The five best college football teams in Ohio are not perfect, but at 30-2 they're close.

The five best college football teams in Ohio are not perfect, but at 30-2 they're close.

Ohio State and Ohio are 7-0 and Cincinnati is 5-0. Add Toledo (6-1) and Kent State (5-1), and we see a continuation of last basketball season, when the Buckeyes, Bobcats and Bearcats joined Xavier in the Sweet 16 to make Ohio the center of the college basketball universe.Now, we are stealing attention from a Southeastern Conference that believes the football world revolves around it.

Just in time, too, because our major professional sports teams have behaved with their typical lack of aplomb. The Indians lost 94 games; the Browns are 1-5; the Bengals are a shaky 3-3, the Reds choked in the postseason; the Crew needs help to make the playoffs; the Blue Jackets continue to devolve; and the Cavaliers are a perpetual work in progress.

But on the college side, a handful of teams are doing the Buckeye State proud. Ohio State, Ohio and Cincinnati are three of only 14 undefeated teams remaining in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

"It's crazy," said Kent State coach Darrell Hazell, a former Ohio State assistant who joined the Golden Flashes at the end of 2010. "It shows there are some tremendous high-school coaches in Ohio who give you good players, and obviously they are talented players, and then you have good college coaches. It's a combination of all three of those things."

Hazell knows enough to keep his recruiting pipeline greased. Sweet-talk high-school coaches, and they're more likely to send their kids your way. That's being smart, not manipulative.

Toledo coach Matt Campbell preached a similar sermon: "This state is blessed with outstanding high-school football coaches and hundreds of schools with great football tradition."

Said Cincinnati coach Butch Jones: "We have some very talented football teams collegiately in this area, but it stems from the high schools."

And this from Ohio coach Frank Solich: "I think a lot of the success has to do with the type of players that compete at the high-school level right here in this state."

Sound familiar?

Recruiting is the name of the game. Talent is the fastest way to trump a losing tradition. Get the best, then maximize their talent.

The Flashes were 24-47 (.338) the six seasons before Hazell arrived in 2011. Last year, they finished 5-7 - the same record as 2009 and 2010 - but appear headed for their first winning season since 2001.

"There's definitely a confidence in the locker room that wasn't there last year," Hazell said.

Ohio State, ranked No. 7 in the Associated Press poll, remains undefeated because quarterback Braxton Miller is one year better; Urban Meyer's aggressive offense cushions against a shaky defense; Meyer's game management is more pinpoint than last season, when the Buckeyes finished 6-7 under first-time coach Luke Fickell; and the underwhelming Big Ten offers slim threat.The conference could use a few more teams like Cincinnati and Ohio. The No. 21 Bearcats and No. 25 Bobcats have it going because they opted out of the classical reliance on smashmouth offense and installed spread options.

Two years ago, Solich rightly saw a future in which the best way to win was to run around defenses and throw over them. Cincinnati saw the same when Brian Kelly arrived at the end of 2006. By the time Kelly left for Notre Dame in late 2009, the Bearcats became one of the nation's more dynamic offenses.Jones continued the strong recruiting - there it is again - and progressive offense that has the Bearcats rolling. They lead the Big East in points (37.0) and total yards (465.4) per game and travel to Toledo on Saturday. The Rockets have scored 50 and 52 points the past two games and have not lost since their opener at Arizona.

Something has to give in the Glass Bowl, but that's all right. College football in Ohio is at a good place.

Rob Oller is a sports reporter for The Dispatch.