Urban Meyer and Ohio State will welcome a ranked opponent into Columbus for the first time this season on Saturday night when the No. 23 Wisconsin Badgers come to town.
With starting quarterback Braxton Miller having been cleared to play and expected to return to the Buckeyes lineup this week, Meyer would be wise to call on the junior signal-caller in place of talented backup Kenny Guiton.
The biggest reason: Experience.
While Guiton has played phenomenal football in Miller's absence, there's no denying that his stellar performances have come against over-matched competition in California and Florida A&M. Meanwhile, a third-year starter under center, Miller has already slayed Big Ten giants like Michigan State, Penn State and Wisconsin on the road.
The confidence gained from monumental wins like those make Miller the obvious choice at quarterback, and most Buckeyes fans would have to agree:
Kenny Guiton has been great & I've had fun with #Guiton4Heisman. But lets be serious, Braxton Miller is the man against Wisconsin & beyond.— Matt Baxendell (@MattBaxendell) September 16, 2013
It also doesn't hurt that Miller has a history of success against the three-time defending conference champions.
As a freshman in 2011, Miller rushed for 99 yards and accounted for three total touchdowns as the Buckeyes beat the Badgers 33-29. Last year in Madison, the then-sophomore struggled but never turned the ball over as Ohio State beat Wisconsin 21-14 in overtime.
Although he's been limited by a banged-up knee this September, Miller has looked strong thus far, completing 70 percent of his passes for two touchdowns and one interception and averaging 4.6 yards per carry.
Assuming Miller is 100 percent, which QB would you start Saturday vs. Wisconsin?
And with one of college football's most fearsome defenses backing him up, Miller is sure to have even more room for error against Wisconsin. The Buckeyes rank 13th in the nation in total defense and are allowing just nine points per game at home in 2013.
Consequently, Meyer can start Miller with confidence knowing that the dual-threat quarterback won't have to be flawless this time around.
With Ohio State set to play Northwestern and Michigan on the road this season, Saturday night's primetime showdown with Wisconsin will be by far the Buckeyes' most challenging and pressure-packed home game of the year.
The stakes couldn't be any higher either with 2013 marking the final year of the current BCS system. A loss to Wisconsin would not only be Meyer's first as coach of the Buckeyes, but would dash Ohio State's national championship hopes.
Therefore, if Miller is healthy enough to play, he's got to be suited up on Saturday.
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