That's what we think, so with that in mind, we're asking 20 Questions when it comes to the Ohio State football team. Every day from now until the opening game week, we'll have our BSB writers answer one question about the Ohio State football team. Some will be serious, some will be funny, and none will be "Animal, vegetable or mineral?" But all should help you think about the upcoming season, hopefully in a different way than before.
Question 1: Who will start the Virginia Tech game at quarterback for the Buckeyes?
For the opener, we thought we'd go with the question that is on everyone's minds. As sportswriters, we've all been asked it a bunch of times by friends and acquiantances over the summer. Here's our answers as of Aug. 11.
Ryan Ginn: If you had asked me this question at any point this summer prior to today, I’d have a different answer for you. Cardale Jones has been my pick to win the starting job ever since I picked my jaw off the floor of the Ginn Academy gym when he announced he’d be staying for his junior season. There’s obviously something to be said for a guy with a knack for big plays, not to mention a player who knocked off Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon consecutively.
I’m going to go the other way on this one, though. I can’t fully explain why, but my gut has switched to thinking J.T. Barrett is going to get the call. His 2014 production speaks for itself, and he already beat out Jones for the starting job once. I don’t think the notion of owing Jones for coming back would ever enter Urban Meyer’s brain – especially in a season that could be historically great. Right now, my guess is Barrett is the guy with the best chance of piloting Ohio State to a perfect record.
Blake Williams: We’ll, I’ve certainly had time to think about this. The ink was hardly dry on Buckeye Sports Bulletin’s national championship issue before everyone in my life – friends, family and strangers who found out what I do for a living – began asking me who I thought would open the 2015 season under center. I’ve had a gut feeling for a while now that it would be Cardale Jones leading Ohio State out of the tunnel against Virginia Tech Sept. 7 and there has been little reason to change my mind.
J.T. Barrett is a heck of a quarterback and there are a plethora of legitimate arguments as to why he should get the nod. But Jones has just as many reasons backing him. That’s why it’s such a fun debate and it’s why it’s a question that leaves even the most educated individuals outside of the Buckeye locker room guessing. My reasoning for going with Jones comes down to his immense physical ability. I think Urban Meyer has a tendency to become infatuated with athletic gifts and Jones has those in spades. The coach’s comments at Big Ten Media Days about allowing his gut to factor in to the decision only reinforced my belief. On Sept. 7, No. 12 leads the Buckeyes.
Jeff Svoboda: The Buckeye coaches, led by Urban Meyer, have said repeatedly that they will leave no stone unturned when it comes to picking between Cardale Jones and J.T. Barrett. That means a lot of statistical analysis will go into the choice, and of course it will; it would be silly to start a guy whose camp performance was clearly inferior to the other. But Meyer left a little bit of an opening at Big Ten Media Days when he said a "gut feeling" would factor into the decision, and if it's my gut making the choice, I'm going with Jones.
Maybe that's just because I think Ohio State becomes an infinitely more entertaining and interesting team both on and off the field if Jones is the starter; the football fan in me wants to see him get a full season of starts (seriously, his potential is limitless) and the recorder-wielding journalist in me thinks it will be a lot of fun to cover, too. But I can't help think about how he helped the Buckeyes' offense run roughshod over Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon. If Jones can do that to the best teams in college football, what could he do with a whole season to work with? He's unlike just about anyone we've ever seen in college football, and his ability to make big plays happen is the kind of thing that has to have Meyer salivating. Add in the fact Barrett has more eligibility and I feel like Jones is the choice.