Awards watch: Miller, Roby listed yet again

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.


  • What: The nation's most outstanding football player

  • On the list: Ohio State juniors Braxton Miller and Bradley Roby

  • Credentials: Standing out enough at cornerback to win an award that includes every position might be a stretch for Roby, but it speaks volumes about the impact he made for the Buckeyes last fall that he even would be included in the watch list for such a prestigious award heading into what almost certainly will be his final season with the program. Despite an eye-catching total of 17 passes broken up last year and 3 touchdowns, Roby didn't even really benefit from the one number that typically generates attention for a defensive back, since he finished last fall with jonly two interceptions. Assuming teams continue to try to throw his way, Roby figures to boost that statistic this fall, and his stock as one of the leading candidates for a handful of defensive awards will rise because of it. But Miller is clearly the player to watch for an honor like this, given how much influence he has on the Buckeyes and their title chances with the football in his hands. And like the Heisman, he figures to be strongly in the mix considering all the damage he can inflict on an opposing defense.

  • Head to head: Showcase opportunities against the other candidates currently being watched for the honor -- Taylor Lewan (Michigan) and Venric Mark (Northwestern).

  • Odds: Any short list of favorites for all-inclusive awards like this will include Miller's name, and he has earned that respect with a resume that already is shaping up to be one of the best Ohio State has seen at quarterback after just two seasons. As long as he's healthy, Miller will continue to rack up big numbers, thanks to his athleticism and a deeper collection of weapons around him this season. But typically the key to making a real push for individual honors is helping produce team success, and if Miller is at the helm for another campaign like the unbeaten one he guided behind center a year ago, the hardware easily could follow.