Of course we will follow Michigan until they too have that fateful cross through their name or are cutting down the nets in Atlanta, but while that is most definitely a thing, it does not compare to the awesomeness that is football. Most importantly, we are talking about arbitrary lists put together by a few of the writers on OTE in which we work to determine the best five (or so) players at various positions in the conference. Over the next few weeks I will be dropping these lists with as much commentary as I can scrape together from the powers that be and will let you all tell us just how wrong we are. I am guessing that most of you will have very little difficulty in doing so. And before you ask them, let's get some general Q&A out of the way.
Jesse, how can you idiots put [insert your team's player here] over [insert one of our choices here]? Do you even watch football?
Excellent question, and actually a pretty easy one if I do say so myself. Look, you are all going to be surprised by this, but a lot of what we do is an amalgamation and scientific polling is not exactly a position I stand by. As far as being idiots, well, I mean I guess I won't take that too personally (It's okay guys, I only sob once in a while). As for if our writing team watches football, I can't vouch for everyone specifically, but I'm pretty sure that it's at least somewhat obvious that we watch football.
Jesse, why didn't you guys (and girl) rank every player at every position? Do you even watch football?
I feel like we established that we watched football in the previous answer, so I won't dive into that in more specifics. The reason this is Top Five is that we all have very real jobs that do not include, "Write incredibly long lists of every positional player in a fairly large conference," and honestly, is there really a degree of difference when we don't even know who starters will be at many schools? These pieces are going to be shorter in scope and hopefully be a good place to talk football with little to go on but past results (and as you know past results do not necessarily guarantee future outcomes).
Jesse, how come you haven't posted all of those positional pieces yet? Didn't you say you would get this done in three weeks? How come I only saw one this week? Do you even wat.. well, that's not relevant here. Still, schedules people!?!?
Another fair question, although these fake questions are becoming fairly angry and I do not appreciate your tone. Anyhow, to answer this in advance. I am going to try and get these out twice or so a week. With that in mind, I have a lot of really important things going on this summer that may or may not include watching the Cubs try not to lose 100 games, so if things get tripped up, you will just have to forgive me. But yeah, this is about the Spring and all that we know and learn, so the goal is sooner than later. We will see.
Jesse, why didn't you include Maryland and Rutgers?
Great... wait a minute, nobody asked me that. I do intend to get some updates from our friends out East, but they won't be here this year. We will be doing some more features on their teams as things come into focus, but for now, let's let them have their fun in the ACC.
So there you have it. Hope my primer makes sense for everybody. As the title implied, we will be starting with Quarterbacks. I heard from a few writers, and here is what we came up with - interestingly enough we all are on the same page at this point.
Of course he is number one right now. He is a fringe Heisman candidate playing for what is probably the best team in the conference going into 2013. This offense is poised to be just an animal, and Miller is the engine that makes it go. If you want numbers, he also has a few of those. He threw for over 2,000 yards, had 15 TDs to only 6 INTs AND he ran for over 1200 yards with 13 TDs. To say he was otherworldly at times would ignore his elusiveness. I could gush more, but that would make me feel gross, and trust me, I already feel gross praising Miller this much.
2. Taylor Martinez
It's alright everybody. I'll wait...
/Everybody laughs at me
What's that? This is a homer pick? Well here's the thing, this is pretty consensus and the dirty little secret is that Martinez has progressed every year. Sure he is a heart attack waiting to happen when he decides to go all hero ball on everyone, but before you get yourself all worked up about how all he does is arm-punts, remember that in the Tim Beck offense, he is primed to succeed. It's really the Northwestern style attack. Short passes, speedy receivers, and the zone read. Oh, and let's look at stats. Over 2800 yards passing with 23 TDs, over 1000 yards rushing with 10 TDs, and while there were turnovers, he single-handedly won multiple games. I'll throw MNWildcat's take in here for good measure:
"Taylor Martinez totally made me eat my words from our Northwestern-Nebraska preview last year, Jesse."
Sure, that doesn't offer a lot of comfort to you all in our skills in assessing top, but remember that MNWildcat underestimated Martinez before AWESOME COMEBACK GUYS happened. Also, I was right (barely).
3. Kain Colter
I'll be honest, I am putting Colter here on my own accord, but I think he is primed to be pretty remarkable this year. As Pat Fitzgerald continues to toy with the Dual Quarterback system, I think Colter will just become that much more indispensable. The stats are not quite where either Martinez or Miller were, but he also played part time and has a bunch of receiving yards, so let's call that a draw. What do I love about Colter? His zone-read abilities are just incredible. As he matures and becomes less and less jumpy, I definitely see him wresting control of this team fulltime. Even so, the guy was responsible for 20 TDs last year. I think he will continue to do just fine.
I am prepared to see Gardner do amazing things this season. Of course, the opposite could be true, so I figure fourth on this list makes as much sense of any. Look, in the brief stint we saw Gardner at the reins, it looked like he could be the missing link for the Michigan offense. No offense to Shoelace, but Gardner keeps his eyes open when he passes the ball, and he is still just as shifty in the pocket as the next guy. The only thing is maturity. Will his first full year show up as him being up to snuff or still learning? Like all slightly less experienced guys, he will need to learn defenses, but a full year as QB should be something fun to watch.
5. Indiana Quarterbacks
Is this a copout? Sure, but who do you expect me to list. Michigan State has a mess on their hands. Iowa will be somebody young and inexperienced. Wisconsin has some talent in Stave, but that's far from proven. And the list really goes on and on from there. The thing that I personally like about this crop of quarterbacks at Indiana is that both Cam Coffman (Does he go by Cam? He really should if he isn't. If he already is, I'm glad that he has a cool quarterback name.) and Tre Roberson have incredible upsides. Now, who knows how Roberson will be this year and as MNWildcat said in our thread, "And color me not shocked if Indiana toys a little bit with that 2-QB system and plays Roberson/Coffman a lot like Colter/Siemian. All that team needs is a passable-at-best defense and they're bowling. Ah, Indiana, our Indiana." That intrigues me because it's not like Wilson is an idiot when it comes to intricate and effective offenses. Then again, we now have our first insane bowling prediction and we haven't gotten through all our spring games. Awe-some.
Finally, Ted offered some insight after most of this had been written:
Tre Roberson is going to be the third best QB in the conference behind Miller and Colter when it's all said and done. You heard it here first.
//inhales more glue
So there you have it. Where did we miss? Are we right? I'll put up a poll because Graham loves polls. Football everybody. Football.
*sidenote: These picks were initially spurred on by Graham and really I couldn't argue with him because these are the top quarterbacks in the conference right now. MNWildcat and I agreed and others agree because I am lumping them into our collective OTE voice. But really, let's all give a hand to Graham for being the first person to throw out names.