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2009 Big 10 Quarterback Rankings, Second Edition: Free of Heisman Hype!

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This years slate of Big Ten quarterbacks is healthier and much improved from last years crop. As I wrote three weeks ago in my opening salvo:

This year, with a conference wide focus on passing and more teams opening their playbooks, the quarterback play is markedly improved from last year.

Apparently my optimism, not to mention the defenses of Iowa and Ohio State, inspired almost every quarterback to have at least one awful game during conference play. Nonetheless, enjoy The Rivalry's 2009 Big Ten Quarterback Rankings, Second Edition.

QB                       
Team Comments

#1

Daryll Clark

PSU

Leads the conference in efficiency, but wilted miserably under the intense Iowa rush. I give him credit for tearing apart cupcakes and rushing for 83 yards again Illinois.

#2

Ricky Stanzi


IOWA

This exalted ranking is 1) sort of by default, 2) a product of his winning streak and 3) kind of sad. 8 Stanziballs have been achingly annoying for Iowa fans, but his delivery on rollouts has been improved. 296 yards against Arkansas State and 284 versus Michigan are his two highest career totals.

#3

Kirk Cousins

MSU

The two picks against Michigan were tipped balls, while his inexcusable interceptions against Wisconsin were a product of simply bad throws. Dantonio was so worried about Illinois that he sat Cousins to rest his ankle, which is back to 100% or so. His accuracy is unquestioned, but the sophomore's body has been breaking down as the season continues. Sitting out v. Illinois allowed the other B10 qb's to prove why they don't want to be at the top of this list.

#4

Scott Tolzien

WISC

Was complemented by Tressel for standing in the pocket and delivering tough throws (27-45, 250 yards) against his rabid defense. Against this Buckeye team, those are some decent statistics. Also shredded Michigan State easily, swiveling his head and tossing four TD's.

#5

Terrelle Pryor

OSU

LIC seemed to be putting things together after destroying Toledo, plus Jim Tressel seemed to be giving him more offensive options to work with. Than he went 5-13 against Wisconsin, showing an underdeveloped delivery and a lack of pocket confidence. That makes two performances in 2009 where OSU fans watch their starting quarterback unable to throw a spiral. Is 7th in the conference in rushing.

#6

Joey Elliot

PU

Two consecutive stat-stuffing performances against NW and ND move him way up the list. Has shown a somewhat developed loping stride also, making him the third most proficient B10 QB in rushing yards. Negative? Fumbles, losses, INT leader.

#7

Tate Forcier

UM

Since the last rankings, led two comebacks and then trainwrecked against Iowa, showing that yes, he is a frosh and yes, his 175 lb. body is breaking down. Is struggling to grip the ball in cold weather, but still throws on the run as well as anyone in the conference. Dropped farther than anyone else in my rankings.

#8

Mike Kafka

NW

I feel stupid for having him so low, but his uninspired two performances against Purdue and Miami leave me no choice. Has been missing high on throws, an odd comparison to his pinpoint early season play. MSU and Penn State will be two excellent venues to show whether the NW Spread has stalemated. Isn't really getting help from the run blocking.

#9

Ben Chappell

IND

Had a huge game against Michigan (doesn't everyone), but has generally slunk back into the unexciting morasses of the Indiana Pistol. Losing by 5 touchdowns to VA didn't help matters.Has not been asked to make incredibly hard throws, sticking to swing passes and slants. Much more of a consistent presence than Lewis was. An impressive fifth overall in the B10 for passing yards.

#10

Adam Weber

MN

The offensive coordinator, already a run focused guy, is taking the ball out of Weber's hands as the season goes on. 9 throws and two picks against Purdue exhibit this. What's his problem? Too many throws into coverage, too many sacks taken (14, the most in the Big Ten). The big power blocking line isn't helping things.

#11

Juice Williams

ILL

After a tough early schedule, Juice or McGee will get a chance to pull something together against the lower tier of the Big Ten. Juice has shown no touch and little of his trademark elusiveness so far.