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What Are Navy's Chances Against Ohio State Without Braxton Miller?

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The Buckeyes' star QB is out for the season with a shoulder injury, but does it increase the Midshipmen's chances of an opening day upset?

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Injuries suck.

If there was somehow a way that sports could exist without them, that would be a good thing. Sadly, that's not the case; injuries are just a small, or in this case, a big part of every sport. They happen all the time, whether they are freak injuries, accidental or off-the field, injuries just happen.

A pretty news-worthy injury came out earlier this week, that's likely going to effect the way this college football season turns out in a big way. Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback and Heisman trophy candidate Braxton Miller, will miss the entire 2014 season with a injury to his throwing shoulder.

The No. 6 Buckeyes open the 2014 season in just a little over a week at M&T Bank Stadium against the Navy Midshipmen, which gives them just that time to prepare red-shirt freshman J.T. Barrett for the start against the Mids.

Before Miller's injury, this game was looking to be a lopsided match-up, one that would swing in favor of the Buckeyes with them likely winning by multiple touchdowns. But now that Miller is out, what does this change for the Mids and their match-up against a battered Goliath?

Well, likely nothing.

Sure, the hype around Ohio State this season was generated in large part due to Miller, but this is still a team with overwhelming amounts of skill across the board and a team with one of the best coaches in college football in Urban Meyer.

Yea, maybe Ohio State isn't going to compete for a national championship, maybe they won't win their conference either, but unless Barrett turns out to be the worst quarterback in all of college football, then the Buckeyes should still at the very least compete for a big bowl game, and they should still beat Navy by multiple touchdowns.

Consider:

  • Meyer's offenses score a lot of points: In five of Meyer's eight seasons at OSU and Florida, he had an offense that averaged over 35 points-per-game. Navy was 49th in points-allowed-per-game last season with 25.8 per-contest. This season, the Mids still don't know who will start at inside linebacker.
  • Barrett is no scrub. Sure, no one has seen this kid play in a collegiate game yet, but the Texas native is a former 4-star prospect and was the third ranked dual-threat quarterback from the class of 2013. With a highly skilled supporting cast around him, all Barrett really has to do is be smart and put the ball in the hands of his playmakers (which, is easier said than done).
  • The Buckeyes defense is improved and loaded with top five talent. Meanwhile, in Annapolis, the Mids hopes of winning every game this year hinge on Keenan Reynolds. Stop Reynolds, and you stop the Midshipmen. Ohio State is equipped to do that with Joey Bosa and Noah Spence coming off the edge, combined with a three-headed behemoth of run stoppers composed of Michael Bennett, Adolphus Washington and Tommy Schutt.

Before Miller's injury, it wasn't completely out of the question that Navy could upset the mighty Buckeyes, and without Miller the Mids' chance at an upset are certainly increased, but remember, if Navy wins it's still an UPSET. Ohio State should still win this game; one player doesn't change that.

Sure, Navy got their two pre-season votes, but OSU got a lot more. They're number six, Navy isn't near the Top 25.

Bill Wagner of the Capital Gazette grabbed a quote from head coach Ken Niumatalolo on Tuesday that keeps this game in the perspective that, the Mids' are still the underdogs.

"If our heads ever get big, all we have to do is turn on the Ohio State film and it will be shrunk quickly. There's nothing for us to get big-headed about. We're honored that somebody voted for us, but it doesn't mean anything. You have to get the job done on the field. "