The Columbus Dispatch’s Tim May reported Monday night that Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller has re-injured his throwing shoulder, which originally sidelined him in the Buckeyes’ loss to Clemson in the Orange Bowl earlier this year. Miller’s season appears to be in jeopardy, and head coach Urban Meyer is going to have to find a quick replacement for the pre-season Heisman Trophy hopeful. This means a door is wide open for the Michigan Wolverines to pounce on the Big Ten‘s East Division and make a run at a Big Ten title.
Early reports are indicating this is going to be a lengthy recovery for Miller. A common proposal making its way around is to redshirt Miller for the 2014 season, which would give him another year at Ohio State and a chance to develop himself for whatever future he may have in the NFL. No matter the specifics, it definitely looks like Miller is going to miss a good chunk of this season at the very least.
The next quarterback in line for the Buckeyes is redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett, who just recently overtook sophomore Cardale Jones for what was going to be the backup job. Neither player has any game experience, although Ohio State has found recent success at the backup position. There’s no telling what kind of play the Buckeyes will be getting at quarterback this season.
Ohio State certainly isn’t out of the race in the East Division, but the loss of Miller obviously puts a huge damper on the campaign. Michigan State was jockeying for the No. 1 position prior to the injury; the Spartans now have a strong upper hand. But this also means Michigan has a much better chance to compete for a conference championship, which has been the unfulfilled goal since Brady Hoke arrived in Ann Arbor prior to the 2011 season.
Michigan obviously has some questions to answer before stepping up to the challenge, but there is a wonderful opportunity here for this team to take advantage of circumstances and get something rolling in the right direction. Ohio State and Michigan both have to travel to East Lansing this season; the schedule outside of that may slightly favor the Buckeyes, but a tough Big Ten slate is going to challenge both teams.
For the sake of sport, it’s always unfortunate when a star player like Miller goes down like this, but for Michigan’s sake, this is a loss that possibly opens the door for a team that desperately needs to start competing in the Big Ten.