Mailbag: Should OSU rest Miller one more week?

The weeks are flying by, and my mail is backing up. Keep those cards and letters coming! There is much to talk about after three weeks of action. Like, what should Ohio State do at quarterback this week. Or, what’s wrong at Nebraska? So, let me big into my mailbag and get after it!

If Ohio State didn’t risk Braxton Miller against California, is it worth it to risk him against Florida A&M this Saturday if Miller isn’t 100 percent? Should OSU rest him to make sure he’s ready for Wisconsin? – Jonathan

I brought this up on Saturday. I think the Buckeyes should just rest Miller vs. FAMU. They don’t need him to beat this FCS team. So, let Miller rest his balky left knee. Kenny Guiton is more than capable of leading this team to victory. As you note, a visit from Wisconsin looms on Sept. 28. And that’s followed by a trip to Northwestern on Oct. 5. Ohio State will need Miller for those games. But, ya know what? I’m starting to think the Buckeyes could win a lot of games with Guiton under center all season.

I look at the talent level at Nebraska and see what should be a top 20 team and Big Ten title contender. The offense is absolutely loaded with talent. But we don’t seem to be getting the best out of them. And it’s very troubling to hear the head coach and both coordinators say after the UCLA game that they don’t know what to do to get things on the right track. Do you think it is more of a coaching problem or a talent problem keeping the Huskers from a championship level? – Bob Jones

That is the conundrum: Is it coaching … or is it talent? Hmmm. Here is where Scout.com ranked the Husker recruiting classes the last five years.

2013: No. 3 Big Ten/No. 11 in nation

2012: 6/49

2011: 2/19

2010: 6 in Big 12/29

2009: 5/33

So, as you can see, there talent level is decent but could be better. The coaching should be scrutinized, too. It’s probably a combo of both, honestly.

[ MORE: Reaction to Bo Pelini's comments, apology ]

The Nebraska defense is actually playing better, but the offense has been a big disappointment so far. Taylor Martinez isn’t himself. He isn’t running well. I think running back Imani Cross should have played much more on Saturday. – David Quinze

Yes, the numbers may not back it up, but I also think the Cornhusker defense is playing better. There is lots of good, young talent along the front seven in players like Vincent Valentine, Avery Moss, Maliek Collins, Josh Banderas, Nathan Gerry and Michael Rose. This defense will be good as time goes on. The offense is a bit more of a mystery. What is the identity of the unit? Running team? A passing team? I agree about Martinez’s running. He looked out of sorts vs. UCLA. If I was the coordinator, I’d give the ball to Ameer Abdullah and Imani Cross more often and build to the passing game from there.

Is Illinois a team that can win the Big Ten this season? – Carmenjackson88

The short answer, no. The long answer, no.

I could blame the officials or the Arizona State player for laying on the ball, but shouldn’t Joel Stave share some blame, too, for Wisconsin’s loss? Who kills the ball or spots the ball like that? Could you see how the ASU player might’ve thought he fumbled? – Vince

I agree with you 100 percent. Make that 110 percent. Yes, there is blame for several parties. The Pac-12 officials should have ran up and taken the ball, marked it and started the play clock. Who was in charge of this crew? They also could have convened in the aftermath and sorted this out. It could not have looked right to the officials on the field. They should have huddled to sort things out. But, they didn’t. Instead, they ran off the field. Shameful.  As for Stave, he should have handed the ball to an official and not put it on the ground. In live action, the ASU players may have thought it was a loose ball. Just an unfortunate situation all the way around.

[ MORE: Video: Mike Pereria, Matt Lepay discuss wild Wisconsin finish ]

Are your recent power rankings a joke? I can tell by your ranking that you have something against Indiana and Purdue, so I guess that makes sense. Michigan is too high. IU and Purdue will not end up Nos. 11 and 12 based on what I saw on Saturday. – Gary

Hey, I love a good joke as much as the next guy. But my power rankings are a highly scientific exercise complete with quadratic equations and thermo dynamics with a few sprinkles of those funky elastic/inelastic econ charts that I always hated. But, you may be correct. Perhaps I shouldn’t have Indiana No. 11 and Purdue No. 12. But, honestly, who should they be ahead of? The Hoosiers have beaten FCS Indiana State and Bowling Green. The Boilermakers have topped FCS Indiana State-barely. I’m not handing out high rankings and bouquets for close losses.

Oh, my, you have Nebraska ranked ahead of Michigan State, even though they gave up 38 unanswered points at home to UCLA? If the Spartans beat Notre Dame in South Bend, you will of course vault MSU ahead of Michigan, who struggled to beat Akron last week, right? – Scott

Why should I race Michigan State up my power rankings based on a big win over FCS Youngstown State? Honestly, the Spartans have proven nothing this year, also beating horrible Western Michigan and South Florida teams. True, Nebraska has no victories of note (Wyoming and Southern Miss), but they played a much better team (UCLA) than MSU did on Saturday. And I’m not gonna reward the Spartans for thumping a FCS foe and move them past a Huskers club that lost to a ranked team. Is beating a low-level nothing team more impressive than losing to a ranked team? C’mon.

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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