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Ohio State’s quarterback competition might not be as much of a foregone conclusion as you think

Also, is anyone wishing Archie Miller had succeeded Thad Matta now?

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Michigan Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

“If it appears that both Dwayne Haskins and Tate Martell are going to be ahead of him this fall, the safe bet is that Burrow then would elect to use his ability to transfer as a graduate and find somewhere he can start.”

- Austin Ward, Land of 10

It’s hard to fault Ward’s logic that Dwayne Haskins is the leading candidate to be Ohio State’s starting quarterback this fall, and it just makes sense that this assumption will lead fans to assume that Joe Burrow will transfer, and then to ask questions about what happens if Haskins goes pro after the 2018 campaign? Would Tate Martell start in 2019? Where would Matt Baldwin enter into the mix?

All totally normal, reasonable questions to ask about a program that routinely sends players to the NFL, and needs to always have a replacement waiting in the wings. But, let’s pump the breaks before we start christening Dwayne Haskins as the next great Buckeye quarterback; not because I don’t think he’s capable of that, because I think he has the ability to be that and more, but because Burrow is also a really good quarterback.

In last year’s spring game, it was clear that Burrow was the more prepared quarterback (both physically and mentally) between the two as they fought for the No. 2 spot behind J.T. Barrett. And, throughout fall camp, head coach Urban Meyer continually referenced the fact that the competition between Haskins and Burrow was close, but that the latter had a better command of the offense, given his additional year in the program.

However, we all know that Burrow was injured right before the season-opener, and Haskins ascended to be Barrett’s back-up throughout the season. Now, perhaps the additional year in the offense, and additional playing time— especially in the pressure-cooker of the Michigan game— vaulted Haskins over Burrow in terms of preparedness.

Even if that’s the case, Burrow will almost certainly still be with the Buckeyes throughout spring practice, as he will graduate in May with two years of eligibility remaining. So, of course, after his sterling performance this season, Haskins deserves to be the favorite heading into the spring, but this has been a horserace between the two from the jump, and we shouldn’t be surprised if there is more jockeying down the stretch.

“In a year or two, Indiana coming to Value City Arena to play Ohio State might feel special again, a true rivalry reignited.”

- Bill Rabinowitz, The Columbus Dispatch

Last night’s battle of first-year Big Ten head coaches was a bit of a “what might have been game” for both the Buckeyes and the Indiana Hoosiers. Former Ohio State assistant Archie Miller brought his IU squad in to face former Butler head coach Chris Holtmann’s OSU team.

When Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith fired Thad Matta in June last year, many fans were upset that (if he was going to do it) he didn’t do it earlier in an effort to attract Miller back to Columbus. However, by the time the coaching change was made, Miller had already signed on at Indiana, and Smith had focused in on Holtmann.

The rest, as they say, is history... or at least the preface to what could eventually be history for both schools. However, even at this early point in the two coaches’ B1G careers, I doubt many Buckeye fans would tell you that they wished that things had worked out differently.

As Rabinowitz notes in the article, Ohio State turned in an impressive, team victory last night, as the Hoosiers struggled for consistency. Remember that both schools finished 7-11 in conference play last year, with IU holding an 18-16 overall record to OSU’s 17-15. So, the fact that Ohio State is now 19-5, 10-1, while Indiana is 12-11, 5-6, is a startling turn around.

On Twitter during the game last night, I asked if fans were happy with the way that the coaching changes had shaken out. Unsurprisingly, the top two options resulted in 71 percent of the vote, with only 12 percent of respondents saying that they preferred Archie (that leaves 17 percent to answer “Are you dumb?” which is a fair question, and honestly how I responded to the poll).

However, with this history already between the schools and the coaches as the groundwork, should Miller and Holtmann be able to get these programs to the levels their fans would like, it could be the making of a new epic Big Ten basketball rivalry.

“Redshirt freshman Jake Hanes needed just four weeks of action to earn recognition from the conference office, named the Midwestern Intercollegiate Volleyball Association (MIVA) Offensive Player of the Week.”

- Ohio State Athletics

While much of Buckeye Nation is focusing on football recruiting and the resurgent basketball team, there are a number of other exciting things happening in the world of OSU athletics.

First, there is redshirt freshman Jake Hanes earning national honors as a member of the Buckeye volleyball team after recording 6.42 points per set last week as OSU beat Saint Francis and then-No. 8 Penn State. In addition to the impressive points/set number, the opposite hitter also clocked a .452 hitting percentage and 5.83 kills per set.

Now, from a sport I know a little bit about to one that I know absolutely nothing about; last Saturday, Ohio State’s pistol team set a new program record with 6,491 points(?) in the open competition against Akron and Purdue. That number is apparently derived from a three-gun aggregate.

The new top score bested the previous mark, which was set nearly four years ago, by 24 points. The Air Pistol squad also broke a school record by carding 2,247 over the weekend. You can read more about those records here.

And, finally, if you are flipping through the various NBC channels next month, trying to find something to pique your interest during the Winter Olympics, might I suggest rooting for the Finnish women’s hockey team. Former Buckeye Minttu Tuominen will be making her third Olympic appearance for her native country when the games open up in PyeongChang, South Korea in February. To learn more about Tuominen, click here.