By: Dipak Krishnan, Contributor
College football has begun (again). And this weekend’s fun has been indicative of the wide-reaching, immensely profitable sport that is college football. One of the most anticipated games that will take place is tomorrow night’s matchup between Ohio State, the defending national champion, and Virginia Tech.
These two teams have a history. Last year, Virginia Tech defeated Ohio State 35-21, giving the Buckeyes the lone blemish on their championship-winning season. For the Buckeyes, this preseason has been business as usual, with Coach Urban Meyer intensely focused on preventing complacency. In college football, it’s almost unheard of to repeat a championship win. But for Ohio State, they have a particular quandary that could alter the course of their season.
Ohio State’s previous season was like no other because they had played all three of their quarterbacks during the season. First, there was current wide receiver Braxton Miller at quarterback, but Miller tore his ACL before games began. Then, there was J.T. Barrett, the starter for most of the season who racked up 34 touchdowns and was a Heisman Trophy candidate until he went down with a broken ankle in the final game of the regular season against Michigan. That led to the appearance of breakout star Cardale Jones, who was unbelievably composed and strong in his three game trail that led to Ohio State’s championship game win.
Now, the three quarterbacks are two. Braxton Miller moved to wide receiver. Coach Urban Meyer faces two talented quarterbacks in the same position and only one can start. J.T. Barrett is much more reserved and mature than Cardale Jones. Jones has a very active social media presence that earned the ire of some when he pointed out that football players in college didn’t come to “play school” but rather came to focus on football. Hitting the books was of secondary importance. Barrett had a whole, successful season but it was Jones’ raw brilliance that led to the Buckeyes’ title.
Who should start and will it lead to success for the Buckeyes?
My gut instinct tells me that J.T. Barrett should start. He’s a much more mature quarterback who has the focus to bring the Buckeyes success. Cardale Jones may offer much more explosiveness, but for now, Barrett should play because his previous season outweighs Jones’ play in the last three games, no matter how great Jones performed on the big stage.
Outside of the quarterback situation, the Buckeyes should look to strengthen their defensive line that graduated important seniors last year. Ohio State has Ezekiel Elliott, the main driver behind their late-season success. All in all, it should be an interesting season for Ohio State and college football as a whole. All we have to do now is sit back and watch it unfold in front of us.