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Michigan vs. Ohio State: Braxton Miller Is Better Than Denard Robinson Ever Was

COLUMBUS, OH - NOVEMBER 03:  Braxton Miller #5 of the Ohio State Buckeyes runs the ball in for a touchdown against the Illinois Illini on November 3, 2012 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Ohio State defeated Illinois 52-22. (Photo by Kirk Irwin/Getty Images)
Kirk Irwin/Getty Images
Tim BielikSenior Analyst INovember 19, 2012

Saturday's season finale for the Ohio State Buckeyes will not only be the first time Brady Hoke faces Urban Meyer, but it will also be the second and final time Braxton Miller faces Denard Robinson.

Robinson has had quite an interesting career, taking the college football world by storm as a sophomore and then winning the 2012 Sugar Bowl as a junior over Virginia Tech.

His senior year hasn't gone so well due to tough losses to Alabama and Notre Dame, and then an injury that will leave him less than 100 percent before his final Big Ten game.

On the other side, Braxton Miller has had quite a sophomore season, leading the bowl-ineligible Buckeyes to an 11-0 season and possibly earning a trip to New York City as a Heisman Trophy finalist. He won't win it this year, but he should at least be at the Downtown Athletic Club in a few weeks.

Miller has had some disappointing performances, including in Saturday's OT win at Wisconsin, but he's also had big games as well, such as the Week 6 blowout over Nebraska.

All in all, though, he's been the quarterback of a team that's one win away from a perfect season. Only Everett Golson and Notre Dame can say the same thing.

The amount of growth that Miller has made from his freshman year to where he is now is incredible, and he's been looking better than Robinson has ever looked, particularly as a passer.

Miller has not been particularly deadly as a passer, but he has made great strides throughout the season and showed significant improvement. His passing repertoire has been more of a traditional spread involving all sorts of routes.

The Michigan offense in the past two years has been criticized for being a "jump ball" offense, which Robinson is very good at.

But he doesn't have that refined of a passing game, even after three seasons as the starting quarterback. At times, he still looks like an athlete who can throw the ball.

The other big thing that makes Miller a better player at this point is that he pretty much is the guy on the offense, whereas Robinson has plenty of established weapons.

Defenses can focus solely on Miller and try to take him away, because they're not particularly worried about him at times, which is a bit of an indictment of the lack of talent around him. Yet, he continues to put up big numbers.

On the other hand, Robinson has good players like Roy Roundtree and Fitzgerald Toussaint to help take some pressure off of him, which makes his job a little easier.

Miller will occasionally get someone like Carlos Hyde or Devin Smith to have a big day. But the Ohio State offense truly goes as Miller goes, which means if he's on, the offense is going to have a big day.

When he gets some help, opponents are going to have quite a few worries.

At this point, Miller has shown more of an ability to be a one-man show on offense than Robinson, and he can throw more effectively in a more diverse passing attack.

He has about two more seasons to become more familiar with Meyer's spread offense, which is a scary proposition for the rest of the Big Ten.

If Robinson's health wasn't a concern, we may have a better gauge of who is better on the field. Instead, we do have a promising matchup between Miller and current Michigan starter Devin Gardner.

But there is little doubt that Miller has grown leaps and bounds from last year's loss at Michigan, and he has surpassed Denard Robinson in the process.

 

Follow me on Twitter @bielik_tim for the latest college football news and updates.

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