The season is finally getting closer. The release of preseason watch lists for the major college football awards confirms it, and starting with the first two that were released on Monday and including all of them that follow, BuckeyeNation will break them down to see which Ohio State representatives have a shot at bringing home some hardware.
Lou Groza Award
What: The nation's top kicker
On the list: Buckeyes junior Drew Basil
Credentials: Led the Big Ten in field goal percentage as a sophomore by connecting on 16 of his 19 attempts, which included a run of 12 in a row at one point. All three of the misses last season came on attempts of longer than 40 yards.
Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other kickers up for consideration -- Dan Conroy (Michigan State), Mitch Ewald (Indiana), Anthony Fera (Penn State), Brendan Gibbons (Michigan), Ty Long (UAB) and Brett Maher (Nebraska).
Odds: With the number of opportunities overall or in clutch situations difficult to project, pegging this award in the preseason can be tough. But another similar campaign from Basil could put him in the mix for a spot on the list of semifinalists, particularly if he can add a conversion or two from more than 50 yards.