The narrative for Ohio State's season has greatly changed in recent days, with the news that Braxton Miller will miss the 2014 season. While the Buckeyes still have a deep, talented roster, it will just not be the same team without a senior Miller leading the offense. Now, Ohio State will try to navigate its schedule with redshirt freshman J.T. Barrett at the helm. Barrett was a four-star recruit, and one of the top dual-threat quarterbacks in the nation, with offers from programs like Baylor, LSU, Nebraska, and Ole Miss. His first test will be a feisty Navy team at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore, home of the NFL's Ravens.
Date: Thursday, August 30, 2014
Time: 12:00 PM EST
TV Channel: CBS Sports Network
Location: M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore, MD)
Betting Line: Ohio State -13.5 via 5Dimes
Prediction: The Miller injury adds a lot of intrigue to this Buckeye-Midshipmen matchup. According to Oddsshark, the opening line was at 19.5, and has already moved six points in Navy's favor, and could keep going as we learn more about Barrett. Offensively, he will have four of Ohio State's five biggest targets returning from 2013, including receiver Devin Smith, who had 660 yards receiving last year. More importantly, Ohio State returns a defense that is fairly intact from last season, including a very experienced front seven. Navy can trip teams up with its trademark triple option system, but with a veteran-laden defensive front, Ohio State should be able to contain the Midshipmen.
Unless Ohio State's offense totally tanks without Miller, they should be able to cover the two touchdown spread, and win the opener in Baltimore, though Navy will not make it easy for them.