“You may have been sleeping on Ohio State since the Buckeyes lost to Oklahoma, and if you have, you've missed some epic Barrett performances.”
After weeks of calling for Dwayne Haskins to take over under center, Buckeye fans are slowly getting accustomed to the fact that fifth-year senior signal-caller J.T. Barrett might have finally completed his complete revolution back to the confident, consistent passer that he was before breaking his ankle against Michigan in 2014.
As the Dublin-native Quinn mentions in his breakdown, in the five games since the 31-16 loss to Oklahoma, Barrett has thrown for 1,351 yards and 18 touchdowns, bringing his season total to 21 passing scores to just one interception.
Now, we understand that the last five games have not exactly been against the stiffest of competition, and that Barrett struggled mightily against the Sooners, however, it is clear that his progress has been more than just playing against porous defenses.
Against Nebraska, Barrett was insanely consistent. He went 27-of-33 for 325 yards and five passing touchdowns, and did so by sitting in the pocket and waiting for routes to develop, throwing into tight windows, and trusting his receivers to make plays downfield.
While the offensive line likely won’t be able to give him the same kind of time against the quality teams in the second half of the season, nor will WRs be able to make the same athletically dominant plays, there is no doubt that new offensive gurus Kevin Wilson and Ryan Day have not only fine-tuned the QB’s mechanics, but figured out how to rewire his in-play process as well.
If Barrett is able to maintain anything approaching the level of comfort in, and command of, the offense through the end of the regular season, there is no doubt that the Buckeyes will be in the College Football Playoff, and Barrett will be in New York for the Heisman Ceremony.
“Also, Ohio State’s been passing the ball really well (and 37 times a game so far), especially for a team that couldn’t throw a ball in a lake successfully last year.”
Today, SBNation’s own Spencer Hall dives into the biggest “nightmare” scenarios for the College Football Playoffs that are also still possible. Most of Hall’s Final Fours are framed around some humorous conceit, like “The ‘God Don’t Like Ugly; He Loves It’ Plan” which features Michigan State, Stanford, Alabama, and NC State.
The Buckeyes find themselves in three of the nine scenarios, and while none of them seem all that likely in total, in two of them, Hall’s premise is that Ohio State not only passes a lot, but does so increasingly well.
Silly situations aside, sitting at No. 6 in the most recent AP Poll bodes well for OSU’s playoff chances. While that number has no bearing on the College Football Playoff, it does tend to indicate the level of respect that the college football community has for the one-loss Buckeyes.
If Ohio State remains at or around that spot when the first official rankings come out on Halloween night (which would require defeating Penn State on Oct. 28), it will all but control its own destiny.
While I am loathe to ever refer to former Purdue quarterback turned CBS “analyst” Gary Danielson as an expert on anything, I do think that his analysis of the Buckeyes being the team most likely to compete with Alabama is correct.
Ohio State and Alabama are the only two teams to be in the top-11 of both scoring offense and scoring defense, and as Wilson and Day have gotten more comfortable with the players, the reigns have seemingly been loosened for them to call plays that more fit their offensive philosophies than Urban Meyer’s.
When it comes to recruiting, arguably no school has had the success over the past five years that ‘Bama or OSU have, so to see the teams in a rematch of the 2014 semifinals would be the ideal way to cap off the season. Now, there is a long way to go before either team can confirm their postseason plans, but at this point, I think that this is the matchup that many people across the country are rooting for.
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