Does an OSU passing record mean, problem solved?

posted by Bruce Hooley -

J.T. Barrett had his way with UNLV's secondary, which won't remind anyone of Michigan's

You can argue over whether Urban Meyer is the best coach in Ohio State's long and storied football history, but there shouldn't be any debate about Meyer ranking as the most honest coach the Buckeyes have ever had. 

Saturday wasn't much of a contest in Ohio Stadium, which you could have predicted if you did any research on the Buckeyes' overmatched opponent, UNLV. 

The Rebels had already lost a game this year in which they were a 45-point favorite, making them victims of the biggest upset point-spread wise in college football history. 

So you knew Ohio State was going to win, and win it did, 54-21, against the second of three consecutive opponents I've dubbed the Parade of Fools. 

Army, UNLV and this week's opponent on the road, Rutgers, couldn't beat OSU if they combined rosters and you spotted them a three-touchdown lead. 

The tale of this Buckeyes season will be told in late October and November, when stiffer opponents like Penn State, Iowa and Michigan loom on the schedule. 

Beating UNLV like a rented mule proves nothing. 

Sure, quarterback J.T. Barrett threw for five touchdowns and he and backup Dwayne Haskins combined for a school-record 474 passing yards. 

But if that convinces you the Buckeyes have solved all their throwing woes, then I hope you're never approached to buy beach-front property in Montana. 

It's one thing for me to tell you that cold, hard truth. It's another for Urban Meyer to tell you that. 

But that's exactly what Meyer said afterward...that the Buckeyes really didn't, and won't, prove anything until they perform well against competition closer to their own level. 

"Let's go do that against a team that's equally matched,'' Meyer said. ''That's my challenge every day.'' 

Can you imagine Jim Tressel, Earle Bruce or Woody Hayes leveling with you like that? 

Neither can I. 

Of course, it's better to have Barrett look like a capable thrower than the struggling passer he appeared in the loss to Oklahoma. 

And there's probably a little less heat on him now that Haskins threw an interception UNLV returned for a touchdown. 

But can Barrett do anywhere close to what he did against UNLV against an opponent that looks like it's mastered elementary pass defense concepts? 

We don't know and won't know for awhile. 

Ohio State still has three games and an off-week before playing Penn State, which has one of the nation's best offenses. Four weeks after, OSU plays at Michigan, which has one of the nation's best defenses. 

The Buckeyes offense will have to be special in both those games to survive and be in position to reach the College Football Playoff. 

But not to worry. 

Urban is on the case. 

PHOTO: GETTY IMAGES 

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