One of the top headlines heading into the 2015 college football season is the quarterback competition at Ohio State.
The choice the Buckeyes make at quarterback could have a large impact on the College Football Playoff, and the season as a whole, not just for Ohio State, but for other teams as well.
In case you missed how we got to this point, here’s a quick recap.
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Prior to the 2014 season, Braxton Miller was slated to be the quarterback for the Ohio State Buckeyes, but after re-injuring his right shoulder Miller would miss the season.
This led to a competition between J.T. Barrett and Cardale Jones to see who would assume the starting job. Barrett would win out, and go 11-1 in his 12 games starting for the Buckeyes, before himself sustaining an injury, a fractured ankle, against Michigan.
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Down to their last viable option, Ohio State would now start Cardale Jones, who would go on the win the Big Ten Championship Game, the College Football Playoff Semifinal, and the National Championship Game, so now the quarterback competition ensues.
It’s very easy to make a case for each of the three quarterbacks to start, and that is just what I will do. Individuals can come to their own conclusions about who should start, be backup, and who should go third-string.
First the case for Cardale Jones.
He is a 6’5”, 250 pound quarterback, with a big arm, and championship experience. While Jones is the least experienced of the three players, he is technically the only one that can claim to have won a national championship game.
In his three games, Jones threw for 742 yards on 46/75 passing (61.3%) with five touchdowns and two interceptions. On the ground he took 46 attempts for 90 yards, and one touchdown. This shows that Cardale’s strength is in his arm, identifying why he is an NFL prospect with such little film on him.
J.T. Barrett played 12 games last year with an 11-1 record, carrying Ohio State to the inaugural College Football Playoff.
Barrett’s strengths include his ability to run the ball effectively, his efficiency as a passer, and a good arm to be efficient with.
Barrett threw for 2834 yards on 203/314 passing (64.6%), with 34 touchdowns and ten interceptions. He is a very proficient runner, 938 yards and 11 touchdowns on 171 attempts.
J.T. brings a more effective dual-threat tool to the Ohio State offense than does Cardale Jones, but Jones brings a more developed arm.
Braxton Miller has started 36 games in his career at Ohio State, and his strengths include the experience edge, his running ability (especially in terms of speed/agility) and his perceived development with Urban Meyer.
Miller did not play last season, but in his 36 games as a Buckeye, Miller has thrown for 5,292 yards on 395/666 (59.3%) passing, with 52 touchdowns and 17 interceptions.
On the ground he has run for 3,054 yards on 557 attempts, with 32 touchdowns. The main knock on Miller throughout his career has been his decision making, which can be seen in part in his passing percentage.
Based on all of these stats, and which quarterbacks have which strengths, I would go with J.T. Barrett as my starter, with Cardale Jones as my backup, and Miller as either my third-string, or more likely trying to fit him in at a different position.
One other reason I would go with this setup is the fact that Miller is the only senior in the group, so playing him is taking time away from younger players of equal or higher talent that could be developing and getting better for future seasons.