Ohio State football: 5 reasons the Buckeyes will beat USC

INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Quarterback J.T. Barrett
INDIANAPOLIS, IN - DECEMBER 02: Quarterback J.T. Barrett /
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2. Sam Darnold isn’t as good as advertised.

One thing the Pac-12 is known for is their ability to produce quarterback prospects. This is something many other conferences tend to struggle with. The Pac-12 may not have the 100 point total games week in and week out like the Big 12 has but they make up for it with refined quarterback play.

The fact is that Sam Darnold may not be as good as what he is perceived to be. He is still a great quarterback and has shown that much but let’s slow the roll for a second. Darnold entered this season as one of the front runners for the Heisman trophy. He was also on the preseason All-American team.

Since then, Darnold has vanished like Houdini more times than not as his production didn’t stack up to the hype he was receiving. In retrospect, it’s hard to believe he would ever live up to that hype considering it was built on a win streak last season against Pac-12 defenses, a miserable Notre Dame team, and a solid bowl performance in a high scoring game.

Darnold’s production has dwindled since last season as he’s thrown more interceptions and less touchdowns. However, he has thrown for more yards than previously. This lapse in production has been especially evident in the non-conference games against Texas and Notre Dame. Darnold turned the ball over twice in each of those games.

Though, Darnold’s team may be part of the blame for his pitfalls with key contributors from last season leaving for the draft. Darnold did not have the services of JuJu Smith-Schuster this season. He was a major factor in their Rose Bowl win over Penn State with 133 yards and a touchdown.

The turnovers and losses the Trojans suffered were huge hits to Darnold’s Heisman campaign. Even with the Heisman race opening up in the end with many others dropping out, Darnold still couldn’t make a case to be at least a finalist. The Buckeyes should still yield to the Trojans’ offense and Darnold with caution though as there is still plenty of flash in the barrel. Expect the Bucks to be able to contain Darnold and the Trojans’ offense.