Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Braxton Miller and Ohio State football

This is kind of a good news/bad news deal -- most of it being bad. The outstanding quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes is going to miss the 2014 season due to a shoulder injury. That's bad news.

They'll be forced to start a red-shirt freshman, one J. T. Barnett in his place. That's even worse news for Buckeye fans. Despite the spin the team is attempting to put on it, you can't replace a senior QB that threw for over 2000 yards last year, including 24 touchdowns, and ran for over 1000 more yards with an additional 12 TDs, with an untested new guy and expect anywhere near the same productivity. Ain't gonna happen.

The good news? Mostly for the rest of the Big 10 conference teams, especially Michigan State. Yes, MSU defeated Ohio State fair and square in last year's conference championship game and went on to win the Rose Bowl over Stanford. The Spartans are definitely for real.

But their chances of repeating just went up with Miller out for the year. Sure, no team would dare gloat over an injury on another team, but get real. College football, like the pros, is a dog eat dog world anymore. Any little advantage one team can find over another will be exploited. And the loss of Braxton Miller is definitely advantageous to other teams.

Consider -- preseason polls had OSU ranked #4. A 12:1 shot to win the national championship, but a favorite to make the Final Four in this year's revamped version (it's about time) of the playoffs. With Miller out, they plummeted to 50:1 odds at winning the national title. And Michigan State, who was ranked 6th to 8th in the preseason polls, just saw their chances of repeating as Big 10, 12, 14, whatever they are now, champions get a lot better. This is good news for the Spartans. And who knows? If between top-ranked and defending champion Florida State, the usual suspects from the SEC, Oklahoma, and those quacks from Oregon, a couple of them somehow falter, the Sparties could be in the Big January Dance as well. Stranger things have happened. After all, Braxton Miller himself incurred his season-ending injury while lobbing a 7 yard pass in a non-contact practice drill. How weird is that?

But the worst news of all lands on Braxton Miller. His NFL draft stock just crashed and burned. If he would have "came out" after his terrific 2013 campaign, the young man would have been drafted by an NFL team somewhere. Besides the typical signing bonus, throw in even a rookie contract, and Miller would likely be a multi-millionaire right now. Sure, he might be on the shelf now for a pro team like he is now with the Buckeyes -- but at least he'd have bucks.

The only way the pros will even look at him is if he comes back in 2015 and tears it up again like he did last year. And takes his hits and remains fully healthy for the whole year. No given.

Here's wishing him well, but count yours truly skeptical.......

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