With the first month of the 2021 college football season almost over, ESPN analyst Desmond Howard has some serious concerns about three of the biggest programs in the country.
During an appearance on “Keyshaw, JWill and Max,” Howard was asked about the recent struggles for Clemson, Ohio State and Oklahoma. He believes Clemson and Ohio State haven’t been nearly as dominant as we’re accustomed to seeing because of their inexperience at quarterback.
Clemson is rolling with D.J. Uiagalelei at quarterback for this season. Ohio State, meanwhile, has all its faith stored in C.J. Stroud.
“Two of the three are really starting new quarterbacks,” Howard said. “D.J. Uiagalelei has played last year. But to get the key to the ‘Benz for the whole season is different than coming in and filling for the quarterback for the two games because he’s [sick], which is what happened last year when Trevor Lawrence got (COVID-19). So now, you know that this is your team. This is your offense. The expectations get a lot greater. And then you look at Ohio State too with C.J. Stroud, the freshman quarterback.So you’re looking at some young quarterbacks with not a lot of experience. The offenses have been struggling.”
The same excuse can’t be used for Oklahoma, though. Unlike the Buckeyes and Tigers, the Sooners have an experienced quarterback in Spencer Rattler.
Howard believes Oklahoma’s struggles could be a result of the team trying to live up to its sky-high expectations.
“Once you’ve had a really good season, the expectations next season are greater – people expect you to take a leap. I just think offensively they have not looked great,” Howard explained. “To go out there and struggle the way they struggled against a Nebraska team that a lot of people have put out of the pasture – they [college football fans] are not even talking about the Cornhuskers no more. But the Cornhuskers came out, punched Oklahoma in the mouth and got them into like a four-quarter brawl.”
Howard wants to see if Oklahoma can put together a strong showing this weekend against a West Virginia team that is playing with a lot of confidence.
Clemson has a tough opponent this Saturday as well, as it’ll face NC State on the road. Ohio State, meanwhile, should take care of business against Akron.