Thursday, December 13, 2012

MILLER, OSU FRONTRUNNERS IN 2013

TBT/Darla Dunkle-Hudnell
Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller is already considered a front runner for the 2013 Heisman Trophy.

In fact, according to CBS Sports blogger and Heisman voter Chris Huston, Miller — and not Heisman incumbent Johnny Manziel of Texas A&M — is the favorite to take home the bronze stiff armer as of now.

"This year’s fifth-place finisher (Miller) in the Heisman vote is the front runner for 2013," Huston stated on his blog at HeismanPundit.com. "He plays for a traditional power coming off an undefeated season and he should explode for big numbers in his second year in Urban Meyer’s offense."

Miller, who set a school-record for total offense as a sophomore with 3,310 yards, looks to become even more of a weapon after a second full offseason with head coach Urban Meyer and offensive coordinator/QB coach Tom Herman.

Miller grew tremendously as a passer in 2012, completing nearly 60-percent of his throws for 2,039 yards and 15 touchdowns, with just six interceptions. He also tallied 1,271 yards rushing (105.9 per game) and another 13 scores, leading the Buckeyes to a 12-0 campaign.

The scary thing about it is, Coach Herman recently referred to Miller's season as "underachieving." That statement should terrify every opposing coach in the country.

Las Vegas sports books currently have Miller second in odds to win the Heisman at 4/1, just behind Manziel at 3/1.

However, Huston disagrees with Vegas, stating that he doesn't believe there will ever be another two-time winner — basically saying the haters just won't allow it.

"The smart money says there will never be another two-time Heisman winner." Huston wrote. "Think of some of the amazing players who had a chance to pull it off but couldn't: Doc Blanchard of Army, Doak Walker of SMU, Roger Staubach of Navy, Billy Sims of Oklahoma, Ty Detmer of BYU, Matt Leinart of USC and Tim Tebow of Florida. 

"The failure of these players to win that second trophy raised the bar for future players attempting a double. After all, the next player to match Griffin's feat will have to be put on the short list of all-time college football legends, right? The Heisman electorate went against normal convention and selected a freshman this time around. Casually doling out two Heismans is another story.

"There are more common sense reasons why there will never be another two-time winner," Huston continues. "Face it: In today's America, success makes you a target. The sooner you rise to the top, the sooner they try to tear you down. How soon before the anti-Johnny Football backlash begins? 

"In 2012, Manziel put up 4,600 yards of total offense and 43 touchdowns while leading Texas A&M to its best record since 1998. A sophomore year that falls shy of those numbers, both individually and at the team level, will be seen as a failure."

Miller has history on his side, as well.

First, Meyer has put his second season with a quarterback to good use. In his second year at Utah, Meyer's quarterback Alex Smith was a finalist for the Heisman, garnering an invite to New York for the event. While at Florida in 2007, Meyer coached second-year signal caller Tim Tebow to a Heisman victory.

Also, the last time an Ohio State sophomore finished fifth in the Heisman voting — as Miller did in 2012 — was running back Archie Griffin in 1973.

He went on to win the coveted trophy in 1974 and 1975.

Things can change by next December, but as of now, the 2013 season looks mighty promising for the dynamic Miller.

ATHLON SEES BUCKEYES AS CONTENDER IN 2013 ... Athlon Sports just released their "Very Early College Football Top 25 for 2013" and the Buckeyes are ranked second overall behind Alabama.

"Despite a postseason ban hanging over the Buckeyes in 2012, Urban Meyer’s team never had an issue with motivation and completed a perfect 12-0 season," the Magazine stated. "The stakes are higher for Ohio State in 2013, as the Buckeyes will be one of the frontrunners to win the national title. Quarterback Braxton Miller is back to make a run at the Heisman, and the playmakers around him should be better with another offseason to work in Meyer’s spread attack. 

"The defense will be a concern next year, especially with the departure of end John Simon. Tackle Johnathan Hankins decided to enter the NFL Draft, and cornerback Bradley Roby may depart early as well. Despite the losses on defense, linebacker Ryan Shazier and a talented group of young linemen is a good core for co-coordinators Luke Fickell and Everett Withers to build around. 

SIMON TO PLAY IN ALL-STAR GAME ... Ohio State senior defensive end John Simon has accepted an invitation to play in the 2013 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala. on Jan. 26.

Simon, the Big Ten Conference's defensive player of the year, will be playing linebacker in the game, a position that many NFL draft experts are projecting him to play at the next level.