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Why is this news? Buckeyes stack up well against SEC's best, Cardale Jones under pressure

On paper, the Buckeyes can go toe-to-toe with any roster in college football.

Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports

"Only about six of the [Auburn] Tigers' 22 starters would beat out their Buckeye counterparts."

Bruce Feldman, FOX Sports

How quickly has Ohio State become not only a title contender, but the class of college football? For starters, they now appear to be a team that could dominate the SEC, Big Ten be damned. FOX's Bruce Feldman examined how the Buckeyes stack up, roster-wise, against the presumptive favorite in the SEC this coming season, the Auburn Tigers. The results don't look good for Gus Malzahn's squad. Were the two teams to merge and fight for roster spots, Feldman estimates that only a half-dozen Tigers would supplant the Buckeyes who start on offense and defense. That's high praise.

One of the Tigers who could crack the Buckeyes' starting 11 is senior wideout D'haquille "Duke" Williams, a 6'2, 224-pound stud who many expect to dominate this season now that his counterpart, Sammie Coates, has departed for the NFL. Ohio State's Michael Thomas, of similar build, put up better numbers last season, so Williams would certainly change the shape of the Buckeye offense -- I almost think him starting would be a stretch, given what Thomas can do and Urban's penchant for slightly smaller, faster slot-type guys at WR.

Feldman would also pick Auburn's 330-pound DT Montravius Adams to start on Ohio State's interior, which I have no quarrel with. DE Carl Lawson would also be a nice second banana to destroyer of worlds Joey Bosa on the outside. It's an interesting thought exercise, and an instructive one: repeating as national champs in the current college football landscape is nigh impossible, but the Buckeyes have the personnel to run roughshod over just about anyone on any given Saturday.

"Undoubtedly, Jones is under the most pressure to get that [starting] nod."

Ben Kercheval, Bleacher Report

The most intriguing and unprecedented storyline in college football shows no sign of slowing down. Instead of debating the merits of each quarterback and speculating about who will emerge on top, as has been done ad nauseam, Bleacher Report's Ben Kercheval instead explored which quarterback, regardless of attributes, is under the most pressure to win the starting spot. To put it lightly, Cardale Jones walks away with this one.

J.T. Barrett certainly has pressure on him, but he also has eligibility remaining after the 2015 season, so if he doesn't win the job, he'll have another shot. Torrance Gibson and Joe Burrow wait in the wings with the hope of supplanting him, but he should be able to hold onto the job in 2016 if he doesn't win it this year (which he still very well might). Braxton Miller, whose decision to stay at Ohio State was the subject of rampant speculation for months, is not really considered to be an NFL prospect at quarterback, so if he doesn't take the reins, he could still switch positions either at the college or pro level and be okay.

But Cardale Jones is on another plane of pressure. He walked away from the siren's call of the NFL soon after his rapid ascendance to college football's throne, staging a press conference to announce his return in one of the greatest troll jobs of all time. It pleased everyone, short of the pearl-clutching get-off-my-lawn types, but with the decision came the pressure. Pressure to keep the starting job in the face of two other QBs capable and deserving of it. Pressure to prove that his three games at the helm were the rule rather than the exception. Pressure to prove that delaying a trip to the NFL was the right move and wouldn't come back to haunt him. Cardale Jones, as in so many other aspects of his life, has brought the notion of "pressure" to unheard-of levels.

"I still think the big guy is going to be the starter. He runs like a fullback or linebacker, and he's a good passer."

South Carolina head coach Steve Spurrier, via FOX Sports

Fortunately for Cardale, he's got some weighty opinions in his corner. South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier, for one, believes that Jones should start for the Buckeyes. Spurrier and Mississippi State head coach Dan Mullen (who coached under Meyer at Florida), shared their opinions on the Ohio State QB situation at SEC Media Days this past week. Mullen was Meyer's assistant when the Gators had Tim Tebow, Cam Newton, and John Brantley on the roster.

Both Spurrier and Mullen are of the opinion that Ohio State's quarterback pool should dwindle from three to two. Spurrier supports the idea that Braxton Miller should switch positions, given the shoulder problems that have plagued him the last few years, and having seen what J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones are capable of on college football's biggest stage.

"It's just great to see their excitement, and with their disabilities, how competitive they are. They like to catch touchdown passes and you can see they have the pride to succeed."

Jim Karsatos, former Ohio State QBvia The Dispatch's Tim May

Current and former Ohio State football players showed their love for the community on Thursday, hosting the Special Skills Football Invitational at the Horseshoe. The third annual event (though this was the first year it was held at Ohio Stadium) brought in 240 "differently-abled" campers of all ages. They got to run drills on the field, catch touchdown passes, and according to May, were "encouraged" to engage in enthusiastic TD celebrations.

Jim Karsatos, who threw touchdown passes to Cris Carter during his OSU career, led QB passing drills with the campers on Thursday. The Special Skills Invitational also featured a number of current Buckeye players, including Tyvis Powell, Sean Nuernberger, Bryce Haynes, and Vonn Bell. Coach Urban Meyer expects his players to engage with the community by participating in outreach events like this throughout the year, but according to May, this was nothing new for Bell, who has been volunteering with programs like the Special Olympics since he was in high school.

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