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Could Braxton Miller Have Been the Answer to the Syracuse 2015 QB Question?

With word coming from Columbus that Miller is looking to transfer to play his final season, what could he have meant for Syracuse in 2015?

Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Reports out of Columbus say that Ohio State QB Braxton Miller is considering Duke as a destination in 2015. Miller has already been linked to Oregon and Florida State and with his recent graduation, he'll be eligible to play right away as a transfer. Now a month ago, Miller was reported to be returning to Ohio State, but with the emergence of J.T. Barrett and the play of Cardale Jones in the B1G Championship Game, it would seem as though Miller would want to guarantee himself a starting job in his final season.

So, how does Syracuse factor in all of this? It doesn't seem like Syracuse is in the discussion at all, but I'm going to ask if the Orange should have been in the hunt for Miller. Would a player like Miller, even for one year, help to Save Syracuse Football?

Syracuse has some experience with a fifth-year transfer coming in to start at QB, but that's where all similarities between Miller and Greg Paulus end. Paulus was coming off four years of basketball at Duke, but new head coach Doug Marrone wanted to change the Syracuse culture and saw value in Paulus's leadership. During his one year as Orange QB, Paulus had a rating of 132.6, but perhaps more importantly his presence allowed Marrone to reshape the attitude and expectations of the Syracuse football program.  While a 4-8 record and a way-too-familiar reliance on bubble screens makes Paulus' year seem unremarkable to many Orange fans, his QB rating was better than the sophomore and junior seasons of Ryan Nassib, whom we were all pretty thrilled with by career's end, no?

Since Nassib's graduation, the Syracuse QB's have put up ratings of  110.89 in 2013 and 98.79 in 2014 while trying to find a stable solution under center. It is certainly reasonable to be concerned about the Syracuse QB situation in 2015, even with the expected return of Terrel Hunt from injury, as well as the experience gained this season by AJ Long and Austin Wilson. In 2013, Braxton Miller had a QB rating of 158.08 and accounted for 36 touchdowns, which is double what the entire Syracuse offense scored in 2014. An offensive player of Miller's caliber is going to put a lot of pressure on a defense and would open up opportunities for other players to find space or favorable match-ups.

This past season, Boston College brought in a graduate transfer in Florida's Tyler Murphy. Murphy had little success throwing the ball, but with over 1,000 yards on the ground he gave BC an actual offensive weapon. After the departure of 2,000-yard rusher Andre Williams, this was supposed to be a down year for the Eagles, but Murphy led them to a Pinstripe Bowl appearance. And instead of talk about replacing Steve Addazio, BC fans had to worry about the possibility of him leaving for a higher-profile job.


With next year shaping up to be a crucial year for the Syracuse staff, you'd have to wonder what it would be like to be led by a QB who was expected to be a Heisman candidate in 2014. Now, I'm not saying that Miller could equal those numbers in a Syracuse Blue/White/Platinum jersey. But I don't think anyone could argue that he wouldn't be an upgrade and solidify a position of concern heading into 2015. At this point, Syracuse fans should just hope that one QB emerges for the Orange by September, and that Miller decides to head to Oregon so he won't be leading an ACC team next fall.