On the morning of Aug. 18, ESPN college football analysts were required to provide their national champion and Heisman Trophy predictions for the upcoming season. Kirk Herbstreit—perhaps the sport’s most prominent pundit—opted to stay close to home with his picks, choosing Ohio State and Braxton Miller to sweep college football’s two most prestigious trophies.
A homer pick? Perhaps. But the former Buckeyes quarterback had his reasons.
Playing in a still-rebuilding Big Ten, Ohio State had arguably the easiest path to the first-ever College Football Playoff. And with a quarterback as experienced and talented as Miller, it was not far-fetched to think that the Buckeyes could win it all.
“The light had finally gone off for him as far as really understanding defenses and his offense and how to attack,” Herbstreit told B/R. “I think he was ready to have a big year. The overall athletic ability around him was at a whole different level. I think he was going to flourish.”
But just hours after Miller downplayed Herbstreit’s bold prediction—”He said that,” Miller reminded reporters—both Ohio State and its senior signal-caller were sacked with a season-altering moment. A simple seven-yard throw in the Buckeyes’ afternoon practice session resulted in Miller’s right shoulder falling out of place, a torn labrum that will sideline him for the entirety of the 2014 season.
Unsurprisingly, Herbstreit revised his predictions, forecasting Florida State to repeat as…