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C.J. Stroud is not the reason Ohio State lost to Oregon and he has played very well, but you are not wrong for wanting to explore the other options. I recently saw the following tweet:
I don’t think anyone is saying CJ played poorly… Fair or not the standard he’s held to is Justin Fields.
And there’s work to get there https://t.co/yhnREkOyX1
— Bobby Carpenter (@Bcarp3) September 16, 2021
Most people commenting are saying it is an unfair statement from former Buckeye linebacker Bobby Carpenter because Justin Fields is arguably the greatest quarterback to play for Ohio State. I agree finding a talent like Fields is rare, but Carpenter is 100% right and I struggle to see why people don’t agree.
Let’s look at Stroud’s play through three games. First, it needs to be noted that he is playing with arguably the greatest receiving corps in college football and Ohio State history. Through two games Stroud has suffered a few rough overthrows including two with under eight minutes left against Oregon, with one turning into an interception. Stroud has also already thrown two interceptions this season. Through two games, Stroud’s completion percentage sits at 62.4%. Last season Fields was sitting at a completion percentage of 87.76% through three games. I understand Fields was a freak, but it should be noted.
Now let’s look at the offensive production overall. The defense is getting all of the heat and rightfully so, but the Ohio State offense gained 612 total yards and only came away with four touchdowns against Oregon. That is not ideal. They were also 2 of 5 on fourth downs, also not an ideal statistic. If those stats don’t have you questioning the offense maybe this will.
The Buckeyes scored 28 points against Oregon at home with their two most valuable defenders out, one being arguably the best defender in the country. The week prior, Fresno State scored 24 points against this defense in Oregon with those two defenders actually playing! Maybe we can take into consideration that the Ducks were looking ahead, but at that point, we are just making excuses.
C.J. Stroud was not much better, and in fact digressed against a far more inferior opponent in Tulsa, who lost to an FCS school two weeks prior.
What are the options?
So what are the options behind C.J. Stroud?
Ohio State’s quarterback room is LOADED
Quinn Ewers pic.twitter.com/OUzAVZQXGG
— Barstool OSU (@BarstoolOSU) August 2, 2021
This is not your dad’s Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback room. Gone are the days where we are forced to deal with average quarterback play or even great quarterback play. The Ohio State Buckeyes should strive for nothing less than elite quarterback play.
The tweet above illustrates the insane talent that they have to work with and in the day and age of the transfer portal and NIL deals, if these young guns don’t get a shot they will move along. It is almost a guarantee that one of these guys is going to transfer and it could possibly be two. Quinn Ewers was a higher ranked recruit than Trevor Lawrence was and has signed a million-dollar NIL deal, do you think he is going to sit around and wait patiently?
I am not saying that C.J. Stroud isn’t the answer, but I am saying that this staff needs to be 100% certain that they make the right call in this situation and they should look under every rock for options. Stroud has been great, but can we get elite?
I feel confident that Dwayne Haskins was the best option for this offense in 2018, but Joe Burrow became one of the greatest quarterbacks in college football history and helped give LSU a national championship. Now I understand that team was stacked, but you would be insane not to wonder what life would have been like with Burrow.
Is Ohio State on the same level as Alabama and Clemson?
Bobby Carpenter is right, Justin Fields is the standard and if he isn’t, then the Buckeyes are just simply not on the same level as Alabama and Clemson. Those two programs have shown no qualms about moving on from stars to even bigger stars.
Let’s look at Alabama and its history. Jalen Hurts took the Crimson Tide to a 13-1 record and into the College Football Playoffs as a true sophomore (same year as Stroud who is a redshirt freshman) and was benched at halftime of the national championship for Tua Tagovailoa. Nick Saban benched the dude in the middle of the title game!
Before moving on to Clemson, I want to remind everyone that Mac Jones was drafted No. 15 overall in the 2021 draft and Tua Tagovailoa was drafted No. 5 overall in 2020.
That being said, Kelly Bryant started the 2017 season and guided the Tigers all the way to the College Football Playoff, where they lost to the eventual national champions in Alabama. Bryant led Clemson to a 12-2 record. In 2018 Bryant started the first four games, and despite Clemson sitting at 4-0 and the Tigers coming off a 49-21 victory over Georgia Tech, Bryant was benched for Trevor Lawrence.
Technically, Bryant was benched after two drives against Georgia Tech, but the point still remains. Bryant led this team to the playoffs and was undefeated the following year, but Clemson still decided to move on.
To recap Clemson’s draft history, Trevor Lawrence was just drafted first overall in 2021 and Deshaun Watson was drafted No. 12 overall in 2017.
Alabama has had more success than Ohio State in recent years and this is one of the reasons. Nick Saban moves on and knows when and how to explore his options. The fans talking about how comparisons to Justin Fields aren’t fair are not being realistic. If Justin Fields isn’t the standard, then Ohio State can’t be viewed on the same field as Alabama and Clemson.