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Just how much will we see from Ohio State’s backup QBs against Indiana?

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Indiana is really excited for Thursday’s game with the Buckeyes.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Greg Bartram-USA TODAY Sports

“You want backup quarterback Dwayne Haskins to play against Indiana on Thursday night. But Urban Meyer isn’t planning on it.”

- Bill Landis, Cleveland.com

In his article, Landis does a great job of breaking down all of the moving pieces regarding Ohio State’s backup quarterback position, especially in light of redshirt sophomore Joe Burrow’s broken hand. There is no doubt that J.T. Barrett will play every meaningful snap of the season barring an unforeseen injury, so it makes sense that head coach Urban Meyer was peppered with questions about the backup position heading into the season opener.

First, Landis explains that Meyer currently doesn’t have any plans for new No. 2, redshirt freshman Dwayne Haskins to get into the game against Indiana tomorrow night, primarily because of how much he respects the Hoosiers.

However, even if IU is a much better team than it was in generations past, if things go as well as the odds in the section below suggest, Haskins very well might get some time in clean-up duty.

Landis also reports that the timetable for Burrow to return to the field seems to be much shorter than originally anticipated. Earlier this week, Meyer said that the QB will definitely be back this season, and, “he’ll be back before you know it. He’s doing fine.”

If that is indeed the case, Haskins will want to make the most of whatever time he gets on the field, as Meyer has said repeatedly that the two QBs were neck-and-neck throughout spring and fall practices. Despite whatever level of coach-speak is involved in that statement, the prevailing opinion was that Burrow had a leg up because of his extra year in, and understanding of, the offense. There is also the specter of hype-machine, true freshman Tate Martell waiting in the wings as the team’s current No. 3.

Since fifth-year senior Barrett won’t be under center next year, if one of the reserve QBs can distance himself this season, he will have a distinct advantage moving into the all-important off-season, and tomorrow night just might be Haskins’ first opportunity to do just that.

“The team will have plenty of competition this year in a loaded Big Ten, but it still enters 2017 as the favorite to win the conference title thanks to a wealth of talent on both sides of the ball.”

- OddsShark, SBNation

Ohio State is a 21.5 point favorite against Indiana tomorrow. That’s a lot of points, and despite the fact that the Buckeyes are 23-0-1 straight-up against the Hoosiers in their last 24 encounters, they are also 0-6 against the spread in the two teams’ past six meetings.

In addition to that ugly ATS number, there are a lot of other reasons not to expect the Buckeyes to pour it on IU tomorrow night. It’s easily the biggest home game that Indiana has had... ever? Not only is it a Thursday night, nationally televised season opener, but it is also against the conference’s best team, who just so happens to have hired IU’s unceremoniously fired head coach as their offensive coordinator in the off-season.

There will be plenty of juice in Memorial Stadium tomorrow night, and the tradition of the crowd wearing more scarlet than crimson in these matchups might just be upended. If you look at the article referenced below, Bloomington is more geeked up for this game than any in recent memory, so you know that the Hoosiers will give the Buckeyes their best effort.

So, if you are going to make a purely theoretical, non-financial, for entertainment purposes only wager on the game, maybe take the over, as those 58 points look mighty low considering Kevin Wilson’s influence on both teams’ offenses.

“This IU football game is so big, already you’re reading words you’ve never read before. The first seven words of this story, I’m saying.

This IU football game is so big …

- Gregg Doyel, Indy Star

You think you’re excited about tomorrow night’s game? People in Indiana are apparently so amped about the season opener that they have set the sky-high expectations of... not being blown out?

In all seriousness, Doyel, who is one of the most respected columnists working in sports journalism, argues that the ability for Indiana to put its budding football program on display in front of a massive audience is about more than a single win or loss to the Hoosiers. With the entire sporting world watching on seven ESPN platforms via the network’s Megacast coverage, IU has the opportunity to showcase itself as more than just a basketball school.

From a military flyover to obscene signs hanging from off-campus housing, the game does have a legit college football feel, which is assuredly one of the reasons that the Big Ten wanted to have more teams opening the season with conference matchups. So, even if the oddsmakers are right, and OSU wins on the road, the excitement generated for the game is good not only for IU and Ohio State, but the league and college football as well.

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