"What is Braxton Miller worth? How about a complete shift in the way Big Ten writers view the conference?"
-Doug Lesmerises, Plain Dealer
It’s not a secret that the loss of quarterback Braxton Miller has shifted expectations for the 2014 edition of the Ohio State football team, but a recent poll conducted by the Cleveland Plain Dealer illustrates just how seismic the shift was.
In July, the Plain Dealer conducted its annual media poll in advance of Big Ten Media Days. The paper polled 29 writers, asking for predictions for the Big Ten championship and player of the year races. Of those 29 voters, 19 picked Ohio State to win the conference. Michigan State received 9 votes. After the injury, the Plain Dealer polled the same voters (25 of the original 29 responded), and only one still predicts the Buckeyes to win the conference. Michigan State, the new favorite, made the jump from 9 to 22 votes. Expressed in percentages, the Buckeyes went from being 66 percent of the voters' pick to four percent.
Media Polls aren’t the end-all, be-all, as we all know, but this does go to show you how national perception is shifting. The 2014 Buckeye team is loaded with talent, but it’s also loaded with questions. With no Braxton Miller safety net to rely on, the team is going to have to earn its respect on the field.
"From 1-85, there isn’t a more talented team"
-Tom Dienhart, BTN
That the media doesn’t expect the Buckeyes to win the conference doesn’t necessarily mean that they expect the team to fall off of a cliff. The Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart released his preseason power rankings today and the Buckeyes check in at number two, just behind the Michigan State Spartans. Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin round out the top 5 (Michigan is ranked 6).
Deinhart makes what I believe is a very fair argument as to why he picked Ohio State second: Michigan State might’ve been just as good as Ohio State with Miller, so it stands to reason that with swapping him out for a redshirt freshman, Michigan State deserves to be ranked higher.
Again, until J.T. Barrett proves himself in live-game action, it’s not reasonable to expect the Buckeyes to be topping any of these lists.
"Looking for a subplot for the big Green Bay-Seattle opener? Check out center, where the Packers might be playing a rookie, Corey Linsley.."
-Peter King, MMQB
It looks like one former Buckeye might be have just backed into an starting spot with the Green Bay Packers. Corey Linsley, who the Packers drafted in the fifth round of this years draft, looks poised to replace injured center J.C. Tretter in the Packers’ starting lineup. Here’s what Peter King had to say:
Looking for a subplot for the big Green Bay-Seattle opener? Check out center, where the Packers might be playing a rookie, Corey Linsley, the fifth-round pick from Ohio State, in the wake of prospective starter J.C. Tretter going down for a few weeks with a knee injury Friday night. Linsley, as of Sunday, had not snapped a ball with the first-team offense since being drafted; all the emphasis had been on getting Tretter, a Cornell kid, ready for his big debut after the Pack let Evan Dietrich-Smith walk in free agency this off-season. I don’t expect it’ll be the decisive factor by any means, but the last thing Mike McCarty wanted in a game of that magnitude is any uncertainty between Aaron Rodgers and his snapper.
With Andrew Norwell making waves in Indianapolis, two fifths of Ohio State’s 2013 offensive line could be starting for NFL teams in 2014.
Friends, Romans, Buckeye fans, Brutus needs your help. Ohio State’s mascot is facing off against Oregon State’s Benny Beaver in the first round of the Capital One Mascot Challenge. Fan participation is pretty much the only way to win this thing, so do your duty. Go here and vote.