The Ohio State football team could field a baseball team with just its captains, which explains why I consider it a swing and a miss that the Buckeyes are going with nine captains this season, easily the most in program history.

I’m not alone. In an online survey of slightly more than 400 fans, 42 percent think nine captains is too many, because it dilutes the honor. Another 10 percent gave the higher number a thumbs up, basically saying the more the merrier. The remaining 48 percent voted for “Who cares? Bring on Indiana.” Buckeye Nation. Gotta love it.

The reason so many captains bothers me is twofold: Too many voices can lead to too little action as opinions vie for supremacy; and the soccer trophy mentality, where everyone gets rewarded just for participating. How special is it when nearly 10 percent of the scholarship players are captains?

I contacted former Ohio State football captain Rick Middleton and non-captain John Brockington to see where they stand on the issue, figuring those in the family tree deserve to weigh in.

But first some background. From Woody Hayes’ first season in 1951 to when Meyer took over in 2012, the Buckeyes averaged 3.4 captains a season and never had more than six. Hayes’ teams averaged 2.4 captains, with five being the most. Under Earle Bruce, the Buckeyes averaged 3.7 captains, topping out at six. John Cooper’s teams averaged 3.2, cresting at five. Jim Tressel mostly followed the path of his predecessors, averaging 3.8, with six the most. Ohio State had four captains in Luke Fickell’s one season, then came Meyer, who went with five out of the chute. The Buckeyes have averaged 6.5 under Meyer, including this year’s baseball lineup. They had seven last season.

Middleton, who was defensive captain in 1973, hesitates to argue with Meyer’s record of success, but still wonders how having so many captains will work.

“To me, that seems a little much,” he said. “I’ve always felt what was needed was somebody to be a spokesperson for the players to the coaching staff. When you have nine guys, you can have nine different opinions. When I was captain my senior year — we actually elected players then; coaches help do it now — we elected one for defense and (quarterback) Greg Hare on offense, and I always thought that was the way to go.”

Middleton shared a wonderful story about how he became captain. As a junior, he helped stage a locker room sit-in to protest Hayes’ dismissal of a player who had been late to meetings twice in the same day.

“Woody pulled into the parking lot at the same time as the player and was chasing him around the facility, then came into the locker room and threw the guy’s equipment in the middle of the floor and yelled, ‘You’re off the team.’ Essentially, we all got together and said we’re not going out to practice until the guy was reinstated.”

After the team rejected Hayes’ attempt to have assistants resolve the issue, Woody entered the locker room and began convincing players they were wrong.

“Woody could hypnotize you,” Middleton said. “He could convince you that you were someone you weren’t. I had seen it before, and I can’t believe players are agreeing with him, so I stood on a bench and went ballistic, telling Woody we can’t have guys coming to practice worried they’re going to get beat up by coaches in the parking lot.”

Hayes seethed, but relented, agreeing to reinstate the player.

“As we’re walking out, (linebacker) Vic Koegel says to me, ‘Hey, I’m voting you for captain next spring,’ ” Middleton said.

Brockington leans the other way on captaincy numbers. It doesn’t bother him that he was not one of Hayes’ four captains his senior season in 1970, even though by today’s numbers he likely would have been.

“If the kids are showing hard work and (Meyer) wants to reward them, more power to them,” Brockington said. “Heavy is the head that wears the crown, so those guys will have to step up. And if those nine guys step up, the rest of the team will follow.”

At least that’s the plan. I’m not so sure, but time will tell.