COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The wait is almost over. The season is finally creeping up again, and the annual release of preseason watch lists for the biggest awards in college football confirms it -- and helps provide a useful distraction during the final month leading up to the start of training camp. BuckeyeNation will be tracking all the Ohio State players being tracked by the various awards committees and will be handicapping their odds of bringing a few trophies back to campus along the way.
What: The nation's top college football player
Credentials: Miller's name will be on every watch list he's eligible for after his banner sophomore campaign, a season that nearly ended with a visit to New York for the presentation of the biggest trophy of them all, the Heisman. The Maxwell committee is at the head of the line this offseason, though, and Miller's dynamic ability with both his arms and legs figure to make him a viable option for the hardware if he continues to progress in the spread offense the way the Buckeyes expect. With Miller around and dominating the attention, Hyde never gets top billing -- but he proved last year how effective he can be as an every-down tailback, and his rushing numbers should improve during his final year with the Buckeyes. It's the partnership between the two in the backfield that helps make both Miller and Hyde so dangerous on the ground. At least heading into the season they're able to share the accolades on a watch list.
Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other preseason targets for the honor -- Devin Gardner and Taylor Lewan (Michigan), Venric Mark (Northwestern), Adam Muema (San Diego State), Branden Oliver (Buffalo), James White (Wisconsin) and Zach Zwinak (Penn State).
Odds: The Buckeyes aren't going to be able to split the award, and even if Hyde exceeds his 17 touchdowns from last fall while finally giving Urban Meyer his first 1,000-yard running back, Miller is almost certainly going to be the face of the program and is likely to earn more of the vote. And if he does take the next step as a passer and improves his accuracy, the junior could find himself in position to claim an individual trophy at the end of the year -- especially if the Buckeyes are in line to play for some team hardware.