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By Matt McCoy
Braxton Miller was in the Heisman Trophy conversation most of the year. At one point in an in-season Heisman survey he rose as high as second, but when the finalists were announced Monday night, Miller was not one of the three invited to the Heisman ceremony.
It's not a huge surprise. In two different Heisman straw polls last week Miller was fourth in one and fifth in the other. His chances of getting to New York hinged on how many finalists were invited, which depends on how close the vote is. As many as five have been invited in the past but as it turned out this year, only Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, the favorite, Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Kansas State's Collin Klein.
Even though he's not among the top three, the fact that Miller was part of serious Heisman discussion this year was surreal to the sophomore quarterback.
"I heard (my name) a few times in the front side of the season," Miller said. "I really didn't pay too much attention to it but some of the guys would always make a joke about it when they'd see it on T.V...I just have to keep working hard."
Basketball Bucks drop three spots
Ohio State's five point loss at Duke last week cost the basketball Buckeyes three spots in this week's AP poll. Ohio State is now seventh behind Indiana, Duke, Michigan, Syracuse, Louisville and Florida.
610 WTVN basketball analyst and former Ohio State captain Tony White calls this team "a work in progress," and while he likes the talent and sees potential, White thinks Ohio State's current rank is a little high.
"This team is talented but overrated," Tony said. "In my opinion they're a 15-ish team, with the talent to be a top five team come March but a lot of things have to happen between now and then."
What about Q?
Among the things Tony said has to happen for this Buckeye team to reach its potential is to find another consistant scorer to support Deshaun Thomas. Tony's top candidate is Lenzelle Smith Jr. who he said needs to become more consistant.
The most talked about candidate by fans who call us at WTVN or offer opinions on blogs and websites is sophomore LaQuinton Ross, who had a career high 22 points off the bench in Saturday's blowout win over Northern Kentucky.
Following the Duke loss, in fact, there was chatter from fans that Ross should have played more in the second half when the Buckeyes struggled.
Tony, however, said he does not believe, at this stage in his career, Ross is ready for big minutes because "there are two ends of the floor."
"LaQuinton Ross can shoot. That's his primary asset," Tony said. "But he is such a basic player on the defensive end. He is still learning basic things. He's making a lot of mistakes on the defensive end and looks lost at times. He is right now a defensive liability for this team. Good coaches know that defense wins basketball games so Thad Matta is going to lean towards Sam Thompson and play him more and give him more opportunities to develop a jump shot. The kid has super athletic talent and he can really play defense."
I am a voter in the Associated Press basketball poll and have the Buckeyes eighth this week, a spot lower than they are in the overall survey. My AP ballot is listed below with each teams actual rank in parentheses.
1) Indiana (1)
2) Duke (2)
3) Syracuse (4)
4) Michigan (3)
5) Florida (6)
6) Arizona (8)
7) Louisville (5)
8) Ohio State (7)
9) Kansas (9)
10) Gonzaga (10)
11) Missouri (12)
12) Cincinnati (11)
13) Illinois (13)
14) San Diego State (17)
15) Minnesota (14)
16) Georgetown (15)
17) New Mexico (18)
18) Creighton (16)
19) Oregon (NR)
20) UNLV (21)
21) North Carolina (20)
22) Connecticut (NR)
23) Michigan State (19)
24) Virginia Tech (NR)
25) North Carolina State (25)
**The AP has the following teams ranked that are not on my ballot: Notre Dame (22) Oklahoma State (23) and Wichita State (24)**