Virginia Tech actually led top-ranked Ohio State at the half Monday night before the Buckeyes stepped on the gas and left the Hokies in the dust, 42-24. I suspect this will be the closest anyone will get to Urban Meyer's team until the playoff.
Ohio State was averaging almost 10 yards a play in the first half, but was down 17-14 due primarily to two turnovers. Then Braxton Miller, OSU's old two-time Big Ten offensive MVP, took over, turning in two long, dazzling touchdowns at his new position of receiver. Those highlights should have Big Ten defensive coordinators cringing. He's Exhibit A for why I don't see anyone in the Big Ten touching the Buckeyes.
A few weeks ago I ran into a couple of NFL scouts who had just been to Columbus. They were gushing about the Buckeyes' talent. I asked them, who (as in which player) have you seen who you think is very overrated?
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"You know who's not overrated?" said the older NFL scout. "Ohio State. They are that good."
And they both arched their eyebrows, as if they'd seen something that took them off guard.
The other scout talked up how quickly it seemed Miller had taken to receiver. Monday night after Miller's first catch, a diving effort for a 24-yard gain, that scout texted me: "Told you Miller has natural ball skills."
I checked back with that scout early in the fourth quarter to ask about the show Miller was putting on.
"Unreal. Versatile athlete that is excellent in the open field with natural hands. Still has to work on routes but the arrow is up."
Right, Miller is only going to get better this fall. So is Cardale Jones, who remember was just playing his fourth college game Monday night. His huge arm, stature in the pocket and mobility present all sorts of problems for defenses too. With more reps will come more polish. And don't forget the Buckeyes' almost 600-yard eruption against one of the fastest -- and best -- defenses in the country came despite the fact that Ohio State was missing three talented receivers due to a one-game suspension. The biggest weapon sitting out was wideout Jalin Marshall, who is another game-breaker who leaves tacklers grabbing air.
The other missing piece Monday night was defensive end Joey Bosa, the best defensive player in the Big Ten. As talented as his understudy Sam Hubbard is, he's getting his first real college action and doesn't have the experience or the talent that Bosa has. Add Bosa in and this Buckeye team looks even nastier. He will draw much more attention from opposing blocking schemes and that'll free up OSU's terrific linebacking trio and the rest of its front seven to make more plays.
Michigan State (No. 5) is the only ranked team at this point looming on the Buckeyes' schedule. That game is in friendly territory for OSU in Columbus. The Spartans are better at QB with Connor Cook than Va. Tech is, but for as excellent as MSU is along the D-line (so are the Hokies), it's a stretch to think they have a cover man as good as Kendall Fuller or as much speed as Bud Foster's D. And that's why I don't see the Spartans or anyone else in the Big Ten slowing down Urban Meyer's team.
The Hokies seemed to miss a lot more tackles than normal Monday night, but a lot of that is a credit to the caliber of athletes they were trying to corral, whether it was the 250-pound Jones, Miller or the dangerous Ezekial Elliott who has now produced three touchdown runs of 80 yards or longer in OSU's past four games. That stat is even crazier when you consider those three big runs came against Wisconsin, Alabama and Va. Tech -- three of the best run defenses in college football.
Elliott ran for an eye-popping 232 yards per game vs. Wisconsin, Alabama and Oregon to spark the Buckeyes' title run last season. He wasn't a focal point against the Hokies. He had 122 yards and a touchdown on just 11 carries, but that's because Foster was hellbent to take him out of the game. It was "Pick your poison" and Miller did the trick.
Good luck to Big Ten defensive coordinators this fall trying to deal with this show.
Bruce Feldman is a senior college football reporter and columnist for FOXSports.com and FOX Sports 1. He is also a New York Times Bestselling author. His new book, The QB: The Making of Modern Quarterbacks, came out in October, 2014. Follow him on Twitter @BruceFeldmanCFB and Facebook.