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Spring Fling: The Best of the Best B1G QBs

Remember that time when OTE talked about football even though we don't watch it? Yeah, that was awesome...

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

I had a brilliant idea a few weeks ago that I would recap all of our preview pieces from last year. Then Spring football happened all of a sudden and our team decided that we should scrap that and move right back to previews. If you don't remember what we did last year, feel free to go look at my awesomely titled, "Spring-ing to the Top" series from 2013. This is a pretty self-explanatory thing. We look at current rosters and look to project who the Top 5 or so players will be at a myriad of positions/specialties. Then we give the series a silly titles with a play on the word spring - this year we're going with Spring Fling, because, uh, well, because.

So that's that. Here are some quick housekeeping items:

  • In general, I do not plan to project incoming freshmen to these lists. Mostly because I do not know any of them, and outside of saying, "247 thought this kid looked like a grown man," I cannot and will not really have decent insight on how they'll play in the B1G.
  • With that said... no, we do not watch football. It's an obvious flaw to be a football blogging site, but you only have so much time in your day between lawyering (mostly... I am not a lawyer nor do I play one on TV), making ridiculous pictures with MS Word, and all of the tasks associated with eating Runzas.
  • We will hopefully be pushing these out three times a week for the foreseeable future, but withhold the right to do whatever it is we want to do with that schedule. If we break into our coverage of Spring Fling to talk about your new NCAA Basketball Champions, the Nebrasketball Cornhuskers... well, deal with it.
  • We do plan on adding Rutgers and Maryland to this arrangement. No, that does not mean we will do a good job recognizing players from either team.
  • When we get to defense, I will overemphasize tackles and get yelled at for it.
So that's what we plan on doing. Today we're going to talk a little bit about the QB position. Last year, we basically decided the B1G was a little sketchy in that role. As I've researched things a little more, I can't say I feel a lot better about it now.

SPRING FLING Y'ALL! (Note: "All the football coverage, none of the games." would be a great accompanying byline, but my titles are already too long) (Also note: I'm going to try and insert twitter handles where I can. If you know a player's info and it isn't listed, let me know.)

1) Braxton Miller @BraxtonMiller5

He was the best player offensively in the Big Ten last year - as a whole - and he is coming back to avenge the late bottoming out the Buckeyes had. Think about the stats, though. He had 2094 yards passing despite missing two whole games, rushed for over 1000 yards, had 36 total TDs, and was actually in discussion for the Heisman at multiple points. Really, it's kind of him and a bunch of other guys right now.

2) Christian Hackenberg @Chackenberg1

By most metrics, Christian Hackenberg lived up to the hype last season. While there were some times you wondered what he was thinking - like you tend to do with freshmen QBs in a boiler plate atmosphere - as a whole, Hack looked good. His deep throws to A-Rob were beautiful and you could argue that his progression gave BOB a lead-in to the NFL. Statistically, he was the third leading passer in the conference, and his 20/10 TD/INT ration looks pretty good considering the ups and downs of the PSU run game. I think that his year two could be special as the game slows down a bit. While there may be some ups and downs with a new coach, I think Hack could be All-B1G when its all said and done.

3) Connor Cook @Connor_Cook03

At the beginning of last year, I probably would have ranked MSU's QB situation close to the bottom of the conference. Even when Cook took over, I think I would have rated him a bottom third QB, but as the year progressed - and his confidence progressed - you could see why the Spartans are high on him. He is a high IQ game manager with just enough elusiveness to keep plays alive, and definitely a good enough arm to keep defenses honest. When the Michigan State offense started to awake from its sputtering ways, it could be tied to Cook, and the stats show it. While the completion percentages (under 60% on the season) and YPA (7.3) could be better, there is no reason to think Cook won't progress too.

4) Nate Sudfeld @NateSudfeld
4) Tre Roberson @tre5_Roberson

I'm cheating on this one a bit, but this is my piece so deal with it. Indiana's QB situation was pretty legit last year, proving Kevin Wilson seems to know what he's doing on offense. While I'd like to give the nod to Roberson overall due to his explosive playmaking when he wasn't hurt, Sudfeld was able to step in when given a chance and actually finished third in YPG in the B1G. Consider this, though. These two QBs combined for a 36/13 TD/INT ratio, and are giving Hoosier fans some hope for the future. Could this be the year they go bowling? Maybe not, but they'll sure be fun to watch.

5) Devin Gardner @DevG98

I mentioned this a bit in my review of last year's QBs, but Gardner might not be as bad as we made him out to be. Considering the abomination that was the Michigan offensive line last year, Gardner acquitted himself fine. Not, world-beater fine, but definitely 5th best QB in the B1G good. The stats are decent with Gardner piling up 2960 yards via 8.6 YPA. Add 32 TDs combined, and the fact that there were times when he was the only viable option for the Wolverines, and you have to give him some credit. With a new offensive strategy coming into town, I'm hoping - kinda - that he gets some consistency and shows what he is really capable of. My caveat to this paragraph is that I totally reserve the right to write off this paragraph if Michigan's offensive line continues to suck like they did last year.