Five weeks ago, Ohio State head coach Urban Meyer maintained a steadfast belief that star quarterback Braxton Miller would be the team's starter next season.
For as well as a young and promising J.T. Barrett had been playing, he would need to take a backseat.
“Braxton is our quarterback,” Meyer said Sept. 30. “To be fair to Braxton — Big Ten Player of the Year. Good to know we've got both of them."
Yet after a 49-37 toppling of Michigan State in which Barrett combined for 386 yards and five touchdowns against the Spartans' vaunted defense, Meyer’s not so sure.
“I think they’re both excellent quarterbacks,” Meyer said. “We’ll worry about that day when it comes.”
It's a distinct shift in what's become an increasingly fluid situation.
It’s almost crazy, right? Who would’ve thought Barrett — a relatively unknown redshirt freshman — would find himself with a chance at unseating Miller after the Heisman hopeful and two-time Big Ten Player of the Year went down for the year with a shoulder injury.
"I don't use the term crazy," Meyer said. "I think fortunate" and blessed. Either one of them ... But once again, when you start saying that, J.T. Barrett is a product of those around him. I also say that when things aren't going as well. The quarterback, I've said that since Alex Smith and Tebow to their products, you put good guys around a good quarterback, teach them well, good chance good things are going to happen."
In his first year as a starter, Barrett is completing 64 percent of his passes for 2,156 yards and 26 touchdowns. And after the youngster guided the Buckeyes to perhaps their largest win of the Urban Meyer era, Barrett seems to seize more control of the team with each passing week.
But Ohio State still expects Miller back.
"Yes. Absolutely," offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Tom Herman said.
A potential quarterback controversy, he said, "is literally not in the back of my mind."
But "competition brings out the best," Meyer said.
And consider Barrett in the middle of a season-long job interview.