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Way Too Early B1G Ballers - Players to Watch

This season we'll do a spotlight on the best players from across the Big Ten Conference. Each week we'll recap the players that shined during the week prior. Players that will force teams to scheme for them in games to come. These are the best players in the conference, and we want to give them the honor due. And beer reviews. Great beers need their honors too.

Kemoko Turay is a B1G Baller
Kemoko Turay is a B1G Baller
Jim O'Connor-USA TODAY Sports

This season, we’re going to remake the Player of the Week into the Big Ten Conference (B1G) Ballers.

During every football season, we see players who stand out during a particular game. Other teams scheme for these players. In addition, they have a mimic on everyone’s scout team.

In other words, these are the Ballers (the horrific quality of the HBO series notwithstanding). And a hat tip to the folks at Silver and Black Pride for their great Busters and Ballers series.

Our version will be an overview of the standout players (and plays) during the previous week’s slate of games. And since we all like beer, we’ll review a new beer each week as well*.

*Guest reviews welcome, as you all seem to have far wider beer selection than I do. Oh, and no fucking fruit beers. If your beer has fruit in it, you will be DQ’d for poor judgement. You want fruit, drink wine or cider. Keep beer for beer.

Sorry, that rant got away from me. If you want to discuss fruit beer, go ahead. I personally am not a fan.

For the preseason, I have culled a list of potential Ballers’ names to watch. These are players on award watch lists, studs from last season, and players called out by media. However, this will change during the season.

On a Saturday, you don’t have to be on any phony watch list to be featured here. We’ll judge players by their exploits on the field. Hell, we might even include punters.

We want to highlight the players that played out of their heads for a Saturday. But don’t just take my word for it.  If I missed someone from your team, shout it out in the comments. I am trying to be inclusive here, so help me out.

/looks at the Purdue bench and sighs.

The best news is that we’re under 7 days to Football. I don’t know about you, but I’m ready. NFL preseason just sucks. It’s like getting a pair of Sonia headphones for your birthday, when you asked mom for Sony’s.

"But Hon, these are just as good…"

No mom, they aren’t. They broke in two hours. The wire just pulled right out…And that's why NFL Preseason sucks.

Anyway, just five days until all this speculation can be shoved into a corner and we can see what actually happens on the field. Seven days for all you blockheads to recant your boasts or double down on the Kool-Aide…

"Minnesota is sooo winning the West this year."

Just five days until the teams show up and play. Damn I can’t wait.

Here’s the Preseason List:

Illinois Fighting Illini:
  • Josh Ferguson - RB
Indiana Hoosiers:
  • Dan Feeney – OL
Iowa Hawkeyes:
  • Jaleel Johnson – DT
  • Drew Ott – DE
  • Austin Blythe – OL
Maryland Terrapins:
  • Levern Jacobs – WR
  • Will Likely - DB
Michigan Wolverines:
  • Jake Butt – TE
  • Jourdan Lewis - CB
Minnesota Golden Gophers:
  • Jack Lynn - LB
Michigan State Spartans:
  • Connor Cook – QB
  • Joel Heath – DT
  • Madre London – RB
  • LJ Scott – RB
  • Josiah Price TE
  • Jack Conklin – OL
Nebraska Cornhuskers:
  • Tommy Armstrong Jr. – QB
  • Maliek Collins – DT
Ohio State Buckeyes:
  • Josh Perry – LB
  • J.T. Barrett – QB
  • Cardale Jones – QB
  • Joey Bosa – DE
  • Eli Apple – CB
  • Darron Lee – LB
  • Michael Thomas – WR
  • Vonn Bell – DB
  • Taylor Decker – OL
Northwestern Wildcats:
  • Justin Jackson – RB
  • Dan Vitale – DB
Penn State Nittany Lions
  • Anthony Zettel – DT
  • Christian Hackenberg – QB
  • Adam Breneman - TE
  • DaeSean Hamilton - WR

Purdue Boilermakers:
  • Anthony Brown - DB
Rutgers Scarlet Knights
  • Steve Longa – LB
  • Leonte Carroo – WR
  • Kemoko Turay - DE
Wisconsin Badgers:
  • Corey Clement – RB
  • Vince Biegel – LB
  • Michael Caputo - S

As I said, this list is made up of Ballers from last year, who made a watch list, were called out in the media, or who I remember (in my distorted, aging memory) as being worthy. I’m sure I missed a few. We’ll know in a week.

As for the beer review, let's start off with a cold bottle of Session Lager, from the Full Sail Brewing Company in Hood River Oregon. I first met this beer at a Craft Beer Festival in Amelia Island, Florida. It's a smooth, easy drinking lager the I like very much.

Now it's your turn...who did I miss and what beers should I try?

Your Friend,