Ohio State has everything to lose and little to gain in how it deals with Braxton Miller’s injury.
The electric quarterback was forced out of the Buckeyes’ battle with Purdue on Saturday after his head slammed against the turf at the end of a long run. He was shipped via ambulance to the hospital where, according to Paul Myerberg of the USA Today, Ohio State and university spokesman Jerry Emig have said that Miller is, “symptom free of all ailments,” “doing fine” and, “in the process of being released from the hospital.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean he’s good to go. Even if he shows signs of recovery, it’d be downright foolish to play him until the OSU training staff is sure that he’s 100 percent healthy.
While the Buckeyes are undefeated, their postseason ban made this season drastically less important than the next two. They can’t compete for a national title this year, but with Miller running Urban Meyer’s celebrated spread offense they’ll no doubt be in the hunt in the immediate future.
And that’s why Miller shouldn’t be rushed back into action. Sure, they’re still capable of winning their division title this year. But the pursuit of a Leaders Division championship isn’t worth risking BCS championships over— and that’s what Ohio State would be doing if they start an even slightly concussed Miller.
Besides, the Buckeyes are a talented enough team as a whole to win without him. After Miller’s exit against the Boilermakers, second-string QB Kenny Guiton led them back from a deficit to triumph in overtime.
Austin Ward of ESPN reported that Coach Urban Meyer said following the game, “Some of the efforts I saw tonight were legendary. That was a moment that I certainly will never forget, the quarterback jogging in the game, the right-hander, he just did a heck of a job.”
Again, until Miller's odds of suffering an even more severe concussion plummet, Ohio State must start Guiton.
David Daniels is a featured columnist at Bleacher Report and a syndicated writer.