Bjork. Or perhaps Day is about to quiet those doubts with a “how do you like me now” season that ends with confetti.

Either way, all eyes are on Columbus … even those south of the Mason-Dixon line.