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 committees and will be handicapping their odds of bringing a few trophies back to campus along the way.
What: The nation's best interior lineman
Credentials: The tandem works seamlessly together on the left side of the Ohio State offensive line, which will ultimately make it hard for any voter to pick between the two of them. But that obviously works to the advantage of the Buckeyes, who know they can count on ferocious effort and a bad attitude with Mewhort and Norwell lining up together to protect Braxton Miller and open holes for an almost unstoppable rushing attack. Mewhort has emerged as one of the most respected leaders on the roster and the heir to John Simon's throne as the captain who goes beyond normal duties to become the "heart and soul" of the program. And while Norwell doesn't typically get as much attention, his development into a reliable blocker on the interior has gone a long way toward helping the spread offense take off. Both guys figure to be even better as the Buckeyes lean on a veteran group of linemen to set the tone this fall.
Head to head: Showcase opportunities against other linemen currently being watched by the committee -- Deandre Coleman (DT, California), Ryan Groy (OT, Wisconsin), DaQuan Jones (DT, Penn State), Taylor Lewan (OT, Michigan), John Urschel (OG, Penn State), Brandon Vitabile (C, Northwestern).
Odds: Teammates competing for the same award can make it more difficult for one to rise up and snag the hardware, and particularly with Mewhort and Norwell standing right next to each other in the formation, it might be difficult for either to get an edge with voters. Complicating matters even more is that center Corey Linsley is another veteran expected to have a big season, and another senior, right guard Marcus Hall, left spring practice as perhaps the most improved player of the bunch. But again, that potential loss individually for the Buckeyes is a huge part of the reason the team is setting the bar so high this season.