Save Money in this Sunday's paper

College Football

comments

Joe Giglio: Too much made of Braxton Miller’s injury

By Joe Giglio
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/22/21/07/QCyRw.Em.138.jpeg|472
    Jay LaPrete - AP
    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller watches from the sidelines as Ohio plays against Florida A&M during the first quarter of an NCAA college football game in Columbus, Ohio on Sept. 21, 2013.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/08/22/21/07/7IA01.Em.138.jpeg|232
    Michael Conroy - AP
    Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller throws a pass against Michigan State during the Big Ten Conference championship NCAA college football game on Dec. 7, 2013 in Indianapolis. Despite missing nearly three full games with a sprained knee last season, he passed for 2,094 yards and 24 touchdowns, and ran for 1,068 yards and 12 scores.

More Information

  • Who’s next?

    Braxton Miller’s shoulder injury makes No. 5 Ohio State the obvious candidate to follow in a dubious recent trend of teams ranked in the top 10 in the preseason but finished the season completely out of the rankings:

    2013: Georgia (preseason No. 5, finished 8-5), Florida (No. 10, finished 4-8)

    2012: USC (No. 1, finished 7-6), Arkansas (No. 10, finished 4-8)

    2011: Texas A&M (No. 8, finished 7-6)

    2010: Texas (No. 5, finished 5-7), Iowa (No. 9, finished 8-5)


  • College Football Playoffs

    The wait is over. Division I finally gets a four-team playoff to determine a national champion.

    How it works: The 13-member selection committee ranks the top 25 teams each week, beginning Oct. 28. They ultimately will pick the four teams which advance to the playoff and assign them to the Sugar Bowl or Rose Bowl. The No. 1 team will play No. 4 at one site; No. 2 will play No. 3 at the other.

    Who goes where: The selection committee will determine that by trying to reward the No. 1 and No. 2 seeds by having them play closer to home. For instance, a No. 1-ranked ACC or SEC team is more likely to play in the Sugar Bowl.

    Semifinals: Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl semifinals are Jan. 1.

    National championship: Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl winners meet Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas.



Cancel the season, Ohio State’s quarterback is hurt.

In case you missed the news of the earth-shattering variety earlier this week, star Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller suffered a shoulder injury and will miss the season.

It’s August and we’re all hungry for football, and we all tend to overreact to any piece of injury news in the absence of real games to digest. But the overreaction, especially by the national media, to the news about Miller has been off the charts, even by August standards.

Look, Miller’s injury is not good for the No. 5 Buckeyes or their national title hopes (Thank you, Captain Obvious). Miller, twice the Big Ten offensive player of the year, ran for 1,068 yards and threw for 24 touchdowns last season and led Urban Meyer’s team to 24 consecutive wins from 2012 until the Big Ten championship game last December.

But let’s not get carried away with the significance of Miller’s injury. The Buckeyes could still easily go unbeaten against a schedule that can kindly be classified as garbage-on-a-stick. (Save the bandwidth and refrain from e-mailing, Virginia Tech fans.)

Heck, if redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett is half as good as some of Meyer’s other quarterbacks (Alex Smith, Tim Tebow, Cam Newton anyone?) then the Buckeyes can use said super-soft schedule to get ready, and likely be undefeated, for a Nov. 8 showdown with Michigan State.

Ah, Michigan State. Talk about a team that has been summarily dismissed. The Spartans, not Meyer’s more celebrated squad, won the Big Ten title last (knocking off Ohio State 34-24 in the process). The Spartans – who return their quarterback, their top rusher and one of the best defensive lines in the country – won the Rose Bowl and finished with 13 wins.

So did the Big Ten’s best chance at putting a team (one of four) in the College Football Playoff really go by the wayside with Miller’s injury?

No. The Big Ten’s best national hopes still are, and always were, contingent upon what the Spartans do on a Sept. 6 trip to Oregon.

No one can exactly predict how the 13-person selection committee will choose the four teams for college football’s first playoff. What we do know is there are five major conferences and only four slots. So the math says someone is not going to be happy.

For the ACC, getting left without a seat when the music stops seems like a remote possibility. No. 1 Florida State has significantly upgraded its schedule – Wake Forest was even kind enough to bow out of a date with Notre Dame to let the Seminoles and Irish reprise one of the best games in college football history – but the odds are against FSU losing one of its first 13 games.

The Big 12 has a fairly clear path to produce an unbeaten champion, likely the Baylor-Oklahoma winner on Nov. 8, and grab one of the four playoff spots.

There is no scenario I can imagine (Nick Saban retires at midseason? Gus Malzahn punts on every third down? The plague?) where the SEC champion – Alabama? LSU? Auburn? Georgia? – gets left out.

That leaves the Big Ten winner or the Pac-12 winner potentially scrambling. Hence the real value of the Michigan State-Oregon game. The Pac-12, which arguably has more depth than the SEC this year, might just knock itself out of contention because it has too many good teams.

But that will be for the committee to decide in December. Ohio State’s season changed with Miller’s injury but there’s still plenty at stake for the Buckeyes and the rest of the Big Ten.

On second thought, let’s just play the games and cancel the Twitter hysteria instead.

Giglio: 919-829-8938
Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more



Hide Comments

This affects comments on all stories.

Cancel OK

The Charlotte Observer welcomes your comments on news of the day. The more voices engaged in conversation, the better for us all, but do keep it civil. Please refrain from profanity, obscenity, spam, name-calling or attacking others for their views.

Have a news tip? You can send it to a local news editor; email local@charlotteobserver.com to send us your tip - or - consider joining the Public Insight Network and become a source for The Charlotte Observer.

  Read more


Quick Job Search
Salary Databases
CharlotteObserver.com