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2009 Big 10 Quarterback Rankings, First Edition

It's been 9 long months since I made my final edition of the 2008 Big Ten Quarterback Rankings. Since late 2008, the majority of teams in the Big Ten are starting a new quarterback and let me tell you folks, this is great, great news for the quarterback rankings. In 2008, quarterback play was horrible and inconsistent. Two main factors led to the horrid play - Injuries and disappointing veterans. Curtis Painter, Kellen Lewis, Brian Hoyer, Todd Boeckman, Allan Evridge, and Juice Williams were injury prone or ineffective in 2008, leading to backups getting significant playing time. By the end of the season, only a few QB's were healthy and putting up solid stats. This year, with a conference wide focus on passing and more teams opening their playbooks, the quarterback play is markedly improved from last year.

Not only does this improvement make the ranking a more interesting exercise, I don't have to spend the year explaining how in the world Juice Williams is the third best quarterback in the Big Ten, a spot he ended up in through default last year. Enjoy The Rivalry's 2009 Big Ten Quarterback Rankings First Edition, which I will update every three weeks.

Ed Note: After #4, the quarterbacks blend together, talent and number wise. I gave Tolzien and Kafka extra points because of their surprising success, but that can all be wiped away with early in-conf struggles. And I took away points for struggling in big games, which I believe is where a quarterback can best be judged.

Team Comments


Daryll Clark


Has looked comfortable in the pocket throwing to the newbie receivers. Clark's best attribute is that he trusts his O-Line - he will sit and slowly chop his feet, waiting for routes to open up. Game Avg: 22-32, 250 yards, 3 TDs.


Kirk Cousins


His accuracy and poise in the pocket have resulted in the Big Ten's best passing efficiency rating. This devout Bapist can make every throw - swing passes, curl routes in traffic, out routes to the sideline. Don't let the wobbler at the end of the ND game fool you - He should be taking every snap at MSU. Game Avg: 15-23, 215 yards, 2 TDs.


Tate Forcier


Showed up in primetime against ND, putting on a performance for the ages. Throws an accurate ball and his shifty moves are perfect for the RichRod Spread. Not lightning fast like Pat White, but gets the 3-5 yards on the Zone Read QB run that Sheridan/Threet could never get. Game Avg: 14-22, 163 yards, 2 TD, 37 ypg rushing.


Terrelle Pryor


Lebron In Cleats showed a fully evolved arm in the Spring Game, leading to an overly excited phone call from Law Buck. Unfortunately, the indecisive shot putting returned against USC. Would I take him over Forcier? Yes. Did he choke under pressure? Yes. Game Avg: 14-25, 204 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT, 59 yards rushing.


Ricky Stanzi


Holds himself like a veteran and has engineered victories while Iowa Hating God wipes out all his playmakers. No complaints about his throwing motion here, but the unexplainable interceptions flummox everyone. Game Avg: 20-33, 215 yards, 2 TDs, 1 INT.


Scott Tolzien


Tolzien has been the surprise of the non-conf games. Accurate and eager to spread the ball around, I guess we realize why Sherer's loopy delivery was dropped in favor of this supposed career backup. Throws an extremely catchable ball for a Wisky offense that isn't relying on the run so much anymore. Game Avg: 15-23, 214 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.


Mike Kafka


A tremendous game against Syracuse was tainted by an ugly pick late, but his numbers exceed what we expected by so much it's scary. He's showed a live arm and has refused to depend on his very solid scrambling abilities. Game Avg: 21-28, 247 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.


Adam Weber


I watched him against California and two problems are obvious. He doesn't know how to throw the ball away and he doesn't get any blocking. When given time, Weber/Decker is a dangerous combo. I expect more from this frequently inaccurate veteran. Game Avg: 20-34, 231 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.


Ben Chappell


Crimson Quarry and others were calling for him to start last year, but injuries and Lewis's on-again, off-again playing schedule never allowed Chapell to become the unquestioned leader. Now fully in command, the Pistol offense and some athletic receivers have helped Chappell to look, as the British say, not half-bad. Game Avg: 21-31, 225 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT.


Joey Elliot


We predicted doom and gloom in West Lafayette, but the Boilers and Elliot looked a tad more explosive than expected. His personality as a QB isn't fully evolved yet - Should be rolling out as much as in the NIU game? Should the quick slants of yesteryear be incorporated more? Game Avg: 20-33, 225 yards, 1 TD, 2 INTs.


Juice Williams


We all saw the Mizzou ugliness and the uninspired Illini. We all saw Juice do Juice things like throw wild, ineffective passes all over the place. We also saw no run game. So until he returns to good old rollercoaster Juice, Big Ten leader in Total Yards in 2008, I leave him here. Game Avg: 18-28, 179 yards, 1 INT.