2011 Big Ten QB Power Rankings: Preseason Edition

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There’s four good teams in the Big Ten this season and five more that could be good or just blah. You can call it parity (just don’t call it PARODY, I HATE when people make that mistake, it isn’t Weird Al Yankovic playing college football here) or you can call it mediocrity. The talent at quarterback is anything but mediocre though. There’s dual threats everywhere you look, and at least five that could be all-conference.

And 3-4 more with serious potential beyond that as well.

dan persa passing

1. Michigan’s Denard Robinson: He’s got a Kevin Garnett type work ethic so I believe he’ll adjust just fine to the new style of play, changes in the system, and the fact that more defenses know all about him now.

2.  Northwestern Wildcats   Dan Persa: Completed a Big Ten single-season record 74% percent of his passes last season, and was dual threat as they come, but he tore his Achilles tendon to end the season. And look at Kalin Lucas- he was never the same again, and it took him forever just to get close. And why am I making all these basketball analogies?

3. Michigan State Spartans    Kirk Cousins: a fifth-year senior with two years of starting experience. And the one guy on the team that everyone can name.

4. Nebraska Cornhuskers    Taylor Martinez: He could match Denard in running ability, but his passing isn’t coming along to where it should be. Neither is his leadership and relationship with the program’s patriarch. Is it a maturity thing? Or is Bo the reason for the alleged issues? Health will be key too.

5a. Wisconsin Badgers        Russell Wilson: It’s been awhile since Sconnie had a dual threat QB like this. Wilson finished second in voting for ACC Player of the Year. But again, that was the ACC, where football is a mediocre afterthought until basketball starts. But hey, at least it’s not the Big East.

5b. Illinois Fighting Illini          Nathan Scheelhaase: Scheelhaase needs to continue to make strides as a passer. “If you know Nathan, he’s the kind of guy that only knows one speed. All he cares about is winning, the last fourth of the season his passing game improved,” Zook said of Scheelhaase.

“Nathan probably threw more balls last year, in a year’s time, than he probably threw in his whole life combined up to that point.”

Well that’s encouraging.

7. Ohio State Buckeyes              Joe Bauserman/Braxton Miller: Terrelle Pryor’s getting kicked out of school (yes, that’s not the official story, but it seems like the de facto now) lets 26 year old Bauserman battle it out with the freshman phenom. I say start over again clean, start fresh. It’ll also be the theme with the off-the-field issues.

8. Iowa Hawkeyes            James Vandenberg: LOVED him in those movies he played a high school QB “Angus” and “Varsity Blues.” Oh wait, that’s James Van der Beek, not James Vandenberg. Anyways, last year Iowa had more off the field drama than an episode of “Dawson’s Creek.” He showed potential filling in for Ricky Stanzi in 2010, it’s now his time to shine.

9.Purdue Boilermakers    Rob Henry/Robert Marve: Injuries led to the Boilers starting four quarterbacks a year ago. No, that’s not a typo. PU could be much improved with just some health at this position. To quote Stephen Colbert, “I’ll see you in HEALTH!”

10. Minnesota Golden Gophers    MarQueis Gray: replaces four-year starter Adam Weber, who broke a lot of school passing records despite not actually really being good.  Doesn’t have much experience and his move over from WR takes away the team’s best receiver. And knowing what I know about NIU, I’m not sold that he could work well in a Jerry Kill system. He does have scary raw talent and ability though.

11. Penn State Nittany Lions     Rob Bolden/Matt McGloin: lesser of two evils, or evil of two lessers?

12. Indiana Hoosiers    Dusty Kiel/Edward Wright-Baker:  Think the Hoosiers will miss Ben Chappell much? At least they were fun to watch during his era. Pro: whoever wins this gig will have Damarlo Belcher, a true NFL talent to throw to. Con: they’re just keeping the seat warm for Kiel’s younger brother Gunner, the nation’s #1 QB recruit, who committed to Indiana yesterday.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports Bank.net, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter Football.com, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports You can follow him on Twitter

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