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Ohio State’s quarterback battle: Real or not?

Is there really a competition for the top spot?

SEC Championship - Alabama v Georgia Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

“Sure, we all assume that sophomore Georgia transfer Justin Fields will win the job after his waiver for immediate eligibility was approved last month. But first-year coach Ryan Day called it a “battle” when spring practice opened, so the Buckeyes have to be included here. Why? Because it’s not like Fields has done a lot as a quarterback in college.”

- Barrett Sallee, CBS Sports

One of the most attractive phrases to college football fans and content creators is “quarterback battle” and it’s pretty easy to understand why. The quarterback is the most important player on the field at any given time, and it’s a position that can obviously have just one guy in it at a time. Because of the nature of the position, and the importance of it, it’s fair to assume that there will be some pretty healthy competition as a coach tries to find his best option.

On top of that, the concept of competition —especially competition at the most important position— is an appealing one, and one that fans and writers love to pontificate on. We saw in in 2015, with the three man quarterback battle in Columbus that ended with the worst offensive season in Urban Meyer’s tenure in Columbus. After entering each of the last three seasons with an obvious starter (sorry Joe Burrow), there seems to be a growing interest in returning to that proven click machine, and pushing the idea of a quarterback battle brewing in Columbus this spring between Justin Fields and Matthew Baldwin.

So, is that competition legitimate, or is it just Ryan Day’s coach speak being turned into content for the sake of content? Obviously we can’t say anything definitive right now to answer that. However, when you consider that Justin Fields, a former five-star quarterback that could’ve gone anywhere in the country decided to come to Ohio State, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense to imagine him being anything but the starter. That isn’t to say he was promised a job, but it’s pretty tough to see Fields choosing a school where there’s a legitimate threat to lose the starting job. Take that as you may.

“The 2018 class is going to be really, really good this year. I’m really excited to see them going out and just ball. I know they’ve been itching and hungry and just waiting for their turn.”

- Chase Young via Stephen Means, Cleveland dot com

Looking for more fresh contributors to see the field this season than in years past? It sounds like we may have some good news for you then, via an excellent interview that Stephen Means put together with Ohio State star defensive end Chase Young.

Per Young, the 2018 class (rising sophomores) is catching on fast, and could be seeing the field quite a bit this year. He even singled out fellow defensive linemen Tyreke Smith as one of those top sophomores.

“If he doesn’t get at least three sacks a day it’s a problem,” Young said. “That’s what we all expect from him.”

That’s certainly high praise, but in the limited time we’ve seen from Smith, it seems to line up with his ceiling. While Smith likely won’t see starting time this season because of Jonathan Cooper and Chase Young, it sounds like he could be a serious contributor off the bench, and it sounds like he may not be the only 2018 guy to breakthrough towards playing time.

Buckeyes open Big Ten play against Rutgers on Sunday

Ohio State men’s lacrosse is hot right now. Really hot. The Buckeyes have opened their season with seven straight wins —one of the best starts in school history— and seems to be one of the best teams in the country as they enter Big Ten play starting this weekend.

For the Buckeyes, this is a pretty gentle way to open Big Ten play, and honestly, a necessary drop off in competition level. The Buckeyes played in easily their toughest game of the year to this point last Saturday in South Bend, Ind., and escaped with a massive 11-10 overtime win over the Fighting Irish.

Now, with a bit of a lull, Ohio State needs to be sure to conserve energy without overlooking the Scarlet Knights. With the top team in the nation in Penn State hosting the Buckeyes next week, and No. 20 Johns Hopkins on the schedule after that, it would be understandable if the Buckeyes are caught looking ahead.

The game will be televised on ESPNU at noon on Sunday.

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