Cardale Jones: A Man With Many Expectations


What can we expect of Cardale Jones in the Big Ten Championship this Saturday? This is the million dollar question on everyone’s minds.

Really it depends on who you ask. Urban Meyer says he believes in his quarterback and expects him to perform quite well in the game. If you ask the media, they expect a make or break performance. Just tune into ESPN or FOX when they’re discussing the Buckeyes and you’re bound to hear them discuss how Cardale’s performance will determine whether the Buckeyes make the playoffs or not. If you ask Buckeye detractors and really most college football fans, they expect Jones to have a bad game and cause the Buckeyes to lose. If you ask Buckeye fans, you could get any answer. Some have full confidence, while others have already given up on the season (way to be a true fan).

So what do I expect out of Cardale Jones this Saturday? Well let’s go over the facts. He’s a redshirt sophomore from Cleveland, Ohio. He’s listed at 6’5″ and 250 pounds. Jones saw little playing time in 2013, as he went one of two passing for three yards and rushed for 128 yards and one touchdown. With starting quarterback Braxton Miller going down with an injury in August, Cardale competed with J.T. Barrett for the starting job and narrowly lost the quarterback battle. Jones has been the backup for Barrett all season and has seen some playing time. Currently this season he’s 10 of 17 passing for 118 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. Jones has also rushed 26 times for 206 yards.

This Saturday will be the first ever start for Jones in college football. Based on the facts I just laid out, this seems like a pretty daunting task for the young quarterback. Really on paper it seems like an impossible task for Jones to replace Barrett and match his production. That’s because it is impossible. But guess what? Jones doesn’t have to replace Barrett and match his production. If you’ve watched Ohio State football this season, while J.T. Barrett was a big part of it, the offense has been more than one player. As they say it takes a team to win.

You shouldn’t expect Cardale Jones to put up great numbers. If he does, that’s great. But you know what Jones’ main job will be on Saturday? Win the game. It’s that simple. Jones won’t be expected to make all of the big plays because he has several dynamic offensive weapons around him in Ezekiel Elliott, Jalin Marshall and Curtis Samuel. Those are just his running backs/h-backs. He also had wide receivers Michael Thomas, Devin Smith, Corey Smith, Jeff Heuermann and Nick Vanett. Yes J.T. Barrett is talented, but he didn’t put those big numbers up on his own. He’s had a pretty good supporting cast around him and Urban Meyer’s system to thank too.

The talking heads can speculate all they want about the Buckeyes’ playoff chances being affected by Cardale Jones. It’s their job to sit around and deliver hot takes to entertain the masses. I’m not saying the injury to Barrett is affecting the playoff chances of the Buckeyes. I’m sure it is, but the Buckeyes can’t worry about. Their job is to go out, execute the game plan and win the game. That’s all they can do. What a novel concept! Win the game and then see what happens. Style points are bullshit. It’s just a term the media loves to use in one of their debate segments. At the end of the day, getting the win is what matters and I think Urban Meyer will be drilling this into the players’ heads all week.

So what can we expect of Cardale Jones in the Big Ten Championship against Wisconsin? You can expect him to try to win the game. (And maybe hurdle someone)

College Football is Finally Here: B1G Preview for the Weekend Ahead

After many long months of waiting college football season has finally arrived! As much as I love baseball, college football holds a special place in my heart. I especially enjoy watching B1G football.

Every year the B1G is expected to step it up and produce some impressive results on the field, with this year being no different from the rest. Last year the conference was hurt by two of its most illustrious programs, Penn State and Ohio State, being punished with bowl bans. Now that the Buckeyes have served their penalty, high expectations return to Columbus. Ohio State is the consensus favorite to not only win the conference, but run the table and play for it all in Pasadena. As far as the next best team in the B1G? That’s anybody’s guess.

In the Leaders Division Wisconsin lost Montee Ball, but have 10 other Wisconsin-like running backs waiting in the wings (namely James White and Melvin Gordon). Penn State is in year two of their bowl ban and break in two new quarterbacks. Indiana has a lot of starters returning to the team and the pressure is on head coach Kevin Wilson to get the team to a bowl game. Illinois head coach Tim Beckham is already on the hot seat in Champaign, despite the fact that its only his second season with the program. Purdue breaks in new head coach Darrell Hazel (former Buckeye coach) and look to begin rebuilding their program.

In the Legends Division Nebraska has Taylor Martinez return for what feels like his 10th year in the program, but their defense is a huge question mark. Michigan State is the exact opposite of Nebraska. They have a great defense, but four different players competed for the QB position. Northwestern is receiving the most preseason hype in decades, but many are unsure if they can handle the high expectations. Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz has been getting bashed by the media and fans all offseason and looks to silence the doubters. Minnesota looks to continue to build off their 6-6 season last year and move up the ladder in the conference. And the team up north finally has an actual quarterback again, but do they have enough to be considered an elite team?

Enough chatter, let’s get to the opening week games:

Thursday, August 29

Indiana State @ Indiana – If this was a basketball game taking place in the 70’s, with Larry Bird lacing it up for the Sycamores, I would be pretty psyched about this game. But instead it’s a football game in 2013. Even though I’m not thrilled about this match-up, these two actually played a tight game last season in the opener. Indiana only won 24-17 and only led by a touchdown at halftime also. I expect Indiana to learn from last season and dispatch Indiana State with ease.

UNLV @ Minnesota – This is another non-conference rematch from last season. And it was even closer. Minnesota needed triple overtime to defeat the Rebels, 30-27. Close games like this are what make the B1G look bad. B1G teams aren’t supposed to have close games with teams like UNLV. I hope the Golden Gophers win this game, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this is another close game.

Friday, August 30

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The Best of the B1G: #9 James White

b1g_iconAs we get into the top ten players we come across a guy who is 21st on his school’s all-time rushing yards list (less than 300 yards away from jumping to 12th) despite having played behind two players in the top eight. He led his team in rushing yards his freshman season, but has never done so again, and has never led the team in carries. If you guessed Wisconsin senior running back James White, great job! During White’s freshman season, he was a part of a remarkable rushing display by the Badgers in which they were four yards away from having three backs cross the 1000-yard threshold. He played behind John Clay (8th all-time) and Montee Ball (2nd all-time), yet had more yards than both of them that season averaging an impressive 6.74 yards per carry! This is the first season in which White will be the top-tier back as Ball left for the NFL (2nd round to the Broncos) after breaking the FBS records for both rushing touchdowns and total touchdowns in a career.

james-whiteUnfortunately for White, his head coach Bret Bielema, who was a strong proponent of the running game, left to coach at Arkansas. In comes Gary Anderson from Utah State as Bielema’s successor and White now faces his second consecutive season with a new set of position coaches. Badgers fans should find some comfort in the fact that Anderson ran the ball more than he passed it last season with the Aggies (473 vs. 420) and that running back Kerwynn Williams ran the ball over 200 times. White also lost two of his offensive linemen to the NFL (Travis Frederick, C, 1st round, Cowboys; Ricky Wagner, OT, 5th round, Ravens), however, Bielema has always done a great job at stockpiling talent on the line.

The schedule that White and the Badgers face this season could help in White having a strong season. They avoid playing the defenses of Michigan and Michigan State (unfortunately, perhaps, they also avoid the team against which they rushed for 539 yards last season: Nebraska) and get BYU and Penn State at home. Visits to Arizona State and Ohio State could pose problems to the running game because there’s a decent chance they could be playing from behind early in both game. On the other hand, the Badgers’ deficiency in the passing game may force Anderson to try to turn to the running game regardless. White averaged an unbelieveable 17.60 yards on third down season and a whopping 27.67 yards on third down with 10+ to go so Anderson shouldn’t be scared to hand him the ball in nearly any situation.

Instead of following the trend that has swept college football over the past several years in which players transfer when they don’t win the starting job immediately, White made an impact as a freshman despite being third of the depth chart and now, as a senior, gets his chance to prove what he can do. He won’t have to do it alone. Melvin Gordon made a name for himself as a freshman last year rushing for 602 yards and averaging 10 yards per carry. Badger Nation should be excited about the running game yet again this season led by James White who should easily break the 1500-yard mark. If they can get any production from their quarterbacks (to keep defenses from constantly loading the box) the Badgers could even make a run at a 9 or 10 win season. I think Anderson may turn to junior college transfer Tanner McEvoy, but we’ll have to see about that.

Previously on MotSaG’s Best of the B1G
#10 Trevor Siemian/Kain Colter
Best of the B1G, #15-11
Best of the B1G, #20-16
Best of the B1G, #25-21

Beanie’s Heisman Chances and other long shots

Beanie thinks he still has a chance at the Heisman:

Asked if he could be that player, despite the right foot injury that kept him out of three games this season, he didn’t hesitate.

“I honestly think I can be the best player in college football,” he said.

Two weeks ago, I would have said, “No way. No fricken way.” Now, maybe it’s not such a long shot.

Beanie WellsPreseason Heisman Hopefuls™ included Beanie, Knowshon Moreno, Chase Daniels, Pat White and of course, the Lord and Saviour, Tebow Child himself. As it stands now, Daniels is currently the front runner while Pat White wallows on a horrible team and Knowshon is banged up and only racked up 34 yards in Georgia’s marque match-up against Alabama. Tebow had his own difficulties against Ole Miss [*snicker*] and his team’s early struggles may be unfairly placed on his broad shoulders. If Florida continues to stumble, we won’t have the second two-time Heisman Trophy Winner the ESPN wants so desparately.

So while Beanie’s chance are somewhere between slim and none right now, give him a game or two where he racks up a couple hundred yards a piece (preferrably against Wisconsin and Penn State) including some more acrobatics and stiff arms, and we’ll see. While some preseason favorites may have dropped out, they’ve been replaced by the likes of Javon Ringer and Sam Bradford. Beanie’s road to the Heisman is beset on all sides by the iniquities of the selfish and the tyranny of evil men.

He can get it all back on track with a repeat of his Wisconsin performance from last year. That moment, where he scored a HUGE TD and sprinted right back to the bench, will be an iconic Beanie moment for me.

Quick hits: Beanie isn’t worried about Pryor’s first start away from the ‘Shoe; the kid was watching OSU game film while he was still in high school… Meanwhile, Pryor knows what’s expected of him… Tressel is 2-3 vs. the Badgers and 43-8 vs. the rest of the conference… I keep hearing these stories about getting pelted with marshmallows stuffed with nickels. Maybe it’s just me, but that sure doesn’t sound too bad. Better than getting nailed by batteries