Newsflash Buckeyes fans: You weren’t going to win the Big Ten anyway. Braxton Miller’s injury does not change that fact.
By now you have probably heard that Ohio State Quarterback Braxton Miller re-injured his throwing shoulder and was declared lost for the season after an MRI Tuesday, according to reports. See the full story here.
Ohio State appeared to be in prime position, according to most analysts, to run through the Big Ten and easily make the college football playoff. They were set with Braxton Miller fully healthy and Urban Meyer in his third year.
But it was never going to happen. Michigan State is still better, with or without Miller. And Michigan State will beat the Buckeyes, with or without Miller. The Buckeyes still have a very questionable pass defense that is about to go through a Big Ten schedule of teams with great quarterback play, including the Spartans. Michigan, Penn State, and a Maryland team that has to 5-star receivers are also on that schedule.
You think Miller, or anybody on the offense, could have overcome such a bad pass defense?
What about the fact that the offensive line, which carried Miller to success anyway last year, lost everybody? Miller’s production would have declined anyway this year because it’s that line that allowed him to be so mobile in the pocket and keep plays alive. When he ran into a tough defense, Michigan State, look at how pathetic he was in the passing game. You think he’ll be better this year when he doesn’t have the chance to run around like he would have last year?
In fact, the Buckeyes backups will definitely limit the fall-off. Neither sophomore Cardale Jones nor freshman J.T. Barrett will be as good as Miller, but both are better suited as pocket passers, and Barrett has already been impressing coaches in practice. A 4-star on Rivals, Barrett is not as fast as Miller, but he is still pretty quick, he’s bigger than Miller, and he has apparently shown himself to be able to complete passes at a high rate in practice.
Meyer’s spread offense has always proven itself to be able to be tailored to whomever the quarterback is, with the exception of the John Brantley disaster in 2010, so there’s no reason to think Barrett can’t offset such a loss. Miller was nothing but a product of the system anyway who will never amount to much in the NFL. The season could be nearly the same with Barrett as it was going to be with Miller.
The schedule still sets up for Ohio State to be a 10-win team. Braxton Miller might have made the Buckeyes a 12-win team, but they never would have won anything more this year. The Spartans are still better, and the pass defense could still get exposed in plenty of other games. Losing a quarterback who is a product of a system won’t change that, especially when the system is still in place and has the proper personnel to run it.