Ohio State kicks off its national title defense at Virginia Tech at 8 p.m. on Labor Day evening. Depending on whether or not the Buckeyes receive the opening kickoff, Urban Meyer will reveal his choice of starting quarterback to the world somewhere between 8:15 and 8:30 p.m.
"The first guy that jogs out at Blacksburg," Meyer said at Big Ten Media Days Thursday in Chicago, "will be the starting quarterback."
In the most talked-about (non-Harbaugh division) storyline of the off-season - and, heck, Chris Fowler brought it up during Ohio State's national title win over Oregon in January - the how and why are just as important as the who. "You're talking about two to three very invested people and incredible families," Meyer admitted. And as such, he and his staff owe those involved and their scarlet-clad teammates a detailed and well-reasoned explanation as to who sits and who plays opening night in Blacksburg.
"So, basically, we're keeping score of everything. And everything, obviously, multiplied when you start adding 7-on-7 mini field, third-down periods, and all that," Meyer said, admitting Braxton Miller made things easier on himself, offensive coordinator Ed Warinner and quarterbacks coach Tim Beck by taking himself out of the running.
While charting will provide the science to the decision, Meyer admitted there's also some art to it. In the spring the three-time national champion alluded to using only statistics to make a decision, but he backed off that statement Thursday, saying intangibles will also play into it. And how could they not?
"It's got to be both," Meyer told Fox Sports. "I was on the sideline with those kids. It's how they performed last year, how they performed in the summer, and then we're going to chart everything throughout training camp. It's going to be an accumulation of all that information and then we'll make a decision."
"I've see Cardale Jones on fourth-and-1 against Oregon launch himself as he's looking at the first down marker. That's buried in my brain. I've also seen J.T. Barrett with a second-degree MCL sprain at Penn State, look at me and say, 'I'm not coming out of the game.'"
"They're all embedded, and I just have to make the decision."
He's got 39 days to do it - and counting.