Braxton Miller, the dynamic Ohio State QB who is a Heisman Trophy contender again this season, may be out for the year due to a shoulder injury, significantly hampering the Buckeyes’ shot at a National title.
Oddsmakers have already noticed – according to OddsShark, Ohio State was 10-1 to win the Title earlier this month, but overnight they dropped to 18-1. Depending on where you look, the Buckeyes were among the 6-7 best teams in the country heading into the 2014 season, despite losing two defensive stars to the NFL and a workhorse of a running back.
Miller, who could have left early for the NFL, but wanted to stay another year to chase a title, is a better running QB than a passing QB. OSU’s strength this season will be its defense, including two linemen (Joey Bosa and Noah Spence) who could be 1st round picks when they leave.
Most importantly, Ohio State had a shot at the title because of an incredibly weak 2014 schedule. Other than hosting Virginia Tech on September 6th, the Buckeyes play … nobody decent until traveling to Penn State in October (good QB, good coach) and then Michigan State (good QB, good coach) in November. The only team currently ranked on OSU’s schedule is Michigan State.
If you’re wondering who OSU’s backup QB is: J.T. Barrett, a redshirt freshman who tore an ACL as a senior in high school and hasn’t played a meaningful football game since late September 2012. (In five games as a senior, he ran 90 times and passed 73). He’s 6-foot-1 and about 210 pounds, and depending on what you read, has similar traits to Miller. Barrett recently passed redshirt sophomore Cardale Jones for the No. 2 spot.
Ohio State, which is ranked 5th, will be an interesting team without Miller for this reason: A win at home against the Hokies, and beating Penn State on the road (OSU will be favored) will basically mean if Ohio State can beat Michigan State, it’ll be a serious contender in the National Championship playoff hunt.