Big Ten: Kirk Herbstreit

Ohio State's Braxton Miller back for 2014

August, 5, 2014
Aug 5
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller could become Ohio State's all-time leader in wins.
The 2014 college football season has the potential to showcase one of the most talented groups of quarterbacks in recent memory. Jameis Winston, Marcus Mariota, Brett Hundley and Bryce Petty are all being talked about as potential first-round NFL draft picks, while Braxton Miller and Everett Golson have the chance to solidify their place in their respective school’s storied histories.

In preparation for the 2014 season and in conjunction with interviews conducted by ESPN CFB analyst Kirk Herbstreit, ESPN Stats & Info will take a deeper look at the top QBs entering the fall. Today, we take a look at Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.

A look back at 2013
Braxton Miller had an outstanding junior season, becoming the first player in Big Ten history (since 1990 when the award was first given) to win the Offensive Player of the Year award in consecutive seasons. He was the only Power Five conference quarterback to throw for at least 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards last year. If Miller can accomplish that feat again, he will join Colin Kaepernick and become the second FBS quarterback in the past 10 years to reach those thresholds in three seasons.

Miller has rushed for at least 100 yards in 14 games since the start of 2011, second most among FBS quarterbacks. He had five such games last season, which tied for fourth among FBS quarterbacks. Miller has always been a prolific rusher, but he’s also improved as a passer every year at Ohio State. Miller’s completion percentage, passing yards and touchdowns have increased every season.

He was more willing to operate from the pocket last year. He attempted 85 percent of his passes from the pocket, nearly 20 percentage points higher than in 2012. His 19 touchdown passes from inside the pocket were tied for the most in the Big Ten with Indiana’s Nate Sudfeld and Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

A look ahead to 2014
With another 11-win season, Miller will pass Art Schlichter for the most wins in school history (36). Assuming Miller stays healthy, he has a good chance of passing Schlichter.

According to the ESPN Football Power Index, Ohio State has the best chance (41 percent) of winning the Big Ten, nearly 20 percentage points better than Wisconsin, and is projected for between 10 and 11 wins heading into bowl season. The Buckeyes have won 24 consecutive regular-season games, four shy of tying the Big Ten conference record.

The Buckeyes have big shoes to fill. They must replace six of 11 starters on offense, including league-leading rusher Carlos Hyde and four starters from an offensive line that combined for 135 starts.

Miller might have to shoulder more of the load. In the past, he has stepped up when his team needed him. Miller enters 2014 with six career game-winning drives in the fourth quarter or overtime, including three last season. The six career game-winning drives are the most among returning FBS quarterbacks and five more than any other returning quarterback in the Big Ten.

One area in which Miller needs to get better is on third down. He ranked in the bottom third of the FBS in Total QBR (47.1) and completion percentage (50.9) on third down. Only Michigan’s Devin Gardner and Purdue’s Danny Etling were sacked more on third down than Miller (12) among Big Ten quarterbacks. Only two of the past 10 national championship quarterbacks have had a third-down QBR less than 70 in the season they won the title.
ESPN college football analyst Kirk Herbstreit has come out with his 12th annual Herbie Awards, which will be showcased tonight at 7 ET on ESPN.

Herbstreit predicts Michigan State to beat Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game, and for the Badgers' Montee Ball to be the league's top player. He has Florida State over USC in a surprising national championship pick.

Several Big Ten players also made his All-Herbie team, which he describes as "What a college team should look like." Honorees include Nebraska running back Rex Burkhead, Ohio State tight end Jake Stoneburner and Michigan State defensive end William Gholston. Herbstreit picks Purdue as his No. 2 surprise team in the country

Here's where Big Ten players rank in some of Herbstreit's other categories.

Best Running Backs

2. Ball, Wisconsin

Quarterbacks: Dual Threat
3. Denard Robinson, Michigan
5. Braxton Miller, Ohio State

Tight Ends: Best In The Biz
2. Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State

End Game: Defensive Ends
3. Gholston, Michigan State
11. John Simon, Ohio State

Inside Job: Defensive Tackles
2. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State
4. Kawann Short, Purdue

Got Your Back: Outside Linebackers
3. Jonathan Brown, Illinois

Inside Linebackers
5. Chris Borland, Wisconsin

Take Cover: Defensive Backs
5. Johnny Adams, CB, Michigan State

Right To Excite: Most Exciting Players
3. Robinson, Michigan

SHHHHH, Don’t Tell: Best-Kept Secrets
1. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State

Don’t Turn Your Back: Backyard Football
2. Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin

Dress For Success: Looks The Part
1. Gholston, Michigan State

Off And Running: Ready To Take It To The Next Level
3. Miller, Ohio State

Old School: Throwback Players
2. Burkhead, Nebraska
4. Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State

Ahead Of The Curve
2. Andrew Maxwell, QB, Michigan State

Ouch! The Ankle Breakers
1. Robinson, Michigan

Basic Instinct: It’s Everything
1. Borland, Wisconsin

The Ultimate Herbie

5. Ball, Wisconsin

All-Herbie Team: RB Rex Burkhead, Nebraska; TE Jake Stoneburner, Ohio State; DL William Gholston, Michigan State.
Conference predictions: Michigan State over Wisconsin in Big Ten title game; Montee Ball as POY

Video: Remembering Joe Paterno

January, 22, 2012
Matt Millen, Mike Ditka, Lou Holtz, Brent Musburger, Kirk Herbstreit and Nick Saban remember Joe Paterno.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

It's not a misprint. College football will be played today in America. Not in the Big Ten -- gotta wait till Saturday -- but the season is here, and that's a good thing. I'll be chatting at 4 p.m. ET, and Week 1 predictions are coming in a little bit.

First, the links.

Posted by's Adam Rittenberg

Several more Week 1 depth charts came out Monday, but few major questions were answered. Penn State still doesn't have a starting quarterback, and neither does Indiana or Michigan. The first Big Ten coaches' teleconference is later Tuesday, so perhaps some light will be shed on the league's top position battles. Check back for updates.

Link time: