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Aug 20, 2014 04:04 PM EDT

Braxton Miller Injury Report: Heisman and College Football Playoff Races Now Altered


The Ohio State Buckeyes are still a high-powered college football team without Braxton Miller, but their chances at playing in the first-ever four-team playoff just took a major hit.

According to ESPN, Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer confirmed what many believed, that J.T. Barrett, a redshirt freshman, will be the team's starting quarterback. Miller was a favorite to contend for the Heisman Trophy and was coming off his best season yet as a junior.

After practice Wednesday, Meyer told reporters, "Quarterback is an important cog, but that's exactly what is - a cog. It's not the team."

Last season, the Buckeyes had one of the best offenses in the sport, featuring a lethal attack on the ground and through the air. Ohio State also had an outsider's chance to make the National Championship game until they lost to Michigan State for the Big Ten title game.

Now, while Michigan State looks poised to make a run at the inaugural College Football Playoff, Ohio State may be in jeopardy of missing a chance to play for the Big Ten title. This season, they play road games against Penn State and Michigan State and a home game to close the season against Michigan.

Three losses may be enough for the Buckeyes to miss out on the Big Ten title game, especially since Wisconsin appears to have a much easier schedule than other teams in the conference.

Ohio State came into the season ranked fifth overall in the Associated Press' preseason poll and they could wind up in the top 25 still.

Las Vegas sportsbook odds also had Miller as the third mostly likely player to win the Heisman, after Jameis Winston and Marcus Mariota. Miller's injury could open the door for Bryce Petty and Brett Hundley to finish as finalists for the coveted award.

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