Braxton Miller Injury: Looking At Top Big Ten Contenders With Ohio State QB Out
With Braxton Miller Out, Who Wins The Big Ten?
2014 College Football
The Line: See the Latest Odds
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is out for the season after reinjuring his shoulder in practice. The Buckeyes were the overwhelming favorites to win the Big Ten this season and now this injury opens up the floodgates for many other teams to make a run at the conference title. Having a possible Heisman winning quarterback in Miller and an inexperienced quarterback in J.T. Barrett, makes the world of difference and will make things quite interesting for Ohio State.
With the news out, here are the new favorites to win the Big Ten in 2014.
USA TODAY Sports
Michigan State Spartans - The Michigan State Spartans were never that far behind the Ohio State Buckeyes in the season projections. In fact, it wouldn’t have been crazy to even pick the Spartans to win the Big Ten before this news broke. Michigan State will once again have one of the better defenses in the country with a deep defensive line and an experienced secondary that attacks the football. The Spartans should also have an improved offense with Connor Cook returning at quarterback and a 1,000-yard rusher in Jeremy Langford. The Michigan State Spartans are a lot like an SEC team due to their physicality and they’ll have no problem beating much of this conference into a submission with ease.
Ohio State Buckeyes - The Ohio State Buckeyes take a major step backwards with the injury to Miller, but let’s not act like this team is completely done. The Buckeyes return seven starters on the defensive side of the ball, a unit that just started to tap into its potential late last season. If Ohio State continues to make strides defensively, this is a team that will give itself a shot to win every game on the schedule. While J.T. Barrett has no experience, the Buckeyes do have a talented receiving corps in Corey Brown, Devin Smith and tight end Jeff Heuerman. All Barrett needs to do is manage the game and allow his playmakers to make plays. With or without Miller, the Ohio State Buckeyes are an extremely talented team and have the best head coach in the conference in Urban Meyer. Don’t count OSU out just yet.
Wisconsin Badgers - Even with just nine starters returning, which are the fewest in the Big Ten, the Wisconsin Badgers still have their identity intact. Running back Melvin Gordon will continue to be Wisconsin’s workhorse and is more than capable of pretty much winning games by himself once he gets going. And being productive shouldn’t be a problem considering the Badgers return four of their five starters along the offensive line. The Wisconsin Badgers always have one of the top rushing attacks in the Big Ten and that will be no different this season. Yes, Wisconsin will have issues defensively considering eight starters must be replaced, however, it’s not like the Big Ten is loaded with great offenses to worry about, especially with no Braxton Miller. Wisconsin will once again be a major threat.