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Breaking Down Athlon Sports’ All-B1G Team

It doesn’t end well, Purdue and Rutgers.

Clowning Penn State
That’s “best LB in the damn conference Jabril Peppers” to you, bub.
Photo by Evan Habeeb/Getty Images

Athlon Sports came out with their Preseason All-Big Ten Team today. Give it a look here.

As we at Off Tackle Empire already ranked the best position players in the Big Ten during our Spring Position Rankings series, I’m not here to argue that Mitch Leidner should’ve made 4th Team over Wes Lunt (I also don’t believe that) or that Riley Bullough should be 1st Team over Anthony Walker (I don’t believe that, either), though I am scared as hell of Ohio State’s defensive line.

Instead, these latest rankings got me thinking: “Northwestern and Illinois have the same number of players [7] on the All-B1G team. How can I manipulate these numbers to show Northwestern’s obvious superiority?”

Northwestern v Illinois
This is obviously a good way to show that as well.

What I decided to do was make a simple spreadsheet assigning points for each pick: 4 for a 1st team, 3 for a 2nd team, 2 for a 3rd team, 1 for a 4th team. I got totals and averages for both teams, and they’re found below:

So, what did we learn?

  • When Ohio State has someone ranked, they have someone ranked. Just because the Buckeyes only have 10 players on this list (trailing Iowa and the Michigans) doesn’t mean they’re down -- as usual, they’re reloading.
  • The same does not apply to you, Rutgers.
  • Michigan looks to have its edge on State in terms of all-conference players once again. Now, September Heismans and all that, but I wonder if you don’t start seeing things swing back in Ann Arbor’s direction, at least in the arms race.
  • Jesus Christ, Purdue.
  • Athlon is really, really down on Minnesota and Wisconsin. For two programs following similar building strategies (yes, one vastly more successful than the other since Speth was alive, which is the only important criterion), how well they play to their systems will prove vital in 2016.
  • Speaking of “playing to their systems,” @stunning@ to see IU with 4 offensive players and two defensive players.
  • #TheMovement hasn’t quite hit Maryland yet, it appears.
  • But #TheHype and #MikeRiley appear to have Nebraska and Penn State situated in a mushy middle in which they pine for the 90s (and argue about who was better) while failing to place their Big Ten players in the echelons they used to.
  • Iowa’s average is mid-tier, but once again, Kirk Ferentz can coach a team of three-stars and, with the right schedule, wind up near the top of the conference.

Most Importantly:

  • As I predicted, Northwestern proves superior to Illinois in every way. HAT.


Upset that Justin Jackson is ranked as an unquestionably better running back than Corey Clement? Got beef with Marcus Allen not listed as a top safety? No no no, this is the Big Ten: You want to argue about punter and kicker rankings! (It’s worth noting that Athlon and my rankings agree 100% hi athlon please hire me thanks.) Regardless, argue about it in the comments!