Drew Thurman (5:27 pm) @osusilverbullet

If you haven't noticed, the Buckeyes aren't the only ones taking advantage of the bye week. Things have been a little crazy for our staff, and thus the blog has been a bit slow this week. We've got plenty coming your way the rest of the week though, including lots of basketball coverage.

Enough about us though. There's plenty of action going on in Buckeye Nation, so let's get to it.

Miler's Heisman Hopes

Even though the 2012 Buckeyes are unable to play for a National Championship, B1G Title or even a bowl game, that won't keep the players and coaches from being able to grab awards and postseason accolades. In fact, one of the most intriguing stories has been Braxton Miller's Heisman chances.  With 1,753 receiving and 1,166 yards rushing for a combined 27 touchdowns, Miller is definitely looking at a chance to make it to New York. Currently ESPN has him in 5th:
Still, not everyone is impressed. Chris Houston of Heisman Pundit and CBSSports.com has ruled Braxton out of this year's competition. He had to say this following this weekend.

But that list is only the most obvious players to be eliminated from consideration this season. After this past Saturday's games, there are a couple more to add:

Geno Smith

Braxton Miller

It was a good run for Smith to start the season and I stated at the end of September that the Heisman was his to lose. Well, that's exactly what happened as the Mountaineers have dropped three in a row and, even worse, the West Virginia offensive attack has been downright mediocre. As a result, Smith's rationale for winning -- that his numbers were going to be head-and-shoulders above those of his competitors -- has collapsed. While his current pace points to him having 4,008 passing yards, 44 touchdowns and five interceptions by the time the Heisman vote is due, his performances the past three weeks -- a passer rating of 104, five touchdowns, three picks -- suggests his trajectory is headed into the weeds. To overcome the flaws of his team, Smith's numbers needed to be amazing. They won't be.

As for Miller, he was always a dark horse in this campaign. However, he's performed quite well and is on the bubble as far as a possible visit to New York goes. It's just he can't win -- not this time, not with his numbers and not in the context of this race. However, he is set up well to be the Heisman front runner in 2013 and everything he does the rest of this season will serve to bolster that.

According to Houston the race is down to Collin Klein, Kenjon Barner and A.J. McCarron. What do all three have in common? They are all offensive stars on National Championship contenders. Without the sanctions, so would Braxton Miller, something that is definitely hurting his stock this year. Still, like Houston mentions, Miller should be a frontrunner in 2013.

As for Miller, he doesn't seem overly concerned.

"Man, it's tough," he said. "A lot of guys come to me about it, and I try not to talk about it because I don’t really like talking about myself,” Miller said. “It's a wonderful thing. I’ve just got to keep working hard and get better at the things I want to get better at. Whatever happens, happens.”

2013 Contenders

Speaking of 2013, I guess it is never too early to look ahead at what the Buckeyes could possibly accomplish. This year's flawed team has well surpassed the expectations in year one of Urban Meyer's building program, and will likely have the spotlight back on them next season. Tom Dienhart actually gave his thoughts on the subject in Mailbag post on BTN.com yesterday.

Ohio State should return the majority of its starters in 2013. Do you think the preseason polls for next year will feature Alabama No. 1 and Ohio State No. 2? – Kevin

Hey, I like to look ahead as much as the next guy. But let’s finish this season first! The Buckeyes should be in a good position to start high in the polls in 2013. Players like quarterback Braxton Miller, running back Carlos Hyde and almost the entire line will be back on offense. On defense, cornerback Travis Howard and lineman John Simon are the key seniors to be replaced. Bottom line: A lot of key players will be back for what looks like a top 5 preseason team.

Top five is definitely a possibility next season, and I actually would not be surprised if the Buckeyes are in the top three. Almost the entire offense will be back, giving the Buckeyes one of the most high powered offenses in the country on paper. The key will be the defense though. Besides guys like Howard and Simon that he mentions, the Buckeyes will also likely be saying goodbye to the likes of Johnathan Hankins and Bradley Roby as they are NFL bound. Also the question marks surrounding the middle linebacker position will also still be on the table as band-aid Zach Boren will be graduating as well.

Hankins Draft Stock

Continuing the conversion of Hankins leaving for the NFL, I figured I would give you an idea just how high he is likely to go. While Buckeye fans would love for him to stay and compete for a championship, there is no way he should stick around considering his stock. I would hate to see him hang around and get injured next season.

Obviously, everyone has different projections, but NFLScoutReport.com has him as the second rated player overall on their big board.
Surprisingly, Bradley Roby isn't anywhere to be found in their rankings, but John Simon comes in at No. 64 overall. Not too shabby.

Bye Week Tidbits

Meyer chatted with the media yesterday after practice in the midst of the bye week, and had a few interesting things to pass along.

  • Etienne Sabino is practicing this week. He has a bit of a gimp, but is working hard and should be available for the Wisconsin game.
  • Others that are injured are Orhian Johnson, Reid Fragel and Michael Bennett. According to Meyer, Johnson hasn't practiced since leaving the Illinois game but is coming along. Fragel should practice the rest of this week and is just fine. As for Bennett, Meyer didn't have as positive of words. It definitely has been a rough year for him.
  • Today's practice was a coordinator only practice. Everyone else was gone today, which is assumed to be on the recruiting trail. In fact, Meyer made it clear that all ten coaches had been on the road recruiting at some point earlier this week. 
  • The vibe on the recruiting trail is good, especially with the buzz about the Buckeyes being 10-0.
  • Meyer also made it clear Buckeyes are not looking ahead to Michigan. The team/staff are completely focused on Wisconsin.
  • Meyer also pointed out the practice varies for the players this week. Many are beat up and need treatment, and the goal this week is to keep them sharp and in shape. Others have played zero snaps this season, and need to be prepared for some playing time because of injuries.
Giving Craft Some Love

We'll have some more basketball coverage coming for you soon, but in the mean time here's some news on Aaron Craft.

The infamous Grantland has some love for the Buckeye point guard, naming him to their All-Defense team as well as a Third-Team All-American. Here are the comments:

G — Aaron Craft, Ohio State, Junior, 6-foot-2, 195 pounds

Last Year's Stats and Honors: 8.8 PPG, 4.6 APG, 2.5 SPG, 2.2 TPG, 55.4 2pt FG%, 35.9 3pt FG%, 71.3 FT%, third-team All–Big Ten (media), Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year, Lefty Driesell Defensive All-America Team, Bob Cousy Award (top point guard) semifinalist.

The Dish: Craft is a defensive genius who will almost definitely repeat as Defensive Player of the Year in the Big Ten. He had the nation's 13th-best steal rate (steals per defensive possessions) last year, and the third-best among BCS players. For Ohio State to live up to their no. 4 ranking, he'll have to become more of a scoring threat and continue to have an efficient assist-to-turnover ratio as he sets up scoring threats like Deshaun Thomas and Lenzelle Smith Jr.

Five Potential Nicknames: The Robber Aaron, The Craftsman, Grand Theft Blotto, The Buckeye Burglar, Daft Craft (if he does something crazy)

My favorite nickname - Craft Mac and D (via D. Anthony on 11W).
 


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