Herbstreit: OSU has leg up athletically on every B1G team, including Michigan
After watching Ohio State roll at Oklahoma, Kirk Herbstreit is buying Ohio State. A three-touchdown victory in one of the toughest places to play in the country showed him that inexperience isn’t holding OSU back.
Herbstreit is also buying the B1G. The likes of Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska and Wisconsin have all impressed him in the early part of 2016.
But does he believe any of those teams have the same upside as the Buckeyes?
“The mirror will be their biggest competition,” Herbstreit said of OSU on SportsCenter. “I still feel — I said this before the season started — that they’re a leg up athletically on everybody in that conference, including Michigan.”
Michigan, of course, was the team with more experience and more preseason All-Americans than Ohio State. The Wolverines do have arguably the most athletic player in the B1G in Jabrill Peppers.
And while Peppers and the Wolverines are off to a 3-0 start and ranked No. 4 in the Associated Press poll, Herbstreit doesn’t have Michigan in his top five:
— Kirk Herbstreit (@KirkHerbstreit) September 18, 2016
Ohio State certainly appears every bit as athletic as last year’s group, but there could be more roadblocks ahead in 2016.
The Buckeyes didn’t face a top-25 team until they took on Michigan State in the second-to-last week of the season. This year, the Buckeyes have five games against teams ranked in the current Associated Press top 25.
So what could still make this year better than last year, according to Herbstreit?
“J.T. Barrett is their X-factor,” Herbstreit said. “He is now back to being able to be free and loose and making good decisions based on who’s open, not ‘who can we get touches to?’ because of all those NFL players they had a year ago. Can J.T. Barrett, who may be one of the best leaders in the history of that school, keep the young players grounded?
“If they lose their edge, they’ll fall down and somebody will get them. But if they can learn from last year, when they didn’t play with an edge, they’re going to be very, very difficult for anybody to beat this year.”