Ohio State's History of Losing a Senior Quarterback on Short Notice

By Vico on August 21, 2014 at 10:45a
Rod Gerald led the Buckeyes to two Big Ten championships but lost his job to a freshman.
Eleven Warriors' 2014 Ohio State Football Season Preview

Ohio State will start the 2014 season in Baltimore with less than ideal circumstances. Major staff readjustments came for the defensive side of the ball after the unit was abysmal in 2013 by Ohio State's lofty standards. On the offensive side of the ball, one of Ohio State's best ever offenses loses Urban Meyer's first 1,000-yard-rusher tailback and four of five starters on the offensive line. The hope was a three-year-starter at quarterback could use his experience as a senior to guide Ohio State into the first college football playoff.

With the recent news that Braxton Miller will sit out the 2014 season with an injury suffered less than two weeks before the start of the season, Ohio State's situation in the Big Ten and nationally looks more precarious.

However, losing a senior starting quarterback for the season is not a new story for Ohio State football. In fact, the last senior to finish his career starting at quarterback to date was Troy Smith in the 2006 season. This omits Todd Boeckman's curious start at quarterback for the 2009 Fiesta Bowl after he lost the starting job three weeks into the season.

How have past Ohio State teams fared after losing a would-be returning senior quarterback for the season? Alternatively, how have freshman signal-callers fared when installed as starting quarterback on the fly? If history were a guide, the answer would be "well enough", but not great. In what follows, I discuss past Ohio State teams that have lost a senior QB for the season before the season started, how their season unfolded, and conclude with what it may mean for Ohio State in 2014.

One of the first and most prominent examples of an abrupt leadership change at quarterback came in 1978 when Art Schlichter replaced Rod Gerald at quarterback. The change was surprising for Ohio State fans who knew nothing of the inner workings of the fall camp that summer.

The situation was not quite identical to what Ohio State will encounter this year. In 1978, Rod Gerald, a two-time Big Ten champion quarterback and Orange Bowl MVP, was moved to split end and Art Schlichter, a true freshman, debuted in the season-opener as the quarterback. This change was in the work the entire summer as part of a recruiting pledge Woody Hayes made to the Schlichter family to get Art to sign with Ohio State over Michigan and Penn State. Art Schlichter wanted to start the first game of the season. Woody Hayes was willing to make that promise. Bo Schembechler and Joe Paterno were not.

The immediate result was disastrous. Ohio State committed nine turnovers, five of which were interceptions, and was shutout 19-0 in its last shutout loss at home and last home-opening loss to date. The Buckeyes won just two of their first five games that year. After a 27-16 loss at Purdue, the first loss to the Boilermakers in 11 years, Ohio State won five straight to get a shot at winning another Big Ten championship. The Buckeyes lost 14-3 in the season finale to Michigan to solidify its position in fourth place in the Big Ten, ending its run of five consecutive Big Ten championships. The loss in the Gator Bowl to Clemson saw the conclusion of Woody Hayes' coaching career with a 7-4-1 season.

Ohio State put points on the lesser teams in the Big Ten, including 63 on Northwestern, 49 at Wisconsin, and 45 on Illinois in a three-game stretch. However, offense was always the problem in 1978. Woody Hayes' Art Schlichter experiment was not successful in 1978. The problem was akin to a square peg and a round hole. Woody Hayes tried to shoehorn Schlichter, whose best talents lay with his arm and passing ability, into an offense still tailored for previous quarterbacks like Rod Gerald and Cornelius Greene. It allowed Schlichter to be one yard behind Paul Campbell from leading Ohio State in rushing in 1978 (590 yards, 157 attempts, 13 TDs), but the passing statistics were harsh. Schlichter completed 87 of 175 passes for 1,250 yards, four touchdowns, and 21 interceptions. Ohio State's offense struggled against every good team it played in 1978.

The other noteworthy example was the recent departure of Terrelle Pryor from the program. At first suspended for the first five games of the season, Pryor's issues with the NCAA and Ohio State's football program grew until he withdrew from the university. Left in his wake was a quarterback competition between Joe Bauserman and true freshman Braxton Miller.

Bauserman won the competition and guided Ohio State to opening wins against two MAC teams. Ohio State had no problem dispatching Akron but needed a stop late in the fourth quarter to stave off Tim Beckman's Toledo Rockets. Things unraveled the next week in Miami against what would be a .500 Miami Hurricanes team. The Buckeyes lost 24-6 in a game in which the Buckeyes failed to score a touchdown and were shutout in the second half.

Braxton Miller won the starting quarterback spot for the next week against Colorado, a 37-17 win over what would be the worst team in the Pac-12 that season. Things did not improve. Ohio State was almost shutout at home in a 10-7 loss to Michigan State and suffered one of the season's most infuriating defeats the next week to Nebraska. Ohio State won its next three games but lost its final four, finishing with seven losses to six wins.

Like 1978, offense was the problem. Ohio State had the 115th-ranked passing offense in college football that season and the worst passing offense in the Big Ten, averaging just 127 yards through the air. The 27th-ranked rushing offense could not overcome a total offense that finished 107th in the country. Miller led the Buckeyes with 1,159 yards on 157 attempts and 85 completions. 

Terrelle Pryor was inconsolable after another poor performance in 2008.
Ohio State fans should expect an offensive performance similar to the 2008 Penn State game this season.

If we generalize Ohio State's predicament this season to be similar to those where a freshman quarterback was compelled to start mid-season, the 2008 Ohio State football team offers an allusion to a rosier outcome. Terrelle Pryor was given the starting nod over Todd Boeckman following Ohio State's 35-3 loss at USC and guided Ohio State to a share of a Big Ten championship that season. Ohio State lost just one regular season game since Pryor took the starting job.

However, few games from 2008 were pretty. Ohio State fans may remember how grim the 13-6 loss was to Penn State at home. Two weeks earlier, Ohio State failed to score a touchdown in a 16-3 win against Purdue. Only the wins at Michigan State and at Northwestern showcased an offense that looked functional overall.

The biggest problem was the lack of a passing offense. Ohio State's passing offense tallied just 150 yards a game that season, seven yards in front of a Michigan's worst ever team.

If history were our guide to understanding Ohio State's current predicament, what might Ohio State fans expect of a 2014 team that lost its senior quarterback before the season starts and will feature a freshman at the helm?

I am skeptical of doomsday scenarios for Ohio State this season without Braxton Miller. For one, I don't think skeptics can bemoan the quality of Big Ten football and say that Ohio State, with all the athletes it recruits, is bound for a season similar to 2011. I'll grant one, but not both. Ohio State should win some games, some even handily, by virtue of a talent differential that favors Ohio State in most matchups. References to some of the wins in 2008 and late-season push in 1978 are appropriate.

Ohio State's cause in 2014 will be helped by an offensive coaching staff more competent and modern than past coaching staffs. Ohio State's 1978 offense was a case of a square peg in a round hole. Woody Hayes tried to revamp the offense into a more of a passing game without a firm idea of what he was doing. Schlichter's true freshman credentials only made matters worse. Beanie Wells was Ohio State's offensive identity in 2008, especially during conference play. Ohio State did not have an offensive identity in 2011 and had just lost the architect of the program to a resignation. By contrast, Ohio State's offense under Urban Meyer has a firm identity even if the coaches find themselves getting "off-balance".

Further, the situation in 2011 was more than just losing a senior quarterback. The starting left tackle and starting tailback were suspended five games. DeVier Posey, the team's starting split end, was suspended ten games. Jim Tressel, the de facto offensive coordinator, resigned in May. A 6-7 season during a period in which coaches and players were waiting for shoes to drop seems quite remarkable, all things considered. With comparable, but not quite as extreme, circumstances, Arkansas limped to a 4-8 season in 2012. Even that 4-8 season was padded by playing Auburn and Kentucky, who both finished with a combined 5-19 record.

There is legitimate cause for concern, though. Ohio State fans should be more concerned now about the situation on the offensive line. Ohio State fans hoping to write off the attrition at offensive line by reference to a senior quarterback with an uncanny ability to scramble and shake defenders no longer have that luxury. In this regard, a comparison to the worst elements of the 2008 football team are appropriate.

Greater concern about the quality of the defense is warranted. Ohio State may need to win games on the quality of its defense like it was able to do in 2008 and, to a lesser extent, 1978 with Tom Cousineau's presence. Ohio State's defense was the difference in making that 49-14 win against Wisconsin in 1978 look as lopsided as it did in the box score.

Ohio State fans optimistic about a possible double-digit win season should still expect some major offensive hiccups. This is a feature shared among the 1978, 2008, and 2011 teams. Ohio State lost a football game 13-6 in 2008 and won one by a score of 16-3, both without scoring an offensive touchdown. Ohio State lost a football game 10-7 in 2011 and won one 17-7 two weeks later. Ohio State completed just one pass in that win at Illinois.

Ohio State could still throw some bombs on offense in a couple games, but there will be at least one game in which Ohio State struggles to gain traction with an offense that lost its senior QB shortly before the season began.

Further, the 2014 season may see J.T. Barrett buckle under the lights or in a high-stakes road game. Art Schlichter's shoulder was dinged the week before the Purdue game. Having not practiced until Thursday, Schlichter quarterbacked a Buckeye team to six fumbles in the loss to Purdue. The loss in West Lafayette put Ohio State behind in a Big Ten championships race from which it did not recover.

Similarly, Terrelle Pryor buckled under the pressure in the home loss to Penn State in 2008. The fumble on the fourth-down QB sneak was the defining moment of that contest. Similar offensive implosions dot Ohio State's campaign in 2011, especially at Lincoln and at Miami.

With that in mind, Ohio State fans should not be surprised if Ohio State enters East Lansing as underdogs and its offense plays like it. Fans should also not be surprised if Virginia Tech's celebrated defensive coordinator, Bud Foster, finds creative ways to confuse J.T. Barrett.

The trips to Penn State and Maryland become more interesting as well. Ohio State enjoys a talent advantage over both, but the Penn State game will be at night and Maryland's offense will be able to score on most teams it plays this season. Ohio State's offense malfunctioning in both those games under a freshman quarterback could make them more competitive than they would be if Ohio State's senior quarterback were healthy.


Comments Show All Comments

raki's picture

2011 Season can be consider outlier, Freshman quarterback, Interim head coach, suspension of some of the players and the worst offensive coordinator (walrus) Probably in the history of OSU,and who can forget the great QB BOZO.

+7 HS
rkylet83's picture

You're right.  The 2011 season was "the perfect storm" in so many ways.  What that offensive staff did was borderline criminal.  How a group of senior offensive lineman could be that bad is still beyond me.  

+5 HS
MattyBeingMatty's picture

If only we could go back to that season and say "Hey, we should self-impose a bowl ban this year"

“Not everybody’s the perfect person in the world, I mean everyone kills people, murders people, steals from you, steals from me, whatever. I think that people need a second chance, and I’ve always looked up to Mike Vick." -TP

+5 HS
rosenbuck's picture

I truly believe we'd have beaten that ND squad.

Mortc15's picture

For all the questions surrounding the team, if the defense is improved like we all hope it is, I think 10 wins is a realistic and reasonable total for this season. 


+4 HS
Earle's picture

Well, I was starting to feel better about the season...

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

+17 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

You and me both. This article knocked me down a peg. haha

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+3 HS
saluki2007's picture

11W has been putting me on one hell of an emotional roller coaster this week.

+3 HS
Blackbeards Delight's picture

All I can say is, last year, Conner Cook.

"Pappy Van Winkle's Family Reserve 23yr, it's what's for breakfast"

- Me


+2 HS
Sicily of the 614's picture

I love that comparison but it's worth noting, they lost to Notre Dame last year. I have faith but I would be lying if I said that I'm not worried about a few games.

Nobody panic

Buckinthemiddle's picture

All I can say is there are a ton of positives to take away from this situation. First of all, different coach, different team, and different style will make this year different from all those of the past when we had a freshman QB. We have a ton of potential play makers sitting there chomping at the bit to get the ball in their hands. We have speed everywhere, and we have a defense that should be vastly improved with Ash and Johnson coming in. JT is young, but should Braxton have left he more than likely would have been the guy this year anyway. It's time to see what he's got! I refuse to accept this attitude that the season is a lost cause. We are going to score a lot of points and win a lot of games. Also, remember this is Urban's guy. He brought him to OSU for a reason, and it wasn't to sit on the bench. Have some faith people! I'm excited for this year, and you should be too.

"I'm in favor of it" - John McKay, on the execution of his team.

+4 HS
roamingbuckeye's picture

my mantra this week has been "trust in Urban Meyer, trust in Urban Meyer"

Real talk though, we were expecting to walk through the regular season and that just isn't going to happen anymore.  Games like UC and Penn State just got a whole lot more interesting but that doesn't mean the are un-winnable.  Here's the difference - we can still win each game...but it just got a whole lot harder to win every game. I'm predicting a good number of heart attack-inducing 4th quarters and it will come down to the grit team, the chip on their shoulder, and the ability to put the offseason improvements on the field as the whether those end in victory or heartbreak.

"I just cant wait to play football." -UFM

+5 HS
Tim's picture

I agree with this -- we can still win every game, but the margin for error is going to be a lot smaller than it would be with Miller.

+1 HS
roamingbuckeye's picture

exactly. and even without Miller, how many games are we actually going into as the underdogs? Thats what I dont get about the ESPIN drama over "the Buckeyes are ruined!!! All hope of marginal success GONE!!!" ...with the exception of Mich St (which was already referenced as an uphill game even with Miller), I havent heard any of the talking heads mention any new specific games in which we are no longer the favorites to win. But sure, doom and gloom gets pageviews.

"I just cant wait to play football." -UFM

+1 HS
kiester's picture

I'm predicting a good number of heart attack-inducing 4th quarters...

Same. In fact, I think this year may play out more like 2012 than it will the 2011 season in regards to how close games will unnecessarily be in the 4th quarter. And THAT is where J.T. (Juice Time?) will either succeed or fail. 

+2 HS
Nairion's picture

I cant upvote yet but you get a +1 for Juice Time. I just watched that training days video again the other day where they talked all about the juice

+1 HS
BTBuckeye's picture

We're gonna run the ball 40+ times a game. ~70/30 run pass is my prediction for this year.

+2 HS
Buckeye Chuck's picture

40 times a game would be below our pace of last year.

I expect the run-pass ratio to be similar to a year ago -- assuming we're almost always ahead in the second half. 

The most "loud mouth, disrespect" poster on 11W.

+1 HS
apack614's picture

Well fuck.

My optimisim feels like it just got shot in the face. GO BUCKS!

I can't wait to poop in the PL bathroom.

M Man's picture

You forgot the granddaddy of all OSU quarterback losses.


An already-dinged Rex Kern goes out in the first half of the game in Ann Arbor.  The half ends with Michigan up 24-12.  Nobody scores a point in the second half.

Ohio State's long undefeated streak is over.  Number 1 ranking gone.  Back to back national championship hopes vanished.

-5 HS
BUCKfutter's picture

...and michigan still sucks

the kids are playing their tail off, and the coaches are screwing it up! - JLS

+14 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

I believe the theme was more about losing a Senior QB for a whole season, but thanks for reminding us about that damn game.

+5 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

The best team did not win that day.

Rex Kern was dinged up a lot that season and missed plenty of time in several games. He even missed the entire Wisconsin game that year. Ron Maciejowski was a more than adequate backup! He was actually a much better passer than Kern.  But not on this day. OSU had 5 or 6 INTs as I recall.

Thanks for the reminder. NOT.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+2 HS
M Man's picture

Woody is well known to have said to Bo that that one hurt him the most, because he thought the '69 team was his best.  Who could possibly argue with Woody on that point?

'68-'69 Ohio State wasn't just the best team in The Game; it was the best team in the country.  That issue was settled in the '69 Rose Bowl when you stuffed the USC Trojans with O.J. Simpson.  

But that's why we play The Game.

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

Ah yes, also of note, it was the last time that *ichigan was a relevant program I believe...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

+7 HS
ghalephoto's picture

You trying to make a point or just capture that troll of the year award?  You can stop, you won that award month's ago.

lamplighter's picture

MAYBE the worst sports day of my 61 years - thanks for reminding me.

Now about that App State program --

+3 HS
jamesrbrown322's picture

 Just like fine wine, it gets better with age...

"Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill

buckeyepastor's picture

I think we will lean on Elliott, Smith, and our backs more than we initially thought we would.  I know we have a new, young offensive line, but they are talented.   I trust that they'll be ready, especially with this staff.   I know that the knock on Barrett is that he doesn't have that strong of an arm, but while Braxton has made some of the most memorable deep throws in recent OSU history in his three years (Wisky game in 2011 and 2013 along with a lot of others), so much of our pass offense has been about the short to medium passes.  If Barrett is efficient with getting the ball into the flats and finding the mismatches, I think we'll be okay.  

I expect the staff is working on ways to use the pass game to negate the inevitable "stacking of the box" that we will see.  With Braxton back there, teams stacking the box could get burned one of two ways - either burned by a big pass play or giving our freak athlete QB a bit of daylight to hit with nothing at the second level to stop him.   I think we all know which of those two things happened more often.   This year when teams stack against the run, we don't have Hyde to literally impose his will and get 3-4 solid yards even against a wall of defenders, and we won't have a QB that can force one or two guys to over-commit and then bolt past them like a man among boys.   We will have to find smart, creative ways to get the ball out on the edge.   I think the H-backs (Dontre, Jalin, whoever) will have to do more behind and at the LOS than if Miller were still at QB.   

Most seasons, the offensive line as a whole is either more consistent and productive in pass blocking, or run blocking.  Has there been much said about which is true for this unit?   Knowing that will go a long ways for a sense of what to expect from the offense.   As Barrett goes under center, the offense will go as far as the skill players around him can take us, but I think the line's strength will also have influence on what the offense does most.   

"Woody would have wanted it that way" 

+3 HS
The Rill Dill's picture

According to Tom Herman, Barrett's arm is stronger than Kenny Guiton's.

Warfield's picture

I know Krenzel wasn't a freshmen in 2002, but how many games had he started going into that season?

+2 HS
LouBuck35's picture

Pretty sure he only started in Ann Arbor in 2001.  Bellisari started the bowl game against Sweet Lou and the Gamecocks.

I want a fall Saturday in Ohio Stadium..

Jpfbuck's picture

Not so

Krenzel started both the UM and bowl but was pulled early for Bellisari. and although he didnt start the Illinois game he played more than half of it in relief of McMullen

besides by the start of 2002 he was a RS junior who had played in 10 games and thrown over 50 career passes with 2 starts, hardly comparable to Barrett

USMC11917's picture

Had to stop reading after the 7th paragraph! I am now sitting in a corner, shaking grasping to hold onto reality. Actually, I am looking for fantasy right now where we have a RS-Freshman win the Heisman and hoist the Natty Trophy above his head.

+2 HS
chirobuck's picture



^ best post ever ^

My2Sons's picture

The last two articles I have read on this site, by Patrick Maks and by Vico, have been totally depressing.  Why?  I'm bummed that Braxton was hurt.  He deserves better.  But I'm not even considering that the Buckeyes, with the talent they have at EVERY POSITION,  are now also-rans.  The offensive line will be just short of last years.  That makes them good.  After Navy, and the rest of the country, sees the new and improved Silver Bullets, they won't know how to act.  Because of that, JT and Cardale will get the opportunity to grow with the offense.  By the middle of the season, NOBODY is going to want a piece of these BUCKEYES !

+5 HS
causeicouldntgo43's picture

Great analysis Vico on what transpired before, when an OSU team was faced with a similar situation as they are now. For me, its hard to find true comparisons, and the offense Meyer and Herman are installing this year should be different from any in OSU's past. I believe they intended to get to this point sooner (more perimeter passing) but the Brax and Hyde show was too good to ignore last year. So the short passes, speed, and schemes and RB talent will minimize the need for the onus to be entirely on the QB. At least that is my hope. 

Woody struggled to find the fit for Art (Earle, the real Earle, was better at it in '79 - damn near a Natty won). And I agree about 2011 being a real outlier. I suppose we can also look to two teams that recently did pretty well with RS Frosh QB's - we know who they are. They did pretty well.

Earle's picture

Earle, the real Earle

What is that supposed to mean?

Have you tried Not Your Father's Root Beer?  It tastes just like the real thing, but it packs a punch (5.9%ABV).  It's a little sweet for me though.  Two is my limit.

+3 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

This article really confused me.  It seemed to go back and forth, sometimes concluding things should be just fine, other times suggesting it would be dire.

For instance, this appeared under the photo of TP: Ohio State fans should expect an offensive performance similar to the 2008 Penn State game this season.  I am not a big fan of "here is what happened in the past, so, expect that to happen again."  We are coming off of a record setting offense in 2013.  That wasn't the case in 2007.  This team is guded by Meyer/Herman and has more weapons IMO than the team in 2008 had (I guess that remains to be seen).  In 2007-08, the core of the team was defense with a very conservative offense that played field position football and relied on a power running game.  The exact opposite will probably characterize this team--wide open spread offense with most of the question marks on defense.

I do expect JT to struggle at times, no doubt about it.  But he is perfectly suited for this role because of the talent around him.  This team will compete for titles IF the defense plays much better.  If that happens, JT won't be asked to do that much.  If the defense is as bad or almost as bad as last year, and we have to try and outscore people, that's when this team can expect to get in trouble, at least against the best teams on the schedule.  For me, it all comes down to the defense.  Honestly, I'm not really that worried about the offense.


+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

There's no understating the pressure Barrett will have/feel, but the Buckeyes pass this test as a team.

MY expectations are lowered, but I remain hopeful that the other question marks (offensive line, rise in play at the skill spots and defensive back seven) are answered in confidence as the season goes on.

J.T. steps into a unique situation, and I think it was great for UFM and staff to immediately state they are not asking him to be #5, but the distributor. There's enough talent for this spread offense to click - without the onus being on just the quarterback. This doesn't have to be a similar scenario that Schichter, Pryor and Braxton stepped into.

Power of the units, success of the team.

Let's go Buckeyes (9 friggin' days!).

+3 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Good points. Well said.

“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+1 HS
TURD_BUCKET's picture

Pryor and Braxton were true freshmen at the time. And I think we have more potential talent on this team, both sides of the ball.

I am going to re-read Ramzy article:


“Being average means you are as close to the bottom as you are to the top.” John Wooden

+2 HS
DefendYoungstown's picture

Interesting contrast in Ramzys blog and this blog. Ramzy had me stepping away from the cliff and this article has one foot over the edge already. There will be struggles but we have more weapons on offense than ever before (that I am aware of). I wonder if anybody has done a position by position comparison of ND in 2012 and Fsu 2013 and this osu team. We are not hurting for talent on the offensive side of the ball. No reason to believe that our RS frosh can't do great things this year. #shocktheworld

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

+3 HS
DefendYoungstown's picture

"Ohio State fans should expect an offensive performance similar to the 2008 Penn State game this season."

With all the tools we have, seriously this is what you believe?????

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

+8 HS
RedStorm45's picture

And Bollman isn't here anymore, so...

+2 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

Somebody said this the other day, but is it time to stop kicking Bollman around?

I mean, wasn't he the OC for Sparty last year?  I'm just sayin'...

-2 HS
BHT's picture

Just curious, but where is the walrus? Is he still at Sparty?

QBYBuckeye's picture

Past is history. It has no impact on the present or future other than what we can learn from it. 

J.T. is NOT a freshman, he is in his second year in the program and has had the benefit of two Springs, as well.  He is actually farther along in his development than Braxton was in 2012 because of the coaching he has had.

The O Line is better (better talent, more depth, more time in the system) than the one that went 12-0 in 2012, and the Defense should be solid (some have suggested it might be the best in the country).

Yes, the loss of Braxton potentially puts the Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, and Penn State games in play, and it makes MSU a real challenge, BUT ...

The VT game, because of the style of defense and the talent in the defensive backfield (best in the country?) should tell us how the rest of the season will go.  If we put up 27 or more points against VT, I think we should win the B1G and be playoff bound.  If our offense struggles, then we will probably end up 10-2 or 11-1 and go to a January 1 Bowl.

Since all is speculation, I am going to sit back and enjoy the season, focusing on Navy and VT to give me a barometric reading for prediction purposes.


New York Buckeye

+7 HS
gm3jones's picture

some have suggested it might be the best in the country

I am not sure about best in the country, but I do think they will be much better than last year (they really dont have a choice lol).

There is nothing more remarkable as learning to think better.

+2 HS
fear_the_nut70's picture

I can believe that the DL might be "best in the country," but I think applying that to the whole D with new faces at LB and rebuilding the secondary goes too far. Just curious, but you suggested "some have suggested best d in the country?"  Who suggested this?

+1 HS
NitroBuck's picture

Not sure why your post was DV'd, but I offset it.  I share your optimistic view.  13-0 is still a distinct possibility.

Ferio.  Tego.

+2 HS
DefendYoungstown's picture

You have to win the B1G to make the rose bowl game, there is also no guarantee that a B1G team will play in the Dena Jan 1. It's the 1st round of the playoff the year.

What we can't do in the air we'll do on the ground.

2morrow's picture

Not worried - I still think a 12-0 regular season is possible - though even with BM, I still thought someone would give us a tough game, namely MSU. PSU, and um. Much is different now...you have the backups taking all of the snaps since spring, you have a coach who is an offensive expert with the spread, you've recruited spread quarterbacks, you have tons of playmakers and tons more speed than we have ever had, you have the best if not one of the best offensive line coaches in the country (I expect the OL to end up being one of the team strengths). If we really have an elite offensive coordinator, he will figure out a way to give JT confidence in each game, maybe throwing short passes with a high chance of completion to start each game, and vary the play calling enough to confuse the defense - like throwing short on first down.

With the athletes we have on defense, a good coach will show DRAMATIC improvement and that should give the offense a little wiggle room. I will be shocked if we are worse than 10-2, more so than if we are 12-0. With or without BM, this team has a lot of talent and this season will tell us just how good our coaches are.


If the Buckeyes are mediocre this year does that mean everyone Coach Meyer has recruited since he came to Columbus is a bust? I just cannot believe that.

"Sherman ran an option play right through the south" - Greatest Civil War analogy EVER.

+1 HS
HYDEYOKIDS's picture

I actually think the article was reasonable. He was simply saying while it is still possible to go undefeated this season, our losses on offense compounded by now starting a freshman QB will most likely lead to at least one game where our offense and game become a struggle and J.T. buckles. We have talent and ability, but in all likelihood the most probable outcome is a season at least 1 loss which is a very reasonable assumption.

kjonesATX's picture

I think we can all agree, that this year we would have been better off, and had a better chance with a healthy Braxton in year 3 under Urban and this offense.  But I don't think those comparisons are useful. First of all, offense in general was different in the 1970s from what it is these days. Secondly, Tressel's offenses were always conservative and more game-management oriented. So even when they had successful seasons, it was mostly attributed to a good defense. And 2011 was an outlier of a season in general, not just offensively. 

I just can't understand Vegas dropping them from 12/1 odds to 50/1 odds. A few of the teams that have the same or better than 50-1 odds are: scUM(REALLY?!?); Ole Miss; Florida; Wisconsin; Sparty; Baylor; USC; LSU; South Carolina.  Those are all between 23/1 to 50/1. I feel like going from 12/1 to 20/1 or 25/1 would seem more appropriate, but I guess that's why they are the odds makers. I was in Vegas in May and put $100 on them at those 12/1 odds.. Sure would have been nice to get 50/1 odds!

NitroBuck's picture

The one saving grace in all of this is that unlike the situations in 1978, 2008 and 2011, J T Barrett has a year in the system as a Redshirt Freshman.  In all of those other cases, the QB was a true Fr who only had a few short months in the program.  For all practical purposes, Barrett is much more like a Sophomore with no game experience.  He should at least know most of the plays and reads, as opposed to the others who struggled to deal with a dumbed down system.  JT could surprise a lot of people.  Of course he could also fold in the heat of battle.  Time will tell.

Ferio.  Tego.

+2 HS
CGroverL's picture

I don't see this upcoming season being all that bad. In Fickell's 2011 season, his job and mission was to stop the bleeding and to rid the school of constant ESPN comments that would turn into "breaking news" on their program. Also, the 2011 team really had no WR help for Miller in the seven loss season. I'm sure the leading Buckeye offense will have much more than just a leading receiver with only 14 catches. On top of that, the leading rusher to start the season was supposed to be Jordan Hall with Carlos Hyde being the #2 RB (do you all see now why he was so pissed during the 2011 season?). In 2011, the Buckeyes faced 5 ranked teams and besides their 24-6 loss @ Miami, their other 6 losses were by 7 points or less.

I think the 2014 Buckeyes, even with Barrett or Jones are capable of putting more points on the board, and IF the LB/secondary problems are fixed, Ohio State will be fine and still be in the fight for the East Title and the trip to Indy. It may be a stretch, but we all saw what happened with Guiton at QB in 2013 plus you have to remember that the 2007 Buckeyes went to the National Title game after beating Michigan and a handful of teams losing in their last game...and that 2007 team had Beckman at QB, who ended up losing his spot as a SIXTH year senior to a true freshman in 2008. The situation is not as bad as the situations have been before...especially if the defense returns and if you noticed, during the spring game this season, all deep routes were blanketed by the secondary. Things could be much worse and Barrett and Jones both are more athletic than everyone says. The reason for that is simple...they aren't as good with their feet as Miller...neither was two time National Title winner, Tim Tebow who got the majority of his passing yards by throwing 5 yard passes that turned into 40 yard plays. This Ohio State team may be a team that lost 45% of their offense, but that is much better than TTUN was doing with Robinson at QB.

This was the one year when the least should have been expected of Miller. Barrett and Jones should be "good enough" to keep the offense explosive as they have more talent when it comes to playmakers at WR and TE than Miller ever had...and Miller was able to be the Big Ten's offensive player of the year twice with what was always referred to as "a below average" passing ability.

"I hope they're last in everything". One of Meyer's comments when speaking of TTUN after being hired at Ohio State.



-1 HS
BoFuquel's picture

JT hasn't play a real game in almost 2 years. Hope he's healed and isn't being rushed into action. GO BUCKS!

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

northcampus's picture

History will repeat itself in 2014:

1.  I will eat Buckeye Donuts before noon games.

2.  I will cuss out Qdoba while walking down High Street after games because LaBamba's is gone.

3.  OSU fans will have a lot of great times while watching a great team coached by a living legend every autumn Saturday.

+2 HS
Jpfbuck's picture

my big concern even before Braxton's health became a concern was how much "untested" or "unproven" talent we were going to be relying on, now add in his loss and it's just another notch

OLine - essentially 70% of the O-line is unproven and largely untested in real heat of battle conditions

the QB has never taken a snap in a real game and the back up is untested

RB's have some experience, but other than running wild in back up roles against terrible teams last year, none has been even close to being the #2 man and the presumptive starter EZE has missed nearly 2 weeks of camp due to an injury

WR - Smith was solid to good but not great, Spencer has been decent but still unproven to my mind, Wilson showed flashes but was hit and miss and every one else is untested

TE -we seem solid except the returning starter is coming off a foot injury as is not yet 100%

Kicker is a battle between an 2 untested players ie a walk on and true freshman

DL is very strong but our best pure pass rusher is out suspended for 2 weeks and the guy thought to be his back up left the team and under a new coach and scheme

LB, one solid player returning 1 mediocre player returning and everyone else is untested and unproven in real games and new scheme

DB, 3 new starters 4 if you count Nickel back, all of them largely unproven with maybe Bell the exception.

Punter very good

that is a lot of unknowns, spring games mean little, did the pass D look good that day because it was so improved or because Barrett and Jones suck? or dont forget most of the starting DL didnt even play in that game and both units looked mediocre to poor all day both running and passing...was that great D or bad O or some combination???

so many question marks...my thought was that Miller would come back, play even better than before, we would improve on D and be in contention for a Conference and National title again, as i thought Miller's abilities would help us overcome any early deficiencies.

now he is gone and i dont feel so confident that Barrett will be able to overcome those potential "unknown" "unforeseen" deficiencies.

I hope for the best, but unless Barrett is the 2nd coming on Jamies, i think  a couple losses are likely

sure hoping i am wrong 

+1 HS
HYDEYOKIDS's picture

^ this. Nothing is really a known commodity other than our D line. While I'm sure some of these units will shine it is a lot to ask that all of them become championship caliber going into the season. There were going to be growing pains with Miller, without him who knows. While we all have high hopes I think it's important to note that we really don't know how good the team will be apart from the D line. We simply haven't seen it yet. 

DC-town's picture

Great article, I think it's bringing everyone back to earth a bit.  

This Connor cook, Craig krenzil talk or anything referencing freshmen qb's winning seems to forget the o-line, running game and defense these teams were playing with.

its pretty reasonable to assume we'll have some growing pain son the o-line and defense...might not go undefeated but every game (aside from kent) has the potential to be a nail biter.

its going to be a fun season to watch, so have your team's back and roll with it

'Piss excellence' -RB

+1 HS
DC-town's picture

No one needs to be hoping J.T. Barrett is the second coming of Jameis...

'Piss excellence' -RB

+1 HS
BAR43's picture

I think we have to realistic here, and not under play the significance that JT has not played a down of football in 2 years, and has yet to play a collegiate game. I am not trying to be negative by any means, but I think it is a bit unfair of us to expect anything better than a 2 loss team. We lost 90% of our offensive production and 4 of 5 starting OL.

That is a huge obstacle to overcome. Can we do it?! Of course, but it is not to be expected. I believe it is always the next man up and we have the depth to do it, but coming back to reality I would rather expect 2-3 loses and see them exceed those expectation, rather than expect NC and be pissed when they don't obtain, a very lofty goal.

I am a big JT fan and very exited what he will bring this year, but it is very difficult to expect more or less a freshman to come in and fill the shoes he needs to wear. I know I know... people will compare Manziel and Winston, but JT is not either one of those guys... he isn't a douche like Manziel and I assume he knows how to pay for crab legs unlike Winston. I just want JT to come into his own and be given a fair shot at succeeding without unrealistic expectations and judgment.

IH8UOFM's picture

Sorry, with my scarlet-colored glasses on I couldn't see anything in the article about losing a game. 

+1 HS
BucksHave7's picture

He forget to mention that JT Barrett has played in 2 Spring games and been involved with the program a full season.  Plus I dont like that he showed a TP picture and brought up PSU (ranked #3) in 2008 for that game.

Is he saying this team wont score touchdowns?   


JBuckeye's picture

I lost focus and quit reading the article half way through because it just wasn't very well written or making much sense toward a good narrative. I believe this is because you were really stretching trying to compare 40 years ago, or even 3 years ago to this season. Totally different dynamics abound. While it's good to remember history, it has about as much correlation with what will happen in the upcoming season as Desmond Howard and his preseason polls. 

+2 HS
Vinsaniti's picture

4th time is the charm with JT4

dwcbuckeye's picture

Yikes.  Definitely gives me pause - which might be a good thing to lower expectations a bit and hopefully be very impressed.  After reading this I went to Dispatch and read a column by Rob Oller.  In an article was this quote:

Speaking on ESPN radio yesterday, analyst Danny Kanell said of his visit to an Ohio State practice last week, before Miller had resumed participating: “It was one of the worst practices I’ve ever seen, as far as QB play.”

BHT's picture

I do not think that this season will be remotely close to 2011. We have a lot more weapons, and a lot more people who know what is going on. Games will be closer, and some of the games might be losses (PSU,MSU) but I think Barrett can step in and be the quarterback we need. Who knows, with all the RS Freshmen wining the Heisman, it could be JT's turn this fall.

BuckeyeDevil's picture

Reality probably falls somewhere between absolute disaster and an undefeated season. Rebuilt offensive line, green quarterback, uncertainty at linebackers, and a secondary that returns 2 starters from a unit that was torched last year. That seems like a lot to compensate for even with great coaching and talent. The secret to satisfaction is lowering expectations sometimes. This is going to be my approach so I am looking for 8 wins.

The Rill Dill's picture

EIGHT wins???  That fiasco the Fickell was in charge of, managed SIX wins.  Damn.  

Knarcisi's picture

Sorry, but I never expect an offensive performance like 2008 Penn St again. 

The Rill Dill's picture

The biggest thing that I took from reading the article, is that Urban F. Meyer---wasn't the coach of any of those teams!!

+1 HS
blu.fan's picture

Fascinating article. It has always been my contention that you are looking for trouble any time you are starting a Freshman QB, especially a true Freshman. The problem is the time it takes to master the playbook. It takes repetition, and time to work out the kinks, both in practice and in game situations. When a QB has a couple years of seasoning, hopefully as an early entry, then a redshirt and then a full year playing only in mop up duty, they have learned the playbook and have the timing down cold. You'll just have to see how Barrett does. Sometimes early season success can be particularly cruel and deceiving. A Freshman QB can think they have things down, only to be destroyed by a crafty DC and seasoned secondary.

There is one set of circumstances where Freshmen QB's have more success. It involves a highly skilled, motivated and gifted QB, surrounded by veterans at every position. When that happens, they can make things work. The fact that OSU is breaking in many new guys at OL gives me pause. OSU has a tremendous defense, but I don't know if they will be completely able to carry the team. I don't know, but I think you really now are one year away from significant success.

One last thing:  someone here who is more of a stats wizard should find the NCAA stats on Freshman QB's in a starting role. I believe that will corroborate my position (Freshman QB's are trouble) and give you a picture of what OSU might expect this year. (EDIT:  yes, you would need to separate true Freshmen from redshirted Freshmen.)

BuckeyeFreak4844's picture

But i believe you would have to break that stat into Freshman QBs vs Red Shirt Freshman QBs where the latter has a whole year of learning the offense and so on....

Michigan Sucks!