Columbus, OH and Ohio State Buckeye fans around the world were shocked and found to be heartbroken following their teams disappointing loss in the Big Ten championship game. The triumph for coach Mark Dantonio and his Michigan State Spartans translated into the loss of a Big Ten title for Buckeyes coach Urban Meyer, but the loss of the Big Ten title was only a scratch on the surface of what it may mean for the Buckeye program.
Of course, a loss of a conference title eliminates the Buckeyes from a seat at the table for a national championship. The Buckeyes also lost a chance at an unprecedented, undefeated season for the second year in a row. Unfortunately, the Buckeyes may also now be departing with the core of their team in many skill positions heading into the 2014 football season.
The Buckeyes must do the impossible and shake off all of the dissatisfaction and frustration remaining in their psyche and play one final game this season. The Buckeyes cannot allow lingering effects of the loss to leave a second blemish on their coach’s record. It is time for the Buckeyes to buck up and buckle down in preparation for their bowl matchup against the Clemson Tigers.
This Orange Bowl matchup can provide the Buckeyes with the opportunity to show that their loss last week was either a fluke, or perhaps that the Michigan State Spartans are actually better than advertised. To do so, the Buckeyes need to come out and handily defeat their ACC opponent.
This game will feature two very dynamic quarterbacks, and the gunslinger with the best game will most likely lead his team to victory in Miami. Tajh Boyd of the Tigers had a red hot start to his 2013 football season, but he and his team faltered at various points. These hiccups resulted in a season that others might consider very productive, but standards and goals were a letdown.
The quarterback on the opposite sideline from Boyd will be Buckeye signal caller Braxton Miller. Miller did not have the fiery start to his campaign this year, as he suffered a knee injury early. In fact, Miller missed time and in his absence, his backup Kenny Guiton performed much better than expected, proving the depth that the Buckeyes have at quarterback.
When comparing the two quarterbacks, a slight edge goes in favor of Miller simply because of his explosiveness. Another thing that Miller has in his favor is that bit of unknown about his abilities as a passer. Miller can be an extremely efficient passing quarterback, he has just simply not been called upon to do so that often this season.
With time to prepare for this Orange Bowl matchup, Meyer has most likely found time to tutor his quarterback and fans might be surprisingly impressed with his passing skills in the bowl game. Miller will want to show off his arm to NFL scouts and a bowl game allows a perfect opportunity for coaches to groom a quarterback. Because of the lengthened game planning and preparation time, expect to see Miller throw from within the confines of his pocket during this game.
That said, it is a certainty that the Buckeyes will also be extremely assertive in their attempt to establish tailback Carlos Hyde as the dominant runner he is in the Orange Bowl. Also, along with Hyde’s rushing attack, the Buckeyes will continue to use Miller as a runner. This game could be a game that reminds Heisman voters why they considered Miller for the Heisman in the preseason.