1. The Buckeyes were left for dead after a week 2 home loss against Virginia Tech (which I actually was in attendance for). However, they currently sit at 9-1 and are back in the top 10. Do you think this team will be in the College Football Playoff come the end of the season?
Alexis: I think the stars need to align perfectly for this to happen. They have a better chance after the MSU win, but a lot of people around the league still consider the Buckeyes over-rated; they have an uphill climb to make it into the Playoffs.
Brad: There's a lot of football left to play for everyone, and Ohio State has a tough road to winning out with Michigan and Wisconsin/Nebraska/Minnesota on the horizon, but Ohio State's wandered into a championship game this way before.
2. QB J.T. Barrett has been a revelation this year ever since the aforementioned Va Tech loss, and the Texan had no trouble adapting to snowy conditions in Minnesota last Saturday. What have been the keys to Barrett's progression, and does he even have an outside shot at a Heisman this year?
Alexis: Barrett's discipline is his and the team's greatest asset. He prepares diligently and has a confidence about any situation. He has a better shot at the Heisman after last weekend; he's on target to breaking most Ohio State/Big Ten records out there and he's not slowing down. His completion percentage and other stats are only slightly under Mariotta so I'm not sure he'll end up with the trophy this year, but 95% chance he will in his career.
Brad: Brad: The improved play of the o-line is allowing Barrett to shine now, too. He has time to throw and the running game is fully functional. Barrett is much better when he doesn't have to carry the offense himself as opposing linebackers close in on him.
3. Other than "Can OSU reach the playoff?", the other big question going forward for the Buckeyes is what will happen when Braxton Miller returns next season. Can he and Barrett co-exist as QBs, will one of them have to move positions, or will Miller transfer to finish off his career elsewhere?
Alexis: Either way I would hate to be on the coaching staff and have to answer this question for real, but I would like to see J.T. Barrett under center and Braxton Miller change to tight end (I know this will never happen). You can visually see Barrett going through his progression of receivers on each play which is something that was extremely difficult for Miller to do; Barrett throws when Miller would've tucked and run.
Brad: I think OSU's smartest play is to bring back Miller at QB but keep Barrett working. Miller has shown a propensity for getting hurt, so there's no reason to think that Barrett won't have plenty of playtime next year, same as Guiton did last year. When Miller graduates, we move smoothly into the Barrett Era, part 2.
4. OSU has also done well on the defensive side of the ball this season. Other than DE Joey " ¯\_(ツ)_/¯" Bosa, who else should the struggling Hoosier offense watch out for on Saturday?
Alexis: Michigan State was the first team to effectively double team Bosa, but that just allowed others to shine. Michael Bennett has proven time and again that he can be a beast on the front line; he comes out fast for such a big guy.
Brad: Doran Grant was called out by Urban Meyer as an All-Big Ten candidate.
5. At 3-7 and our starting QB out for the season, this has been a lost year for the Hoosiers, other than the great play of RB Tevin Coleman, who blasted Rutgers for over 300 yards last weekend. Are there any holes or flaws in this year's OSU team that we could potentially exploit?
Brad: Ohio State's run defense is suspect at times, and there have been special teams turnovers in the past two games that stirred up tweet-storms. Ohio State's offense has covered up these flaws, but they remain even this late in the season.
6. For the few Hoosier fans who may be making the trip to the Horseshoe this weekend, can you give any suggestions for places to go or bars to check out while in Columbus?
Alexis: Just down the street from the Horseshoe, at the corner of Lane Ave and High St, are two great bars for before and after the game BW3's and The Little Bar. If they're looking for a place to have a semi-tailgating experience, The Little Bar is the perfect spot.
Brad: If you like a slightly older crowd, check out Out-R-Inn, a notorious grad student bar. To stay warm, stop into the Varsity Club on Lane Avenue, right across the street from the stadium.
7. Basketball talk: To the delight of everyone except for OSU fans and Dan Dakich, Aaron Craft is no longer a Buckeye. Who will be the biggest playmakers for the Buckeyes this season, and how will the team fare in a B1G that aside from Wisconsin seems wide-open?
Brad: Sam Thompson can still rattle backboards and his jump shot is coming on strong. Shannon Scott is just as tenacious a defender as Aaron Craft was, so watch out for him. Freshman D'Angelo Russell is a fully developed player who can score from anywhere on the floor.
8. Prediction time: Can OSU cover the 30-point spread at home against IU on Saturday?
At the time I wrote the questions, the spread in this game was still 30.
Both writers think OSU will cover this spread, which has now risen to 34.5.
Thanks to Alexis and Brad for answering my questions, and thank you also to Matt Brown of LGHL for coordinating this Q&A. The Hoosiers face Ohio State on BTN at noon on Saturday. My Prediction? PAIN.