Saturday, November 29, 2014

Ohio State wins, but...

The Buckeyes won today in Columbus, 42-21.

The defense looked good in the second half, for the most part, although our penchant for giving up the big play was seen again.

The offense played well through much of the game, although it sputtered throughout most of the second quarter. Worse, quarterback J.T. Barrett, the surprise linchpin of the offense, was injured. I feel very badly for this young man, who has been mentioned in connection with the Heisman Trophy, amazing considering that just twelve days before the season began, when Buckeye starter Braxton Miller, who had already figured in Heisman talk, re-injured his shoulder. I pray that Barrett will be feeling better soon and that Miller's recovery and rehabilitation will continue strong.

The Buckeyes will face either Minnesota or Wisconsin in next week's Big Ten championship game. The Bucks already beat Minnesota in a tough away game a few weeks ago. As I write this, the Gophers, called by most experts the underdogs, are up on the Badgers, 17-0.

Either opponent will be tough as it's likely that third-string quarterback Cardale Jones will get the start. He has few real-game snaps this season. (I would expect to see the Buckeyes try the Wildcat formation with greater frequency next week, taking advantage of phenom Jalin Marshall's experience as a high school QB.

Should Ohio State win next week's game and teams ahead of them in the rankings lose, the College Football Playoff committee would have to decide whether, without Barrett, the Buckeyes are a championship-contending caliber team.

There already were questions about the Buckeyes being worthy of the top four spots nationally. Today's game and what happens next week may either answer them...or muddy the waters.

[UPDATES, 11/29/2014: J.T. Barrett's injury, as reported by Dom Tiberi of WBNS 10TV, was a broken ankle. He will undergo surgery tomorrow. Wisconsin beat Minnesota. The Badgers will be the Buckeyes' opponents next Saturday in the Big 10 championship game.]

[ANOTHER UPDATE, 11/29/2014: Here's a link to head coach Urban Meyer's post-game press conference.]

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