Big Ten Skill Position Rankings and Key Matchups for Week 12
Skill position rankings and key matchups in the Big Ten heading into week 12.
The Big Ten was picked on for so long it is almost hard to conceive that it might be the best Power Five conference this season. Is that enough to sway the College Football Playoff Committee to put two teams into the College Football Playoff?
As it stands right now, Ohio State and Michigan are in, but we know one will fall out after November 26. Regardless, we might find out how strong the precedents set in the first two years will influence the Committee this year should Ohio State win out and Penn State or Wisconsin win the Big Ten.
The Wolverines still control their fate, despite laying a colossal egg at Iowa, but the confidence level of beating the Buckeyes in Columbus was definitely diminished by the loss to the Hawkeyes. Apparently playing on the road, at night, was a little more difficult than the fans in Ann Arbor thought.
More importantly, is quarterback Wilton Speight lost for the season? Reports about his collarbone are conflicting. Regardless, a less than 100-percent Speight or playing a backup impacts Michigan’s chances. Are they on upset alert against Indiana?
Ohio State travels to East Lansing seeking payback for the loss last year. The Spartans might be down, but don’t expect a third-straight 62-3 outcome. Beating Michigan State is priority No. 1 for the Buckeyes. They won’t be looking ahead to Michigan. This game will be tougher than expected.
The Nittany Lions passed their final test of the season beating the Hoosiers 45-31. They have Rutgers this week and Michigan State at home on November 26. They are rooting hard for the Buckeyes to beat Michigan next week as they own the tie-breaker.
The Badgers are a lock to win the Big Ten West. They play Purdue and Minnesota. I suspect they are rooting for Michigan or Ohio State to get a chance to redeem one of their two losses. If they beat Penn State, my guess is the Committee will select Ohio State.
Each week, I’ll provide a ranking of the Big Ten’s quarterbacks and running backs and preview the best games.
The formula for ranking each player is pretty simple, mostly based on watching the games and saying this player is good and this one is not so good. Here we go:
J.T. Barrett reclaims the top spot again as Speight was unable to get any offense going against Iowa. Quarterback play in the Big 10 this week was up and down again. Here’s how they rank:
|J.T. Barrett||Ohio State||292||189||2218||11.49||23||4|
|Trace McSorley||Penn State||271||150||2390||15.36||16||5|
|Tommy Armstrong Jr||Nebraska||259||138||2055||15.45||13||8|
|Tyler O’Connor||Michigan State||213||131||1747||11.08||15||7|
|Jeff George, Jr.||Illinois||94||38||470||11.85||4||5|
Stud of the Week:
A week after getting knocked out of the games against the Buckeyes, Tommy Armstrong rebounded with a solid performance against Minnesota passing for 217 yards with two touchdowns. The win keeps the Cornhuskers slim chances of winning the West Division alive.
Open the Competition Again:
Take your pick among David Blough, Giovanni Rescigno, Jeff George, Jr. and Mitch Leidner who combined passed for 483 yards with 10 interceptions and just one touchdown.
Rodney Dangerfield Award:
No one really qualified this week so I will throw a bone to Tyler O’Connor who threw for 141 yards and three touchdowns against Rutgers leading the Spartans to their first Big Ten win of the season.
Here’s how all of the backs rank through week 10:
|Mike Weber/Curtis Samuel||Ohio State||232||1572||6.67||14|
|De’Veon Smith/Chris Evans||Michigan||186||1100||6.14||11|
|Saquon Barkley/Miles Sanders||Penn State||215||1250||7.47||14|
|Corey Clement/Dare Ogunbowale||Wisconsin||292||1381||4.44||12|
|Terrell Newby/Devine Ozigbo||Nebraska||239||1073||4.43||9|
|Justin Jackson/John Moten IV||Northwestern||262||1238||4.43||8|
|LeShun Daniels/Akrum Wadley||Iowa||265||1475||5.73||14|
|Rodney Smith/Shannon Brooks||Minnesota||296||1496||5.28||19|
|Ty Johnson/Lorenzo Harrison||Maryland||165||1289||8.08||9|
|L.J. Scott/Gerald Holmes||Michigan State||252||1191||5.01||10|
|Devine Redding/Tyler Natee||Indiana||246||1121||4.54||7|
|Kendrick Foster/Reggie Corbin||Illinois||169||1113||6.74||8|
|Markell Jones/Brian Lankford Johnson||Purdue||160||795||4.93||5|
|Robert Martin/Justin Goodwin||Rutgers||203||958||4.9||1|
Stud of the Week:
It has been a while since any player from Iowa deserved recognition, but Akrum Wadley delivered a solid performance against the Wolverines rushing for 115 yards. He never made it to the end zone, but he kept the Hawkeyes offense on the field chewing up the clock.
Open the Competition Again:
Rodney Dangerfield Award:
Devine Redding is quietly putting together a pretty good season. He rushed for 108 yards with two touchdowns against Penn State. He has 901 yards on the season giving him a legitimate shot at breaking 1000. Ludlow gets the attention, but Redding is a good workhorse. If he can put together a similar performance in Ann Arbor, the Hoosiers have a shot at winning the game.
Big Ten Team of the Week:
Iowa fans have had little to cheer about until the Hawkeyes pulled one of the season’s biggest upsets. The win does little to improve the disappointing season, but for one week the Hawkeyes played up to their potential. Penn State says Thank you.
The Week Ahead:
After last week, predicting a quiet week seems foolish. The conference’s best teams have games they should comfortably win. Should and do sometimes fail to mix though.
Mark Dantonio certainly did not expect the type of season his Spartans’ team is having. A myriad of problems have kept the team from playing well.
He’s the only coach in the Big Ten to beat Urban Meyer twice, spoiling the Buckeyes chances of winning conference and national championships. Can he do it again?
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Doubtful. Meyer has this team laser focused and ready for revenge. It will be a little tougher than expected, but the Buckeyes get the win.
Michigan returns to the comforts of home to take on a desperate Indiana team searching for its sixth win of the season. They are catching the Wolverines at the wrong time.
Michigan will struggle early in the game, but take control in the second half to win 42-20. Take comfort Hoosiers, you get Purdue next week. That’s an automatic win.
Northwestern and Maryland are both seeking a sixth win too and they will have to do it on the road. The Terps play at Nebraska which is definite loss. Like Indiana, Maryland can rest easy knowing Division III Rutgers is up next week.
The Wildcats go to Minnesota to face an up and down Golden Gophers team. Normally I would say this is a toss-up game, but Clayton Thorson will have an epic game carrying Northwestern to 38-14 win.