Saturday, June 26, 2010

Great Expectations: Can Terrelle Pryor Win the Heisman and Lead Ohio State to the BCS Championship This Year?

By Kyle Strittholt—Featured Contributor

Terrelle Pryor has been hyped since he was in high school because of how much of an amazing athlete he was. There is still no question about it.

He's one of the best athletes in college football, but can he finally put it all together for his team this season and be an effective quarterback?

He did so against a very good Oregon Ducks defense in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day. In that game, Pryor had his best performance in college, throwing 266 yards through the air and 76 yards on the ground. He had two passing touchdowns and a 62.2 completion percentage.

This showed that he had it in him to become a great quarterback, but he has to carry it into this season.

Had he played as he did on that day during the whole season, there's no doubt the Buckeyes would have been undefeated.

This season, Pryor is considered by some to be a Heisman front runner in large part because of his performance in Pasadena.

I feel that Pryor has a great supporting cast in the receiving corp, as well as depth at the running back position. The Buckeyes' offense will look better this season, and they're returning the lump sum of their defense.

The Buckeyes are ranked second in most every preseason poll. With a friendly schedule other than games vs. Miami-FL, Iowa, and Wisconsin, it would seem as though the Bucks have a better than decent shot at returning to the National Championship game for the third time in five years.

The Hurricanes have a very good squad this season, and they'll be pumped up to play the team that devastated them in the 2002 National Title game. It was a completely different team, but I'm sure the coaches will keep that in their minds.

I look for this to perhaps be the game of the week, and I also expect the Buckeyes to win. They will be focused on the goal ahead, and the rust should be shaken off by this game.

The Buckeyes have the advantage of playing a rebuilding Penn State team and a Michigan team that's still on the rocks. Without Michigan State on the schedule, the games at Wisconsin and at Iowa are the only ones I see as possible potential obstacles.

The key to running the table is Pryor. He's has to show maturity and be the leader.

It's going to take him developing into an effective passer, which will open holes in the running game. He doesn't have to become a pure or perfect passer. He just needs to more efficient and better in his decision making.

The biggest difference between Pryor and Troy Smith is not the size or style of play. It's the way Smith secured the ball. He never seemed to have ill-timed turnovers.

I didn't cringe when Smith chucked a ball down field, but I do every time Pryor goes to launch it. Smith could make that play with limited turnovers, but that is something Pryor hasn't figured out yet.

Smith had 13 interceptions in his career at Ohio State, Pryor has 14 after his second season (11 interceptions this past year).

Whoever wins the turnover battle usually wins the game, and Pryor needs to make sure he uses better judgment and throws the ball away instead of giving it away when there's nothing there.

It's not as simple as it seems, but if he can be effective, the Buckeyes will win the close games and perhaps make it to the National Championship.

There are a lot of great players in college football, but as of late, the Heisman has been given to the players that take their team far, and it will take a trip to the title game in order for Pryor to win.

This is Pryor's junior season, so if he doesn't win it this season, he still has a definite shot next season.

Some may think the Buckeyes are overrated, but they have the firepower this season to make a lot of noise across the college football landscape this fall.

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