By Dr. Jeffrey A. Glenn / @jagadelic
The Ohio State University's football program is taking its well-deserved victory lap after capturing the first College Football Playoff National Championship. Fresh off throwing out the first pitch at the Cincinnati Reds game and visiting the White House, one question is on everyone's mind. Are people asking if they can they repeat or is the new recruiting class strong? No.
All anyone seems to want to know is how Urban Meyer will deal with a three-headed monster at the quarterback position. How do you choose among Braxton Miller, two-time Big Ten Player of the Year, a top-five Heisman Trophy candidate in J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones, who in three starts won the Big Ten Championship, the Sugar Bowl and the National Championship? Let's break it down.
First of all, it's a two-headed monster, not three. Braxton Miller is not going to play quarterback for the Buckeyes, at least not full time. If he wanted to play quarterback, he would have transferred, as most "experts" were certain he was going to do. Braxton knows that his future in the NFL is not at the QB position. He fits the mold of a Kordell "Slash" Stewart or a Denard "I went to Michigan and can't figure out how to tie my Shoelace" Robinson. (Sorry, old habits die hard. Must blast the team up north at every opportunity.) If he's going to play slot receiver, third-down back, return man, etc., on Sundays, he may as well audition for it now. I'm sure Urban will dream up some pass plays for him to give opposing defenses headaches, but he won't be the main man under center.
Does Urban have any experience with a player like this? Anyone remember Percy Harvin? Buckeye fans do. In the 2007 National Championship Game, Percy lined up a QB for Urban's Florida squad several times, had 60 yards passing and a rushing touchdown in a 41 -14 mollywhop over the previously undefeated and favored Buckeyes.
OK. That leaves two. J.T. beat out Cardale for the starting job last year and, after a rocky start, exploded with one impressive performance after another. If he hadn't broken his ankle in the Michigan game, Jones would still be best known as the immature guy who famously tweeted, "Why do we have to go to class if we came here to play football?"
But Barrett did break his ankle. And to say that Cardale made the most of his opportunity is an understatement of biblical proportions.
So, where do we go from here? It's pretty simple. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. Cardale is like a boxing champion. You would have to beat him decisively to get a decision. In a draw, the champ retains the belt.
J.T. is a year behind Cardale. He'll still have a chance to run the show if Cardale plays this season. He'll have two years if his ankle is still touchy and he takes a medical redshirt. That probably won't be a consideration for Urban. If J.T. deserves the job, he'll get it. But I think it's a long shot. Benching a returning QB who led a team to a National Championship is unheard of. It just isn't done.
So, that about sums it up. Just imagine the possibilities. Cardale in the shotgun with Ezekiel Elliott and Braxton Miller standing on either side. Suddenly, the ball is directly snapped to Braxton. If the safety cheats up, he throws a screen to Elliott or a long pass. If the poor, confused fellow hangs back, Braxton can run with 6'5" Cardale acting as lead blocker. My goodness. I just got that same warm feeling that I first felt when I was 12 and saw my first Pam Grier movie.
Hey, Jim Harbaugh, you might beat us one day, but that day ain't gonna be November 28 at the Big House. Urban will use all his wits and squelch the controversy. Buckeye Nation is primed for another run, and all is right in the universe.
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