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The 2017 Big Ten Spring Position Ranking Begins

The position breakdowns are coming. Let’s rank other Big Ten things while we’re here.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Ohio State Joe Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

My daughter started walking this week.

It’s a really strange sentence for me to write because (a) I have a daughter, and (b) she is walking, but it makes me realize that a year has gone by since writing the introduction to the 2016 Big Ten Spring Position Rankings. In that year I moved across the country, switched jobs, wrote about seven articles - approximately - and watched my daughter learn to walk.

Insanity. Absolute insanity.

Of course, that’s not why we’re here. I just figured I would fill you all in on my life and give excuses for not actually writing*.

*although, I do find myself watching more games... coincidence? I think not

And, to cap it all off, we are officially in the offseason of football. You know, that strange world between Signing Day, the Super Bowl, and Spring Practices. Of course, that also means that it is time for us to start down the path of argument-inducing offseason content!

For the first time in the history of this series, we have the same naming convention repeated. I generally argued for switching it up again because it seemed like tradition, but Graham overruled me. If you haven’t been around these parts in February - where we pretend it’s Spring - the gist of Big Ten Spring Position Rankings is this... We rank each positional group and argue about it in the comments. I know, it’s pretty complex.

In true Spring Position Rankings tradition, I’d like to continue answering questions from the imaginary audience. You all have done such a great job at trying to clarify what we’re trying to do here that I can’t help but give a little back. So here we go...

Jesse, I don’t understand what this series is because I don’t understand context or words. Help explain what you’ll be doing here!

Each day* over the next few weeks* the writing team* at Off Tackle Empire will be providing you with the best* most reliable* rankings of players. I believe we start with some of the offensive skill positions, but we will also look at specialists, coaches, mascots... Okay, maybe not mascots, but you get where we’re going.

*all terms and time periods are relative

Wait, why aren’t you doing mascots?

Fine, I’ll run through the Top 5 quickly.

(1) Sparty - This could have gone two ways. 1) Dudebro dressed up in ‘Spartan’ gear, or 2) Giant, plush, ridiculous mascot that waves a lot and hits on cheerleaders. The second won out.

(2) Goldy - Negative points for all anthropomorphized animals, but Goldy is legit in my book. Definitely think his wardrobe is meritorious on its own. Also, apparently the University of Minnesota considers the student who is Goldy a Student-Athlete and I respect that.

(3) Herky - Mostly because I read this Wikipedia Entry on Herky:

On November 22, 1997, during a below freezing Iowa 31-0 football victory over Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium, a Golden Gopher drummer had a cup of water thrown on his face by Herky after the drummer used his drumstick to tap Herky on his shoulder pad. As Herky skipped away he was tackled from behind by the drummer. Rather than take a hand offered to help the mascot to his feet, Herky broke the drummer's glasses with a punch to the face. The end result of Herky's assault on the drummer was the breaking of the historic 40-year-old cheer-bird's head. Members of the Minnesota band took small trophy pieces of the broken helmet back to Minnesota. The helmet was re-made of Kevlar for the 1998 season.

I mean, I don’t even know what’s happening here, but I like it. For that, you get third place in my book, Herky.

Sidenote: If anyone knows this drummer, let me know. I want his side of the story.

(4) Boilermaker Special - Purdue Pete is Satan, but that train is cool

(5) Nittany Lion - I have a soft spot for terribly cheap looking mascots

That was an interesting list, Jesse. You should do those more often.

Why thank you invisible person. I like compliments and you can keep sending those my way anytime.

Don’t get used to it. Anyhow, remind us of who you picked last year.


QB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

RB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

WR: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

TE: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

OL: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

K: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

P: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

DE: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

DT: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

LB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

S: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

CB: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

KR/PR: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

AC: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

HC: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines



QB: JT Barrett - Ohio State Buckeyes

RB: Justin Jackson - Northwestern Wildcats

WR: Jehu Chesson - Michigan Wolverines

TE: Jake Butt - Michigan Wolverines

OL: Michigan Wolverines (Unit)

K: Griffin Oakes - Indiana Hoosiers

P: Cameron Johnston - Ohio State Buckeyes

DE: Chris Wormley - Michigan Wolverines

DT: Malik McDowell - Michigan State Spartans

LB: Northwestern Wildcats (Unit)

S: Jabrill Peppers - Michigan Wolverines

CB: Iowa Hawkeyes (Unit), but... Desmond King - Iowa Hawkeyes

HC: Mark Dantonio - Michigan State Spartans

There was some real Michigan Wolverines love... so that’s a thing.

Okay, so what next?

Well, for now? Argue about the mascot thing, but be prepared to ask the writers to show their work on Quarterbacks tomorrow. It’s Springtime in the Midwest! Let’s rank some people.