Big News! This season I’m going to be writing about the Big Ten for Full 10 Yards College and I’m very excited.
I like Big Ten Football in general. I have a huge sweet spot for Purdue, there are a number of up and coming programs right now which should be fun to watch, and the likes of Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State are always compelling teams to follow. There will be some really fun storylines to follow this year and I genuinely can’t wait to sit back on Saturday’s and watch them play out. There’s just one problem.
I have to write about Ohio State.
Sadly it is unavoidable. The dark spectre of a highly efficient offence with endless talent walking through the doors looms above me like a storm cloud on a Monday morning. I know it’s going to pour down on me, but I’m so deadened to the pain that I don’t really care whether I get wet.
I should care considerably more about the Buckeyes than I do. I support the Bengals, and therefore have a connection to the state in general, but I just find them boring. Especially now Justin Fields has walked out the door. He is the only thing that I have found interesting about the program bar the procession of draft picks to Cincinnati. I know Ryan Day runs an efficient offence, and that the amount of NFL talent on the roster is undeniable, but I just don’t care about them.
I know they are going to win the Big Ten forever now. I know Ryan Day will be courted by the NFL as one of the hottest offensive minds in the game. I know that their Quarterback is going to throw for a million yards and look like the greatest college athlete to ever live (which is great for CJ Stroud as he was named starter just last night). At this point though I just don’t care. What’s even worse now is that they actually have good pro Quarterback prospects suddenly, and we can’t laugh at their prolific graduates partying with strippers after a heavy in-season loss. It drains any enjoyment I could possibly possess out of it.
What compounds that is how much depth they have at the most important position. Ohio State now have three Quarterbacks on campus who ranked higher in their respective classes than the saviour of Notre Dame football Tyler Buchner. The other is Jack Miller III, a four star Quarterback who ranked ahead of TJ Finley and Ken Seals in his class. It’s just greedy to already have McCord, Miller and CJ Stroud on the roster, and then go and get the highest graded recruit of all time Quinn Ewers on top of that.
I mean how many do you need?
On a personal level I really wanted Quinn Ewers to stick with Texas. I think watching him play under the guidance of Steve Sarkisian would have been brilliant, and ultimately it would probably have been a strong decision for him on a personal level. He could have started straight away in his freshman year, still cashed in big in his NIL deals, and likely taken the pride and joy of his home state back to the promised land. It would have been compelling.
Now I have to watch Ohio State choose to sit both Ewers and McCord on the sidelines as Notre Dame trot out Jack Coan on opening day. It’s unfair, and frankly boring. Just imagine if Kyle McCord and Jack Miller III were both starting on opening day for Michigan State and Iowa respectively. The Big Ten would be so much more fun. College football would be way more fun.
I mean I’d have loved to see three years of Mac Jones at Kentucky. I know his success at Alabama was primarily down to the scheme and talent around him but he’d have made that Wildcats program interesting. Going further back the fact that Kyler Murray only started one full season of college football was a travesty. I wish we didn’t have to expect a similar issue for a top five Quarterback recruit in Kyle McCord and a guy in Jack Miller III who could have an impact for a middling program.
It’s a real shame, and the hoarding of talent from Ohio State goes beyond the Quarterback position. We only got to see one season of Tommy Togiai as a starter in college, and former five star recruit Shaun Wade only played outside corner in his final season. I realise one of those didn’t quite work out, but I’d have loved to have seen Togiai rip it up as a starter for Utah or Wisconsin for three years. It would have added so much to college football. More teams would have more stars, and we’d see much better football for it.
Some think that NIL may prevent this top prospect stockpiling for the bigger programmes, but I don’t think it will. These five star players have enough of a profile to make some profits off of NIL even if they are on the bench for two years, and they know that if they go to Ohio State and trust the process they’ll get to the NFL and earn themselves some generational wealth. Honestly who can blame them. Maybe some three of four star guys go and test the waters elsewhere to earn a spotlight in a less saturated market, but there are very few guarantees in football so it probably isn’t worth the risk when you know what studying at Columbus provides you with.
It’s a shame but this is our reality, and it will be for a while. I’ll be watching some really interesting teams in the Big Ten this season who could do with a couple more pieces to really compete, and those pieces will be sitting on the bench for Ohio State as they march towards the conference title. It’s genuinely heartbreaking.
So yes, I will have to write about Buckeyes this season, and I’m waiting with bated breath. The highs, the lows, the cruise to the conference championship. I’ll be writing about the stacked receiver room, the future of the Quarterback position and the ‘difficult’ challenges that Wisconsin or Iowa will throw at them before the play-off.
Yawn. I’m bored already, and I haven’t even had to watch them trample Minnesota in Week 1 yet. For a team that have some of the brightest talents in college football I should be buzzing to watch what they do, but I’m not.
Programmes like Ohio State suck the life out of college football. Yet their worst crime is how boring they are at doing it.
Follow Ed on Twitter @Farrardise
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