By now, you've heard the Braxton Miller to Oregon rumors that have been circulating around the internet for the past few weeks. The rumors have intensified the past couple of days. In many ways, they make a lot of sense: Marcus Mariota is all but sure to exit Oregon a year early for the NFL, J.T. Barrett has had a fantastic season for Ohio State, and seems secure in the starting quarterback position, which would leave Miller on the sidelines after he returns from injury next season.
Ohio State has a freshman quarterback in Barrett who is already posting numbers superior to that of Miller. Barrett has completed 65% of his passes this season--surpassing Miller's career high of 63%, and has already surpassed Miller's career high in passing yards by more than 600, and Miller's career high in touchdown's by nine. And while Barrett is not the runner that Miller is, he has a better ypc than Miller did as a freshman and, with 849 yards and three games to play, is a good bet to surpass a thousand rushing yards on the season.
Urban Meyer will be faced a decision next fall between a sophomore and a senior with similar statistical profiles. Given that choice, you go with the sophomore every time. So it makes total sense that Miller would be looking for a new home. And given that Miller's biggest asset is his speed, it makes total sense that he would look at Oregon as a potential destination. With Mariota almost certainly leaving, it seems like a good fit.
Andrew Greif of the Oregonian investigated, and found that so far, there is nothing to it:
Here's what I know, after talking with a source Tuesday evening. There has been no contact between Oregon and either Miller or anyone acting on his behalf. Also, Scott Frost was not on the road recruiting at all during the last bye week, let alone in Ohio.
This all makes sense. Nobody on either end has any reason to pursue this until their seasons are over. Miller still has to earn his Ohio State degree to be eligible for a penalty-free transfer.
This marriage could make sense from a skill set standpoint, but I'd still bet against it. Miller needs one thing for a transfer to make sense for him--a guaranteed starting position. I don't think Oregon is the kind of program to offer that. The Ducks have always been a school that reloads at QB, and has several youngsters--Jeff Lockie will be a junior next season, Morgan Mahalak a redshirt freshman, and incoming freshman Travis Waller. Oregon preaches competition at every level. Are the Ducks going to guarantee Miller a starting position over talented players who are already in-house? Is Miller prepared to transfer to Oregon and ride the bench if he's beat out for the job?
The thought of Miller in the Oregon offense is certainly intriguing. But while it may seem like a match made in heaven, there is considerable risk for Miller to go somewhere if he is not guaranteed a starting position. I would be quite surprised if Oregon were to offer that guarantee.