The competition to become the best running back in the Big Ten will soon be underway. The conference is loaded with able bodies, but only one player will be considered the top back in 2013.
Ameer Abdullah of Nebraska has his argument, as does Venric Mark at Northwestern, but Carlos Hyde will be the best the Big Ten has to offer in 2013.
Mark is the hot name for Northwestern after a big 2012 and Abdullah took over for an injured Rex Burkhead last season and gained a bit of the national spotlight. Still, the best back in the Big Ten plays for Ohio State and his knack for finding the end zone is one of the key reasons why.
Hyde began the 2012 season as the Buckeyes' starter but fell to an injury early in the year. He sat out the Cal and UAB games, returning at the end of September against Michigan State.
He still managed 970 rushing yards and 16 touchdowns last fall. He averaged 5.2 yards a carry. Hyde was able to rush for at least one score in each of the last seven games of 2012.
In just the final seven games, he accumulated 14 of his 16 scores.
When the Buckeyes get to the red zone, it is game over with Hyde in the backfield. At 240 pounds, he is a bruiser that plows through defenses. The Buckeyes will often use Hyde close to the goal line, increasing his numbers heading into his senior year.
One of the factors that will help Hyde push for extra yards will be the talented Buckeyes offensive line.
Having a veteran offensive line is often overlooked, but it is one of the most important factors for a team’s success.
This fall, the Buckeyes return four of five starters along the line, giving Hyde a strong and experienced group to lead block for him this fall. It will consistently produce huge holes for him to push through.
As talented a back as Hyde is, without a solid group producing blocks, he would be rendered useless.
The final piece that will help Hyde take the Big Ten over will be the balance in the offense. There are a number of playmakers that will share the load this fall, helping take the focus off the talented back.
With the spotlight shining elsewhere, Hyde will be able to push for a lot of tough yards. Managing 18-20 carries a game is very achievable and historically, when Hyde gets his carries, the Buckeyes win big.
The Ohio State offense will be one of the premier attacks in the Big Ten this fall and it will rely heavily on the balanced approach that made Urban Meyer a legend at Florida.
Braxton Miller will join Hyde in creating an elite backfield heading into 2013.
With Hyde carrying the load, the Buckeyes will march into the BCS.