Ohio State's QB battle rages on, but the media is starting to weigh in with their picks for the Buckeye's starting quarterback. Here's a round-up of some of what's been said so far -- we'll see who's right on Labor Day and at the end of the season.
Plenty of media folks think JT Barrett should start this year, and its easy to see why: following a loss at Virginia Tech last year, Barrett was on a Heisman campaign of epic proportions, breaking Ohio State and Big Ten records.
ESPN's college football guru, Adam Rittenberg, thinks it will be Barrett trotting out first in Blacksburg on Labor Day:
Opposing Big Ten DC on Ohio St: Meyer's best teams always built around running QB. Barrett better runner than Jones. All signs point to JT.— Adam Rittenberg (@ESPNRittenberg) August 12, 2015
The majority of writers for this esteemed site want Barrett starting under center this year:
Cardale has the better Twitter account. He's got the bigger arm, the flashier smile, and the biggest personality. But our staff trusts the consistency, the reliability and that sweet, sweet read option game of J.T. Barrett to ultimately play more snaps for the Buckeyes this season, whether he wins the opening day job or not. For what it's worth though, many of our writers figured that both would play in some capacity this season. There should be a lot of blowouts, after all.
Wayyyy back in June, Stewart Mandel over at Fox Sports agreed:
Barrett, simply put, played like an elite quarterback last season, and he should be 100 percent recovered from a broken ankle this preseason. Never mind his own team -- I consider him to be the second-best returning quarterback in the country.
Doug Lesmerises from Cleveland.com is on Barrett's side, but he couched his opinion, only going so far as to call Barrett the "safest" option for the Buckeyes:
He [Barrett] is smaller than Cardale Jones and slower than Braxton Miller, yet in how he acts and the way he plays, J.T. Barrett is absolutely everything Urban Meyer is looking for in a quarterback.
On the other side of the issue, Cardale Jones has plenty of supporters.
Ben Axelrod from Bleacher Report has thrown his hat in for Cardale, not because of skills, but because Cardale needs the chance to prove he's NFL ready:
if Meyer's sense of obligation does come into play, Jones would seem to be the beneficiary, given that Miller—who as a fifth-year senior is facing even more urgency to play than either quarterback—has figured out how he'll be getting on the field in 2015.
Hmm, didn't someone say that before?
Our parent-site thinks Cardale Jones should start, at least for Virginia Tech:
The Buckeye offense reached another level when Jones took over at QB. With him, OSU averaged more yards per play against three S&P+ top-15 defenses (7.74) than in games against weak opponents like Kent State, Indiana, and Illinois.
While Barrett offers a better combination of efficiency and speed, Jones' superior arm proved a more explosive complement to an Ezekiel Elliot attack. It didn't even need to involve the QB's legs to run over opponents.
The folks over at Athlon Sports are split, but the majority favor Cardale:
This is a good problem for Urban Meyer. Two quarterbacks with the potential to be the best in college football or win the Heisman Trophy are vying for the starting spot this fall. I’ve gone back and forth on this question, but I would stick with Cardale Jones as the starter – at least for the opener. I think both quarterbacks make a start this year, but my guess is Jones takes the first snap against Virginia Tech.
Pro football writers are also on board the Cardale train. From Chase Goodbread at NFL.com:
Jones' size and arm strength will allow him to stand in the pocket and deliver throws over the middle of the field with an authority that's unmatched on the Buckeyes' roster. Miller's move to H-back, the position the Buffalo Bills' Percy Harvin played for Meyer at Florida, will give OSU more than enough of a perimeter rushing threat. Harvin, in fact, recorded more rushes than catches in each of his three seasons at UF, so don't expect Miller to just catch the ball.
Whoever Urban Meyer gives the ball to first when the Buckeyes face off with Virginia Tech, it should be reassuring to know that both Barrett and Jones have gotten a full opportunity to win the starting spot and have been well-evaluated during fall camp. In theory, at least, that should lead to the right choice, and the Buckeyes will still have a tremendous back-up, no matter how the decision comes down.
Me? I'm #TeamCardale.