Continuing our series on ranking quarterbacks in the power 5 conferences we focus on the Big Ten. The conference has undergone a bit of a transformation over the last decade. Gone are the days of ground and pound (mostly) and the conference is starting to open it up. Ohio State might have forced the hands of the other programs, but none the less it has happened. Nebraska, Maryland, and Purdue run the spread, and are starting to see some success in the conference. Teams like Iowa, Wisconsin, and Northwestern will probably never open up the offense. For that reason it’s always tough to rank the Big Ten Quarterbacks.
Ohio State is still the class of this conference (sorry Michigan). And the reason for this is their ability to simply outscore teams. The margin of error for teams that want to lean on the run game and good defense is much smaller than teams that can hang 35 points regularly. We saw this with Michigan against Georgia in the CFP Semi-Final last year. UGA loaded the box and took away the run and Michigan could not counter with an effective passing attack.
The Big Ten has a nice makeup of returning starters and teams dipping into the Transfer Portal. Indiana, Illinois, and Nebraska, all brought in quarterbacks to lead their offense in 2022. Ohio State, Purdue, Maryland and Penn State bring back sure fire starts. Michigan, Iowa, and Wisconsin bring back starters, but if they’re slow out of the gate the program could look at other options. The biggest quarterback battle to keep an eye one is in Ann Arbor. Cade McNamara is listed as the starter, but JJ McCarthy is a 5-star talent waiting in the wing. Let’s rank the Big Ten Quarterbacks.