Big Ten Midseason Top 10 Players, Coach Rankings, Bowl Projections
The Big Ten’s best players, best coaches, and bowl projections at the midseason.
Big Ten Midseason Top Ten Players
1. RB Saquon Barkley, Jr. Penn State
While he might be a bit overloved in the Heisman chase and in terms of national attention – it’s not like the Nittany Lions have played a slew of killers so far – he came up with the one big performance that everyone saw.
Beating Iowa isn’t like taking down Ohio State or Michigan, but he’ll get his shot. The 211 yards and score – along with 12 catches for 94 yards – in the win over Iowa was the Big Ten’s big moment. Being second in the nation in all-purpose yards behind San Diego State’s Rashaad Penny doesn’t hurt the cause.
Not based on talent as much as overall performances, the rest of the top performers of the first half of the season have been …
2. LB Josey Jewell, Sr. Iowa
3. RB Jonathan Taylor, Fr. Wisconsin
4. LB Tegray Scales, Sr. Indiana
5. RB J.K. Dobbins, Fr. Ohio State
6. DE Nick Bosa, Soph. Ohio State
7. QB J.T. Barrett, Sr. Ohio State
8. LB Devin Bush, Soph. Michigan
9. DE Chase Winovich, Sr. Michigan
10. QB Brian Lewerke, Soph. Michigan State
Big Ten Midseason Coach Rankings
1. James Franklin, Penn State
The pressure is on to not just repeat, but be even better after shocking the world with a Big Ten title. Even though the schedule hasn’t been all that hard, the team has passed all the tests with blowouts when everything worked, to slogging through the Northwestern win, to getting by Iowa in the season’s best game so far.
He fanned the flames of the Pitt rivalry by saying it was like beating Akron – except Akron might actually be better – and he iced a kicker in a blowout. Never boring, he has a magnificent team, the recruiting is fantastic, and he’s making the Penn State program his.
It’s been a terrific season so far for most of the Big Ten coaches. From P.J. Fleck being able to keep Minnesota rowing, to D.J. Durkin winning with a third-string QB, to Brohm starting to turn Purdue into a winner, there’s plenty of good coaching going on. Based on what they were able to do over the first half of the season considering the talent returning and expectations …
2. Jeff Brohm, Purdue
3. Mark Dantonio, Michigan State
4. D.J. Durkin, Maryland
5. Paul Chryst, Wisconsin
6. Urban Meyer, Ohio State
7. Jim Harbaugh, Michigan
8. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa
9. Tom Allen, Indiana
10. P.J. Fleck, Minnesota
11. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern
12. Chris Ash, Rutgers
13. Lovie Smith, Illinois
14. Mike Riley, Nebraska
Big Ten Bowl Ties & Projections
– Contact/Follow @ColFootballNews
Since the Rose Bowl is one of the College Football Playoff semifinal games, there isn’t the automatic tie-in for the Big Ten, and it’s not a given that a Big Ten team that gets into the CFP will go to Pasadena.
And that’s just the start of the Big Ten breakdown of bowl possibilities.
The Orange will pick the highest-ranked team from Big Ten, SEC or Notre Dame to play a team from the ACC, but the bowl would prefer to take an SEC team since Michigan played Florida State last season.
But if the Orange goes with a Big Ten team again, the Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl will go with an ACC team.
College Football Playoff: Sugar Bowl
Washington vs. Ohio State
New Year’s Six: Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Penn State
New Year’s Six: Orange Bowl
Miami vs. Wisconsin
ACC (if not Big Ten) vs. SEC
– Agreement for Citrus is for five different teams in six years, so no Minnesota or Michigan. The call is that the Big Ten will get into the Orange, meaning the ACC will go to the Citrus.
Michigan vs. South Carolina
– Agreement is for five different teams in six years, so no Iowa, Wisconsin or Northwestern.
National Funding Holiday Bowl
Michigan State vs. Stanford
– Agreement is for five different teams in six years, so no Minnesota, Nebraska or Wisconsin.
LSU vs. Purdue
Music City Bowl
ACC (if not Big Ten) vs. SEC
– ACC and Big Ten combine with each getting three appearances in six years. The Big Ten played in TaxSlayer in 2015 and the Music City in 2016. No Penn State or Iowa in TaxSlayer.
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Louisville vs. Iowa
– It’s not official, but the bowl would prefer to have eight different teams in eight years, so no Northwestern, Penn State or Indiana if possible.
Foster Farms Bowl
Minnesota vs. Washington State
– Agreement is for five different teams in six years, so no Indiana, Maryland or Nebraska.
Quick Lane Bowl
Maryland vs. Central Michigan
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Indiana* vs. Kansas State
*Will get bowl bid on APR
Armed Forces Bowl
No team projected available vs. Army
– Agreement for three Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas and three Armed Forces bowls in six years. Illinois played in Dallas three years ago but couldn’t fill the spot last year. It was Big 12 vs. Navy in Armed Forces last year.