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B1G Ballers: Was C.J. Beathard the Best Player in 2015?

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Statistics are fun! Especially biased observations done with beer.

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The Best Players in the Big Ten Conference (B1G Ballers) results are in (finally, I know...). Below you'll find a team by team summary of which players saw their names recognized in the weekly B1G Ballers. Before we go full statistical, let's give the Iowa fans something to crow about.

The B1G baller of 2016 was C.J. Beathard. He appeared in the Ballers ten times. Runners up were Justin Jackson and Aaron Burbridge with eight appearances each.

Now let's talk about some conference averages.

The average unique Ballers per team this year was 17.2. If your team had more, you were either PSU (homersota) or you had more standouts on your team than most. I also tracked both Seniors and Freshmen to see if there was a correlation between age and success.

Seniors, as a percentage of your Ballers, should indicate a team's maturity and therefore success. While it isn't perfect, a good example of this is Michigan. Harbaugh inherited a squad that had 13 seniors that appeared in Ballers. That's 8 more than the conference average. This Michigan team was loaded with experience, which contributed to their success.

On the other hand, Ohio State only had two seniors. They won because their players are just better than your team's.

I tracked freshmen Ballers to give us an inkling of good recruiting and future success. If your freshmen balled out during last year, that says good things about the future, right? The teams that led the conference in outstanding freshmen were Minnesota with five, Michigan State and Penn State with four each.

The average percentage of seniors making up a team's Ballers was 5.1 or 27% of the ballers playing. The average number of freshmen was 2.1 or 12% of your team's ballers. While a loaded senior class this year, probably means a big drop off next year (Lookin' at you, Michigan!), sometimes the stats predict the future in other ways.

For example, when I look at Ohio State, Nebraska, and Indiana, I see teams that were below average in both seniors and freshmen. That tells me sophomores and juniors  made up their ballers lists. Next year could be more successful, as those kids will be even more experienced. Except for the Buckeyes...whose entire team just went to  the NFL...

Just remember, these are cobbled together statistics of a completely biased set of observations by yours truly. It really doesn't mean shit...but it's the offseason. Time for wild ass guesses and crazy predictions!

On that sunny note, let's jump right in:

Illinois Fighting Illini -

Illinois

Ballers:

17

Seniors:

5

Seniors %:

29%

Freshmen:

2

Freshmen %:

12%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

5

Geronimo Allison

Sr.

4

Wes Lunt

Jr.

3

Josh Ferguson

Sr.

3

Clayton Fejedlem

Sr.

3

Jihad Ward

Sr.

2

Taylor Barton

Jr.

2

Caleb Day

Jr.

2

Ryan Frain

Jr.

2

Dawuane Smoot

Jr.

2

Taylor Barton

Jr.

1

Murchie Murdock

So.

1

Tre Watson

Fr.

1

Carroll Phillips

Jr.

1

Malik Turner

So.

1

Ke'Shawn Vaughn

Fr.

1

Jevaris Little

Jr.

1

Mason Monheim

Sr.

The Illini hit the average for players in ballers. However, they were a little heavy in seniors and more important, those seniors contributed a whole lot during the year. Look at the top five players on that list and you see Illinois star power waving goodbye.

Indiana Hoosiers -

Indiana

Ballers:

18

Seniors:

4

Seniors %:

22%

Freshmen:

2

Freshmen %:

11%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

5

Jordan Howard

Jr.

5

Nate Sudfeld

Sr.

4

Devine Redding

So.

3

Mitchell Paige

R-Jr.

2

Ricky Jones

R-Jr.

2

Zander Diamont

So.

2

Erich Toth

R-Sr.

2

Griffin Oakes

R-So.

1

Jameel Cook Jr

Fr.

1

Tony Fields

So.

1

Simmie Cobbs Jr

So.

1

Danny Cameron

R-Fr.

1

Jason Spriggs

Sr.

1

Jacob Bailey

R-Jr.

1

Jake Reed

R-Sr.

1

Dan Feeney

R-Jr.

1

Dimitric Camiel

R-Jr.

1

Tegray Scales

So.

5

Jordan Howard

Jr.

Indiana had more than the average ballers and fewer than the average seniors. Freshmen contribution was a little light, but Indiana can look forward to a lot of Devine Redding in the future. The biggest concern here is quarterback...but I'm sure we'll cover that somewhere else.

Iowa Hawkeyes -

Iowa

Ballers:

21

Seniors:

7

Seniors %:

33%

Freshmen:

2

Freshmen %:

10%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

10

C.J. Beathard

Jr.

5

Jordan Canzeri

Sr.

4

LeShun Daniels Jr.

Jr.

4

Desmond King

Jr.

2

Cole Fisher

Sr.

2

Jordan Lomax

Sr.

2

Akrum Wadley

So.

2

Josey Jewell

So.

1

Drew Ott

Sr.

1

Matt VandeBerg

Jr.

1

Bo Bower

So.

1

Cole Croston

Jr.

1

Sean Welsh

So.

1

Austin Blythe

Sr.

1

Jordan Walsh

Sr.

1

James Daniels

Fr.

1

Jaleel Johnson

Jr.

1

Nathan Bazata

So.

1

Nate Meier

Sr.

1

Greg Mabin

Jr.

1

Parker Hesse

Fr.

Iowa had more than its fair share of seniors. It will be interesting to see if they can repeat their success in 2016. If anything, Beathard will have a strong cast of experience with him. Return of the undefeated Hawks anyone?

Michigan Wolverines -

Michigan

Ballers:

20

Seniors:

13

Seniors %:

65%

Freshmen:

0

Freshmen %:

0%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

6

Amara Darboh

Sr.

6

Jake Rudock

Sr.

6

Jehu Chesson

Sr.

5

Jake Butt

Jr.

2

De'Veon Smith

Jr.

2

Jeremy Clark

Sr.

2

Taco Charlton

Jr.

2

Desmond Morgan

Sr.

2

Jabrill Peppers

So.

2

James Ross III

Sr.

2

Jarrod Wilson

Sr.

2

Willie Henry

Sr.

1

Ty Isaac

Jr.

1

Channing Stribling

Jr.

1

Maurice Hurst

Jr.

1

Mario Ojemudia

Sr.

1

Joe Bolden

Sr.

1

Sione Houma

Sr.

1

Blake O'neill

Sr.

1

Chris Wormley

Sr.

As I said earlier, this team was top heavy in the extreme. It had the most seniors by a long shot. If they can't reload, we could see Coach Tantrum's team regress in 2016. Look at the list below. What I see is a complete reload at all the skill positions.

Michigan State Spartans -

Michigan State

Ballers:

23

Seniors:

9

Seniors %:

39%

Freshmen:

4

Freshmen %:

17%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

8

Aaron Burbridge

Sr.

7

Connor Cook

Sr.

5

Riley Bullough

Jr.

4

Shilique Calhoun

Sr.

3

Arjen Colquhoun

Sr.

3

Malik McDowell

So.

2

Montae Nicholson

So.

2

R.J. Williamson

Sr.

2

Macgarrett Kings Jr.

Sr.

2

L.J. Scott

Fr.

2

Demetrius Cox

Jr.

2

Gerald Holmes

So.

1

Madre London

Fr.

1

Joel Heath

Sr.

1

Jon Reschke

So.

1

Darien Harris

Sr.

1

Trevon Pendleton

Sr.

1

Jalen Watts-Jackson

So.

1

Shane Jones

So.

1

Grayson Miller

Fr.

1

Michael Geiger

Jr.

1

Craig Evans

Fr.

1

Tyler O'Connor

Jr.

This was a really great team, from a Ballers prospective. Sparty had more seniors than most teams and they played well. Plus they had more freshment contributing than most teams. Like Michigan, this team will have to replace some key contributors.

Maryland Terrapins -

Maryland

Ballers:

16

Seniors:

2

Seniors %:

13%

Freshmen:

2

Freshmen %:

13%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

4

Brandon Ross

Sr.

3

Quinton Jefferson

Jr.

3

Will Likely

Jr.

2

Sean Davis

Sr.

2

Jalen Brooks

So.

2

Perry Hills

Jr.

2

Yannick Ngakoue

Jr.

1

Taivon Jacobs

So.

1

Levern Jacobs

Jr.

1

Brett Zanotto

Fr.

1

Kinglsey Opara

So.

1

Jesse Aniebonam

So.

1

Caleb Rowe

Jr.

1

Malcolm Culmer

Jr.

1

Kenneth Goins Jr.

Jr.

1

Ty Johnson

Fr.

The good news is this Maryland team only loses two seniors. The bad news is that they only won one conference game last year. We'll see what happens when this crop of juniors all become seniors next year. I predict Maryland doubles its conference wins in 2016.

Purdue Boilermakers -

Purdue

Ballers:

11

Seniors:

3

Seniors %:

27%

Freshmen:

3

Freshmen %:

27%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

6

None

3

Austin Appleby

Jr.

3

Markell Jones

Fr.

3

David Blough

Fr.

2

Anthony Brown

Sr.

2

Frankie Williams

Sr.

2

Danny Anthrop

Sr.

2

DeAngelo Yancey

So.

1

Robert Gregory

Jr.

1

Gelen Robinson

So.

1

Domonique Young

Jr.

1

Brandon Roberts

Fr.

I'm sorry to pile on Boilers, but the fact that you had six weeks of no ballers cracked me up. The bright spot in this line up are those freshmen, Markell Jones and David Blough. Some bright futures there. I hope you guys can get it together in 2016.

Penn State Nittany Lions -

Penn State

Ballers:

21

Seniors:

4

Seniors %:

19%

Freshmen:

4

Freshmen %:

19%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

6

Saquon Barkley

Fr.

5

Christian Hackenberg

Jr.

4

Carl Nassib

Sr.

4

Chris Godwin

So.

2

John Reid

Fr.

2

Grant Haley

So.

2

Daesean Hamilton

So.

2

Brandon Bell

Jr.

1

Akeel Lynch

Jr.

1

Saeed Blacknall

So.

1

Kyle Carter

Sr.

1

Austin Johnson

Jr.

1

Trevor Williams

Sr.

1

Malik Golden

Jr.

1

Nick Scott

Fr.

1

Anthony Zettel

Sr.

1

Mark Allen

Fr.

1

Troy Reeder

So.

1

Curtis Cothran

So.

1

Parker Cothren

So.

1

Geno Lewis

Jr.

This was a young football team. There was a decided lack of star power on the offensive line. The departing senior list is short, but critical with two decorated stars from the defensive line graduating. That said, Saquon Barkley was a freshman! Woo Hoo!

Barkley for Heisman!

Too soon?

Minnesota Golden Gophers -

Minnesota

Ballers:

19

Seniors:

4

Seniors %:

21%

Freshmen:

5

Freshmen %:

26%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

5

Mitch Leidner

Jr.

5

Shannon Brooks

Fr.

2

Rodney Smith

Fr.

2

Drew Wolitarsky

Jr.

2

Steven Richardson

So.

2

Rodney Smith

Fr.

2

Brandon Lingen

So.

1

Eric Murray

Sr.

1

Cody Poock

So.

1

Peter Mortell

Sr.

1

Craig James

So.

1

Jalen Myrick

Jr.

1

De'Vondre Campbell

Sr.

1

Rashad Still

Fr.

1

Ryan Santoso

So.

1

jack Lynn

Jr.

1

KJ Maye

Sr.

1

KiAnte Hardin

Fr.

1

Briean Boddy-Calhoun

Sr.

Just looking through this list gives me chills. There's a whole lot of talent coming back...Brooks, Smith, Richardson. Holy hell...You guys could be 8 - 1 going into Lincoln in November. You shouldn't have more than 3 losses in that first nine game stretch.

Nebraska Cornhuskers -

Nebraska

Ballers:

17

Seniors:

3

Seniors %:

18%

Freshmen:

1

Freshmen %:

6%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

6

Tommy Armstrong

Jr.

4

None

3

Jordan Westerkamp

Jr.

3

Nate Gerry

Jr.

2

Terrell Newby

Jr.

2

Alonzo Moore

Jr.

2

Brandon Reilly

Jr.

1

Kevin Maurice

Jr.

1

Andy Janovich

Sr.

1

Freedom Akinmoladun

Fr.

1

Drew Brown

So.

1

Joshua Kalu

So.

1

Ross Dzuris

Jr.

1

Sam Folz

Jr.

1

Ryker Fyfe

Jr.

1

Imani Cross

Sr.

1

Jonathan Rose

Sr.

1

Cethan Carter

Jr.

This is another team that could be really good in 2016. Just look at all those juniors contributing. Oh and then there were those three weeks (and the bye) where this team laid an egg. Consistency needs to improve and Nebraska is a force to be reckoned with next year.

Northwestern Wildcats -

Northwestern

Ballers:

14

Seniors:

5

Seniors %:

36%

Freshmen:

1

Freshmen %:

7%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

8

Justin Jackson

So.

4

Clayton Thorson

Fr.

3

Anthony Walker

So.

3

Dan Vitale

Sr.

3

None

2

Matthew Harris

Jr.

2

Dean Lowry

Sr.

2

Nick VanHoose

Sr.

1

Ifeadi Odenigbo

Jr.

1

Traveon Henry

Sr.

1

Solomon Vault

So.

1

Jack Mitchell

Jr.

1

Warren Long

Jr.

1

Drew Smith

Sr.

1

Austin Carr

Jr.

Northwestern had more than the average seniors on this squad, but look at the first three Ballers...they are coming back. And while I don't think they make a run at the West championship, they will be spoilers again. The road to the CCG probably runs through Evanston...since both Nebraska and Wisconsin have to play there. That said, Iowa gets Northwestern at home.

I think Northwestern will be a quality opponent in 2016...so be prepared.

Rutgers Scarlet Knights -

Rutgers

Ballers:

14

Seniors:

4

Seniors %:

29%

Freshmen:

2

Freshmen %:

14%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

5

Leonte Carroo

Sr.

4

Chris Laviano

So.

3

Quentin Gause

Sr.

3

Janarion Grant

Jr.

3

Robert Martin

So.

2

Kemoko Turay

So.

2

Paul James

Sr.

1

Jimmy Hogan

Fr.

1

Andre Hunt

So.

1

Josh Hicks

So.

1

Steve Longa

Jr.

1

Carlton Agudosi

Jr.

1

Blessuan Austin

Fr.

1

Kalwan Lewis

Sr.

So, I watched this team a lot last year. Without Carroo, it was a bad football team. And now it's permanently without Carroo. I'm concerned that the East Coast Bro's are going to be bad again.

Laviano is back and Grant too. That will be the pair to watch...but you've got to find some more talent. Being one dimensional with a terrible defense doesn't work in the B1G. One conference win sucks. It's hard to talk shit with confidence when you are sitting eyeball to eyeball with Purdue and Maryland.

Wisconsin Badgers -

Wisconsin

Ballers:

16

Seniors:

7

Seniors %:

44%

Freshmen:

1

Freshmen %:

6%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

5

Dare Ogunbowale

Jr.

5

Tanner McEvoy

Sr.

5

Joe Schobert

Sr.

4

Joel Stave

Sr.

4

Alex Erickson

Sr.

2

Bart Houston

Jr.

2

Vince Biegel

Jr.

2

Taiwan Deal

Fr.

1

Austin Traylor

Sr.

1

Alec Ingold

Fr.

1

Robert Wheelwright

Jr.

1

Micheal Caputo

Sr.

1

Corey Clement

Jr.

1

Natrell Jamerson

So.

1

Jazz Peavy

So.

1

Drew Meyer

Sr.

Ouch, that's a lot of star power heading out the door. This senior class was loaded with talent. The good news is that Clement should be back, Ogunbowale is great, and Taiwan Deal could be a star in the making. Wisconsin is reloading for 2016. Iowa fans should break out the crying towels now...the West could have a new champ next year.

Ohio State Buckeyes -

Ohio State

Ballers:

17

Seniors:

2

Seniors %:

12%

Freshmen:

1

Freshmen %:

6%

# of Weeks in Ballers

Name

Year

7

J.T. Barrett

So.

5

Ezekiel Elliott

Jr.

4

Braxton Miller

Sr.

3

Joey Bosa

Jr.

2

Cardale Jones

Jr.

1

Vonn Bell

Jr.

1

Cameron Johnston

Jr.

1

Curtis Samuel

So.

1

Darron Lee

So.

1

Eli Apple

So.

1

Tyvis Powell

Jr.

1

Sam Hubbard

Fr.

1

Adolphus Washington

Sr.

1

Gareon Conley

So.

1

Raeqwon McMillan

So.

1

Jalin Marshall

So.

1

Michael Thomas

Jr.

The single hardest thing about coaching a college football team well is the ability to reload each year. Urban Meyer is as efficient at that as O'Hare airport is at shuffling planes. The OSU ballers list had 2 seniors, seven juniors, seven sophomores, and one freshman. That's insanely balanced and speaks volumes about Meyer's ability to recruit great athletes. Not to mention coaching them up.

I know that OSU's departing talent could beat the Cleveland Browns, but don't count out the Buckeyes in 2016. J.T. Barrett is back and he's got some insane young talent to work with. Ugh.

I hated to have to write that.

There you have it folks...a data-heavy summary of the Big Ten Conference's Ballers for 2016. Now I have to go do some real work. Feel free to make up your own conclusions in the comments below.

Your Friend,

Townie.