Ohio State's Insane Depth Makes Them No. 1 Contender for Alabama's Title

Andrew Coppens@@andycoppensContributor ISeptember 16, 2013

BERKELEY, CA - SEPTEMBER 14:  Kenny Guiton #13 of the Ohio State Buckeyes throws a 47-yard touchdown to teammate Devin Smith #9 (not pictured) during the first quarter against the California Golden Bears at California Memorial Stadium on September 14, 2013 in Berkeley, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images

Another week without Braxton Miller behind center and another reminder that this isn't the 2012 version of the Ohio State Buckeyes as Kenny Guiton led OSU to a 52-34 victory over California. 

Last season, that result may have gone the other way as it took a Herculean effort from Braxton Miller to beat the Golden Bears at home. 

However, this year what we are seeing is a team that is as deep as any in the country. 

One has to ask a simple question—would Alabama be just as good as it is now without A.J. McCarron under center? 

Chances are pretty high that the 'Bama offense would miss a beat or two. That hasn't happened to Ohio State's offense with the loss of Miller. 

Redshirt senior Kenny Guiton has simply been spectacular in relief, so much so that after a career best 276 yards and four touchdown performance against Cal he was named the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Week.

What also seems to get lost in the shuffle of Miller's absence is that all of this is happening sans Carlos Hyde as well. The second leading rusher from a season ago will make his return this week against Florida A&M, adding yet another weapon for offensive coordinator Tom Herman to play around with. 

Minus the top two rushers from last season would likely doom most teams, especially against a team that is capable of putting up points at will on their own like Cal can.

However, it hasn't been an issue at all for the Buckeyes as they trail just Wisconsin in team rushing, averaging 285 yards a game on the ground as a team and have put up an average of 44.7 points a game, good enough for second best in the Big Ten.

In fact, those numbers make it fair to ask the question of exactly what role Carlos Hyde will play in this offense now that he is back. After all, we've seen a freshman make a splash and Jordan Hall has been very important in the hybrid role.

It's hard to see exactly how many carries Hyde will take away from that group, especially considering their importance so far and how explosive both have been too. 

Oh, and so far we've only been talking about the offensive side of the ball. 

Let us not forget that the Buckeyes defense has dealt with a number of high profile situations as well.

Whether it has been defensive linemen like Tommy Schutt and Adolphous Washington missing some action up front or Bradley Roby and C.J. Barnett missing action in the secondary, the defense has yet to be at full strength either. 

All of that adds up to a team that is scarily good. 

99.9 percent of college football teams wouldn't survive missing their leading running back, let alone also losing a Heisman Trophy frontrunner, two of the best defensive backs in the conference and two of the most experienced members of the defensive line. 

Yet, that's exactly what Ohio State has done and they've done it with Urban Meyer's recruits for the most part and that has been the major difference between what went on last season and what is going on now. 

Urb's guys are in place and the system he believes in can work to it's fullest. That simply wasn't the case last year.

Obviously Kenny Guiton isn't a Meyer recruit, but names like Dontre Wilson and Joey Bosa have stepped up and helped the Buckeyes not miss a beat and they are just two examples of "Meyer's guys" making this team even more dangerous. 

So, as Alabama stands atop the college football world, the deepest team in America may actually reside in Big Ten country. And that depth may be exactly what makes them the most dangerous team to Alabama's stranglehold on the college football world.


*Andy Coppens in the lead Big Ten writer for Bleacher Report. You can follow him on Twitter here.


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