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Ohio State fans are siding with Lincoln Kienholtz to be the Buckeyes’ 2024 starter

Fans also want to bring on the youth movement in the Cotton Bowl.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 11 Michigan State at Ohio State Photo by Jason Mowry/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images
Matt Tamanini Matt Tamanini is the co-managing editor of Land-Grant Holy Land having joined the site in 2016.

Throughout the Ohio State football season, we will be asking and answering questions about the team, college football, and anything else on our collective minds of varying degrees of importance. If you have a question that you would like to ask, you can tweet us @LandGrant33 or if you need more than 280 characters, send an email HERE.

There are a lot of things changing with the Ohio State football program right now. With more than a dozen players in the transfer portal, upperclassmen declaring for the NFL Draft, recruits flipping or committing elsewhere, Ryan Day’s program is not heading in the direction that he likely would have planned.

So, earlier this week, we asked Buckeye Nation to vote in our weekly fan survey about two areas that are of the utmost concern for OSU right now: the undecided quarterback situation and the upcoming Cotton Bowl.

As you undoubtedly know, starting quarterback Kyle McCord will not be returning to Columbus next season, so Day and company have a decision to make when it comes to the most important position on the field. They can stick with one of the guys currently (or soon to be) in the QB room or dive into the portal themselves.

They also have to maximize the progress possible from the next few weeks of bowl practices in an effort to get a new group of inexperienced players as much playing time as possible for them to become major contributors in the fall.

So, check out the results of our survey below, and if you have other thoughts about either question, feel free to share them in the comments at the bottom of the page.

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Question 1: With Kyle McCord in the transfer portal, who do you want to be the Buckeyes starting quarterback in 2024?

These results are interesting to me because there is a very loud contingent of folks on social media and various message boards who seem to believe that Devin Brown is done dirty by Day and should have been the starting quarterback all along. There are also some folks in the Ohio State media who seem to be banging a similar drum, either from what they’ve seen or what they have been told. Now, I have no idea if they are right or not, but just going on what I saw on the field this season, I am not incredibly confident in the future prospects of No. 33 as OSU’s starting QB. Would I be happy to be wrong? Of course, but I’m just not there.

All that aside, the seemingly vocal minority on social media led to me expect a bit of a better showing from Brown in the results. Of the guys that we know (or at least expect) to be on the roster come January, I personally would slot Brown in behind Lincoln Kienholtz and ahead of Air Noland. While Noland is clearly an incredibly talented QB, I just can’t see Day turning over the keys to this offense to a true freshman. Kienholtz on the other hand has gotten some playing time — thanks primarily to Brown’s injury — and by next fall would have been in the program for over a year. So, if we are sticking just with guys we already know, I’d go with the South Dakota Slinger first.

However, I think that it is imperative for Day to go into the portal and find a difference-maker. Let’s be honest, 2024 is essentially do-or-die for Ryan Day. If he loses to Michigan for a fourth-straight year and fails to make a run in the new, expanded 12-team playoff, his time in Columbus very well might be over. And while I am sure that he has varying levels of confidence in the other three guys in the room, I don’t know that it makes a ton of sense to run any of them out there unless he has to.

Now, there are only a small handful of quarterbacks that are — or could be — available in the portal that would be improvements over Kienholtz et. al. If Day could land Duke’s Riley Leonard, Tulane’s Michael Pratt (who is not yet in the portal), or Kansas State’s Will Howard, I think that would be a major positive — I’m partial to Pratt, but he might wait until after the Green Wave’s bowl game against Virginia Tech on Dec. 27 to decide (or at least announce) between staying, entering the NFL Draft, or putting his name in the portal.

If you don’t get one of these three guys, I would ride with Kienholtz. I know some fans are excited about Washington State’s Cameron Ward, Oklahoma’s Dillon Gabriel, and/or UCLA’s Dante Moore, but all of those guys have downsides to me; whether that is being turnover-prone, injury-prone, or so young that by joining OSU’s quarterback room, they could seriously hurt the future depth of the position for the Buckeyes.

Question 2: What are you most looking forward to from the Cotton Bowl matchup with Missouri?

This is the only option for me. With all of the depth guys in the transfer portal, the Buckeye staff is going to be forced to give younger players significant minutes; and even if that leads to mistakes, I am excited to see what their potential could add to the team.

Throughout the year we ask questions of the most plugged-in Ohio State fans and fans across the country. Sign up here to participate in the weekly emailed surveys.