COLUMBUS, Ohio -- J.T. Barrett was beaten out by Cardale Jones last year in one of the most intriguing training-camp quarterback races in the nation. Now, he is Ohio States undisputed starter and leader of a team thats reloading after the departure of 16 starters.Barretts value to the team cant be overstated. The Buckeyes fortunes likely will ride on the 21-year-old Texans ability to recapture some of the magic from the 2014 national championship season.With a freshman likely starting at tailback -- no more Ezekiel Elliott to carry the offensive load -- and a stable of unproven wide receivers, the Buckeyes will look to Barrett for guidance and big plays. Hes a junior, but on this team hes one of the veterans. Hes been chosen a captain for the second straight season.Last year we had a lot more older guys, of course, and this year Im trying to help the younger guys get into our standard of how we play here at Ohio State, Barrett said, and make sure that they understand we dont have rebuilding years. The expectations are not going to change because you all dont have experience.As a freshman, Barrett stepped up when Braxton Miller reinjured his shoulder in training camp. He led the Buckeyes to an 11-1 record before breaking his leg in the last regular season game against Michigan. Jones returned and Ohio State won its next three games and the national title.Last season was unsteady for Barrett. He and Jones battled for the starting job in training camp. Jones won, only to have Barrett replace him in the eighth game. Just after regaining the starting job, Barrett was suspended for a game after an arrest for driving under the influence.The Buckeyes stumbled against Michigan State for their only loss but rebounded with wins at Michigan and in the Fiesta Bowl against Notre Dame to finish 12-1 and ranked No. 4 in the nation. Barrett completed 19 of 31 passes for 211 yards and two touchdowns and 96 yards rushing in the 44-28 win over the Fighting Irish.He did not have a great training camp last year, for whatever reason, coach Urban Meyer said. There was a lot of distraction with Cardale and with whos going to play quarterback, and he was still overcoming a pretty serious injury that took a long time to heal, so he didnt have the spring reps that he needed. He did this year, and I anticipate hell be as good a quarterback as weve had, because its his show -- he knows it and hes prepared.Barrett is 15-2 as Ohio States starter, with a completion percentage of 64.2. Hes averaged more than 220 yards per game passing and 82 yards rushing in his 17 starts and has accounted for 58 touchdowns.Whether you had a veteran team or a young team, to have a J.T. Barrett, one of the best quarterbacks in the country, somebody you trust, you respect and is a great leader -- thats where it all starts, said Ed Warinner, Ohio States co-offensive coordinator. When youve got Pat Elflein at center and J.T. Barrett, thats a great starting point.Without Elliott, a first-round NFL draft pick, the Buckeyes are going to need a sharp passing game and a go-to receiver who can get open and catch the deep ball. The two projected starters at the wide receiver spots -- Noah Brown and Corey Smith -- got some playing time in 2014 but both are returning from leg injuries that sidelined them last season. H-backs Curtis Samuel and Dontre Wilson -- both also coming off injuries -- have shown they can be dependable targets, but the rest of the guys are unproven.Talent, speed and athleticism will not be an issue, Meyer said. Its how they perform. Thats where J.T. is going to be so critical, because youre going to see a lot of wide eyes. A lot of those guys have not played.Barretts backup -- and 2014 taught Ohio State coaches how important backups are -- appears to be redshirt freshman Joe Burrow, although freshman Dwayne Haskins, a four-star prospect that Meyer has raved about, could push him.---Follow Mitch Stacy at http://twitter.com/mitchstacy---For some of his other recent stories: http://bigstory.ap.org/content/mitch-stacy Marvin Jones Jr Lions Jersey . The head of USA Boxing came out swinging Tuesday with an open letter to Tyson -- a former Olympic hopeful himself -- that accuses the former heavyweight champion of trying to poach fighters who might be candidates for the U. T.J. 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After four straight playoff-less years -- with quarterback Eli Manning on the roster! -- the Tom Coughlin era ended poorly. The hope is that a change at the top and $200-plus-million spent on the defense is the antidote to their struggles.Whats goodThis much is undeniable: The Giants have a quarterback who can win the Super Bowl. That gives them a leg up on at least half the NFLs teams. Fans have seen Eli Manning do it twice, and, at 35, he doesnt appear to be slowing down yet. The defense is still relatively unsettled, but John Maras offseason spending spree clearly made an impression on fans, who ranked him 32nd overall, the Giants second-best ranking this year, behind only title track. Manning has thrived in new coach Ben McAdoos system each of the past two seasons and has a young, dynamic sidekick in wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. who should make the Giants offense a force for the next few years.Whats badThe Giants are predictably near the bottom of the rankings in affordability.dddddddddddd They play in the New York market, so its no surprise that their tickets were on average the most expensive in the NFL last season at $123.40. Thats almost $40 more than the league average, and doesnt even account for the seat licenses fans must purchase for the rights to their seats. Parking is also $30, and food doesnt come cheap. A family of four can easily drop $600 for a Sunday afternoon. It doesnt seem to be hurting demand -- there is a significant waiting list for Giants tickets -- but its almost getting out of hand.Whats newG-Men fans are taking a wait-and-see approach to new coach Ben McAdoo; the Giants dropped an astonishing 60 spots in coaching after Tom Coughlin resigned in January. McAdoo had success as a coordinator, rebuilding Manning following a 27-interception season in 2013. But now he faces an even greater task -- getting the Giants back to the playoffs. Its not going to be easy. McAdoo, 39, is practically a contemporary to some of the players. Hes the leagues second-youngest head coach, nine months older than Miamis Adam Gase.Next: Buffalo Bills?| Full rankings ' ' '