Shocking college football news came earlier this week as reports surfaced that Ohio State quarterback and Heisman contender Braxton Miller would miss the entire 2014 season after reinjuring his shoulder in a Monday practice.
The Buckeyes were supposed to be Big Ten favorites this season, but losing their signal caller and leader certainly changes things.
Despite Michigan State ending the Buckeyes’ national title hopes last season in the Big Ten Championship en route to a Rose Bowl victory, while Ohio State lost to Clemson in the Orange Bowl, the Spartans were considered underdogs in the conference this season behind Urban Meyer’s scarlet and gray squad.
After last season, Ohio State lost four starting offensive lineman, their top running back and receiver, as well as some key players on defense. Analysts were able to look past all that for one reason: only the second, along with Drew Brees, two-time Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year.
Now the pressing question for Spartan fans in the wake of this major news is what does this mean for Michigan State?
The most obvious answer would be that Michigan State now has become the biggest target in the conference. Even Ohio State alumni Kirk Herbstreit declared Michigan State the clear-cut Big Ten favorites.
A less obvious consequence from the fallout of Miller’s injury is that the No. 8 Spartans’ second week game at No. 3 Oregon is even more important than before.
With 2014 being the first year of the College Football Playoff, teams are looking to secure impressive victories to boost their resume for the selection committee.
It has been speculated that if the Spartans were competitive in Eugene, Ore. and lost, but ran the table in the Big Ten while defeating Ohio State in the process, the Spartans would still be in good shape for the Playoff race.
However, now that Miller will not be suiting up, a potential win over the Buckeyes could look less impressive, making the Sept. 6 matchup against Oregon the Spartans’ best chance at a marquee win.
Dan Tyler is the host of Spartan Red Zone for Impact Sports.
Photo: David Defever/Impact Sports