COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The wait is almost over. The season is finally creeping closer again, and the annual release of preseason watch lists for the biggest awards in college football confirms it -- and helps provide a useful distraction during the final month leading up to the start of training camp.
BuckeyeNation will be tracking all the Ohio State players being tracked by the various committees and handicapping their odds of bringing trophies back to campus.
DAVEY O'BRIEN AWARD
What: The nation's top quarterback
On the list: Ohio State junior Braxton Miller
Credentials: The impact Miller has on a game is as obvious as it is diverse, and the undefeated record he helped drag the Buckeyes to last fall reinforces just how valuable he is in Urban Meyer's spread offense. But now that he's got a full season operating it under his belt, Miller might really start tapping into his enormous potential as the triggerman for the Buckeyes. The key will be improved mechanics and fundamentals as a passer, starting with his footwork and then moving on to his familiarity with the system and where to place the football. Spring statistics might not mean all that much, but Miller showed marked improvement with the basics throughout camp before impressing with his accuracy in the exhibition game that provided a bit more momentum heading into the summer months, completing 16 of his 25 attempts -- with a couple of incompletions coming on smart decisions to throw the ball away. Already among the best in the country last year, Miller has more weapons around him, more comfort with the attack and an even greater chance to win more individual hardware.
Head to head: Showcase opportunity against the only other candidate currently being watched for the honor -- taking on Michigan's Devin Gardner on Nov. 30.
Odds: The national acclaim and attention at the end of last season was piled on Johnny Manziel, and he is back for another season at Texas A&M. But Miller is on the short list of favorites for every award he's eligible for, and if he can lead another unbeaten campaign like he did a year ago while improving his passing numbers and continuing to rack up rushing yardage, he could easily move to the top of the charts with so many eyes on the Buckeyes now that the postseason sanctions are in the past.