2016 CollegeFootballNews.com Midseason Top Big Ten Players, Coaches, Rankings, Games, Surprise & Disappointments
2016 Big Ten Midseason Roundup & Analysis
It’s been the Year of the Big Ten in college football.
There are problems down-ballot with Illinois, Purdue, and Rutgers struggling, and Michigan State has been a major disappointment, but up top, no one – including Alabama – has looked as consistently amazing as Ohio State and Michigan.
Wisconsin kicked off the season with a stunning win over LSU, the Buckeyes ripped through Oklahoma, Nebraska got by Oregon – that seemed big at the time – and overall, the league is getting the national love and respect fans have been waiting for.
So what if it’s not as deep as the Pac-12? So what if the SEC still might have more talent, and the ACC are every bit as good up top? It’s going to be an amazing second half of the year, all set up by a strong first half.
Big Ten Midseason Offensive Player
QB J.T. Barrett, Jr. Ohio State
Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong has his team unbeaten, too, but Barnett has gotten it done on a higher level – slightly. Barrett has been the exact conductor the offense has needed with all the changes and all the new personnel, and he’s done whatever he’s needed to. When the passing wasn’t working against Indiana, he ran. When the chances to dink and dunk have been there, he’s been on.
Big Ten Midseason Defensive Player
LB Jabrill Peppers, Jr. Michigan
It might be a jack-of-all-trades spot, but he’s been the best player in the Big Ten so far. Not only has he cranked up 38 tackles at his new spot at linebacker, but he’s been a terror into the backfield with ten tackles for loss and 2.5 sacks. Throw in the 18-yard average on punt returns, and the two rushing scores, and he’s devastating whenever he’s on the field.
Big Ten Midseason Top 10 Players
1. LB Jabrill Peppers, Jr. Michigan
2. QB J.T. Barrett, Jr. Ohio State
3. QB Tommy Armstrong, Sr. Nebraska
4. LB T.J. Watt, Jr. Wisconsin
5. CB Jourdan Lewis, Sr. Michigan
6. S Malik Hooker, Soph. Ohio State
7. RB Mike Weber, Fr. Ohio State
8. S Marcus Allen, Jr. Penn State
9. LB Raekwon McMillan, Jr. Ohio State
10. CB Marshon Lattimore, Soph. Ohio State
Big Ten Midseason Coach Rankings
1. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
2. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
3. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
4. Mike Riley, Nebraska
5. Kevin Wilson, Indiana
6. D.J. Durkin, Maryland
7. James Franklin, Penn State
8. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
9. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
10. Tracy Claeys, Minnesota
11. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
12. Darrell Hazell, Purdue
13. Chris Ash, Rutgers
14. Lovie Smith, Illinois
Big Ten Midseason Three Best Games
1. Michigan State 36, Notre Dame 28, Sept. 17
2. Nebraska 35, Oregon 32, Sept. 17
3. Michigan 14, Wisconsin 7, Oct. 1
Big Ten Midseason Best Surprise
Wisconsin 16, LSU 14. LSU came into the season with more veteran NFL-caliber talent and more upside than anyone in college football. Wisconsin was solid in 2015, and it was expected to try hard and put on a good show in Lambeau Field, but getting the win – even if it was gift-wrapped by a Brandon Harris ill-advised pass in the final moments – set the tone for the Big Ten. It was the Big Ten beating the SEC in a national statement that no one saw coming.
Big Ten Midseason Biggest Disappointment
Michigan State. Iowa would be right there in the mix if anyone really thought it would repeat 2015 all over again, and Penn State honoring Joe Paterno before the Temple game was simply wrong, but Michigan State was supposed to be a part of the Big Three, Little Nine, and it’s not. With a dream of a schedule with all the big boys at home, all looked fine after getting the one road win it had to have against Notre Dame. Wisconsin exposed the Spartans, Indiana took it one step further, and all of a sudden, this wasn’t the MSU team we’ve all come to know and love.
Big Ten Midseason – We Were Right On …
Penn State – sort of. No one said Penn State would win the East, but the Nittany Lions were expected to better, more competitive, and far better and stronger than they were last year. The D isn’t holding up its end of the bargain, but the O has been good enough, and now, at 4-2, they’re proving to be a bit of a factor again – even if it’s not at the level many Penn State fans might like.
Big Ten Midseason – We Were Wrong On …
Illinois and Lovie Smith Remember, Illinois was a 5-7 team last year under head coach Bill Cubit. The Illini need a ton of rebuilding, and they need more talent, but they’ve got some good bones in LB Hardy Nickerson, QB Wes Lunt, and future NFL second round DE Dawuane Smoot. It all started out nice with a win over Murray State, and that was it for the fun with four straight losses. Losing to North Carolina, Western Michigan and Nebraska is fine, but you don’t lose to Purdue at home.