"A top Heisman contender, Miller looks set to rewrite the OSU record books this fall."
- ESPN.com Staff
ESPN has been counting down the top 100 players in college football heading into the 2014 season. It should come as no surprise that Ohio State QB Braxton Miller cracked the top ten--he sits tied for 5th with Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon. Miller, who has six game-winning TD drives in the 4th quarter or overtime in three seasons, will be playing to make the final mark on his legacy in Columbus this fall.
There are two quarterbacks ranked ahead of Miller on the list: Oregon's Marcus Mariota at No. 2, and Florida State's Jameis Winston in the top spot. Mariota has been electric in two seasons at Oregon, but has yet to bring the Ducks a Pac-12 championship; Winston's on-field resumé is impeccable thus far. A repeat championship for the Seminoles is looking like a decent bet at the moment--ESPN recently gave FSU a 40% chance of going undefeated again this season.
Rounding out the top ten are Oregon CB Ifo Ekpre-Olomu (T-9), Clemson DE Vic Beasley (T-9), Alabama WR Amari Cooper (8), Baylor QB Bryce Petty (7), Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun (4), and Georgia RB Todd Gurley (3). Other Buckeyes in the top 100 are DE Joey Bosa (34), DT Michael Bennett (T-43), and DE Noah Spence (51). Ohio State lacks another playmaker in the top 100, but the defensive front four look to be in pretty good shape.
"If Urban Meyer finds a Percy Harvin clone out of his stable of playmakers, it's over."
- Jeremy Fowler, CBSSports.com
At least one expert isn't buying the Buckeyes as B1G favorites in 2014. CBS Sports' Jeremy Fowler thinks it's absurd that the Michigan State Spartans aren't currently perceived to be in the pole position in the conference. Fowler says the Spartans could be better, or deeper, than they were last season. Sparty, by the way, recently lost Max Bullough, Denicos Allen, Darqueze Dennard, and Bennie Fowler--losses that Fowler's piece ignores.
Fowler cites a chip on Connor Cook's shoulder as one of the key factors in Michigan State making a repeat run as B1G champs. "We never get the respect we deserve...Ohio State's always a favorite. Michigan's always a favorite," according to Cook. The quarterback's name was even misspelled on the Rose Bowl podium's banner.
Still, Fowler doesn't discount the Buckeyes completely. He mentions Braxton Miller's potential for another huge season, as well as Urban Meyer's propensity for finding do-it-all speed guys that stretch defenses as big reasons why Ohio State might dethrone the Spartans this season.
"I still don't get that part of it. He's the second-most efficient passer ever to play college football."
- Urban Meyer, via FoxSportsOhio
During B1G Media Days, Urban Meyer took a few moments to reflect on his quarterback--no, not Braxton Miller. Timothy Richard Tebow. Meyer, Tebow's coach at Florida, purports not to understand how Tebow is still without an NFL team.
At Florida under Meyer, Tebow completed 66.4% of his passes, and finished with a 170.8 Passing Efficiency Rating (per Sports-Reference). The first-round draft pick has famously struggled to match those meteoric numbers as a pro, only completing 47.9% of his passes as a member of the Denver Broncos and New York Jets.
Meyer recognizes that Tebow is not a traditional NFL quarterback, but bases his opinion on the fact that there are "a lot of non-traditional offenses now in the NFL." The Buckeye coach is presumably thinking about teams like the Seahawks and 49ers, both of whom employ quarterbacks with dangerous legs; Chip Kelly's Eagles come to mind as well--Nick Foles threw for 27 touchdowns and just 2 interceptions in that hyper-efficient scheme last year.
The Ohio State Men's Hockey Team announced its B1G schedule for 2014-2015 this week. The Buckeyes will open their conference slate against Michigan State in Columbus on November 20. Their next B1G matchup is against Michigan, at UM on December 5. Ohio State will face the Wolverines four times during the year, with two games each in Columbus and Ann Arbor.
The Buckeyes will certainly be road-weary by the time they come into the season's home stretch. In a ten game stretch after the Shillelagh Tournament in November (hosted by Notre Dame), OSU plays nine games away from Columbus. During that stint, they will travel to Ann Arbor, Erie (to face Mercyhurst), State College, East Lansing, and Minneapolis. Fortunately, the Buckeyes will play seven of their final ten regular season games at home.
This season's schedule will be an unforgiving one for the Buckeyes, who finished fourth out of six teams in the conference last season. Ohio State finished the season 6-9-5, with the third-most goals in the B1G but the second-most goals allowed. The Buckeyes will need to come out stronger against powerhouses Minnesota and Wisconsin than they did last season if they hope to move up the table.
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