1. How would you compare this year's Ohio State team to last year's national championship team? They're ranked No. 1 in the nation right now, but do you think they are the best team in college football at this point in time?
JEFF SVOBODA: It would be hard to say the Buckeyes are the best team in college football at this point in time, but it would be hard to say anyone is the best team in college football at this time. Even teams like Michigan State and TCU haven't always looked great, and they're the ones chasing the Buckeyes right now, so I think it's certainly still fair to have the Buckeyes at No. 1. Comparing this years Buckeyes to last year's national title team could have multiple answers. As far as at this point in the season, I think the two teams are fairly comparable in that each showed some great talent but still needed to fix some things; in fact, considering they were 3-1 after four games last year, you can say this team is further along. Now, if you're asking me to compare the Buckeyes right now to the machine that chewed up and spit out Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon, they're not at that level right now -- and don't need to be yet. The defense has been fantastic so far, which is an improvement on last year, and the offense has a few issues (finding consistency out of the QBs, wideouts other than Mike Thomas and offensive line has been elusive so far) but certainly there's enough talent that the Buckeyes have room to grow into being as good as they were in January of last season.
2. What's your take on the quarterback situation? Is it the right call to go with Cardale Jones in the long term, or do you see J.T. Barrett taking the job back by season's end?
SVOBODA: I've made no bones about the fact I love what Cardale Jones brings to the table; simply put, there aren't many quarterbacks in college football history with his blend of size and arm strength. Plus, he's pretty fun to cover, too, and has an engaging personality where Barrett is slightly more reserved. Anyway, I think for right now, Jones is the right choice. He has more physical skill than Barrett, and any inconsistencies he's had have been exacerbated by the team's uneven play out wide and along the line (and in play calling, though that's it's own issue, with OSU breaking in a new coordinator). And frankly, the team has twice turned to Barrett this year to spell Jones when the offense wasn't moving, and each time Barrett hasn't seized the job. Whether it's because he's pressing or some other reason we don't know, Barrett hasn't looked on the field like the guy who set a Big Ten record with 45 combined rushing and passing TDs last year, and Urban Meyer has said multiple times Barrett simply hasn't beaten out Jones for the job. Jones has taken a lot of guff from fans for simply not being Barrett, but the reality is he's never lost as a starter and brings a field-stretching and play-making dimension Barrett simply doesn't quite have.
3. Your choice between Tevin Coleman, Jordan Howard and Ezekiel Elliott as your RB for one season ... who you taking?
SVOBODA: Now that's a good question. I'll admit I haven't seen Howard run a ton but it's hard for me to pick against Ezekiel Elliott just because he's such a good combination of speed and power. I love Coleman -- what he did in Ohio Stadium last year was outstanding -- but Elliott is a bit more of a power runner, which I think is a pretty nice thing to have if you're gonna run a power spread offense (which is my favorite style of offense). Elliott can also take it to the house, as he had a nice run of breakaway runs from the Indiana game last year until the Virginia Tech games, so it's not like you're totally losing that aspect taking him over Coleman as well. So I'd take Elliott, though there's no bad choice in the group.
4. Indiana played the Buckeyes tough in Columbus last year without Nate Sudfeld. Do you see that as a fluke situation or do you expect Saturday's game to be competitive as well?
SVOBODA: Indiana seems to have played the Buckeyes well since Urban Meyer came in, including that 2012 game in Bloomington when IU nearly staged a furious comeback and lost 52-49 against the team that would go undefeated. I don't think it's necessarily a fluke -- I really respect Kevin Wilson as an offensive mind and he's seemed to put together some pretty smart attacks against the Buckeyes the past few years. Plus there's a ton of Ohio kids on the IU roster and I know they love playing against the Buckeyes. As for Saturday's game, I'm not sure on this one. I don't think that anyone would argue Ohio State has more talent, but the Buckeyes still have some issues on offense that need sorted out and some flaws that can be exploited. On the other hand, Indiana is 4-0 and this appears to be a big game in Bloomington, but the Hoosiers haven't played the stiffest competition, either. So I do expect it to be somewhat competitive but I also expect the Buckeyes to win.
5. Name a player or two that Indiana fans should keep an eye on from the Ohio State defense. Who do you expect to make the majority of the big plays on Saturday?
SVOBODA: Everyone knows Joey Bosa, but two names to keep in mind are Darron Lee and Sam Hubbard. Lee is a starting linebacker for OSU and is the straw the stirs the drink for the Buckeye defense. He fills up the stat sheet with tackles for loss, sacks and turnovers, including a huge pick-six against Northern Illinois earlier this year in which he read a fast-developing screen pass and picked it off. Lee was a quarterback in high school so he's smart and has an offensive mind-set, but he's bulked up to 235 pounds and is a physical specimen who is very tough to block on blitzes and in the open field. As for Hubbard, he's a redshirt freshman defensive end but was a five-star prospect coming out of high school. He just seems to be a football player and has a knack for big plays as well, and he's a very fast 265-pounder coming off the edge when he's inserted along the defensive line.