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Big Ten Quarterback Power Rankings After Week 1

Zach DirlamSenior Analyst IIOctober 14, 2016

Big Ten Quarterback Power Rankings After Week 1

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    Entering the 2012 season, the Big Ten Conference appeared to be loaded with playmakers at the quarterback position and several of them lived up to their preseason hype in college football's opening week.

    Taylor Martinez looked much better than he did a year ago, Braxton Miller put on a show for Ohio State, Denard Robinson struggled for the Michigan Wolverines and two starters were pulled either by coaches' choice or due to injury last Saturday.

    Who earned the top spots in the post-Week 1 edition of the Big Ten quarterback power rankings? Click next to find out!

No. 12: Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 24-7 over Western Michigan

    Week 1 Stats: 11-18, 126 yards, one touchdown, one interception. Seven carries, 21 yards, one touchdown.

    Nathan Scheelhaase and the Illinois Fighting Illini's offense looked subpar to say the least against a Western Michigan team that struggled defensively in 2011.

    Not only did Scheelhaase fail to put up solid numbers against the Mid-American conference squad, the junior quarterback also injured his ankle late in the game. According to a report from SBNation.com on Monday, Scheelhaase practiced with the team on Sunday and is listed as the starter for Illinois' matchup against Arizona State.

    If the Fighting Illini hope to contend for a Big Ten Leaders Division crown this season, Scheelhaase will have to improve quickly.

No. 11: James Vandenberg, Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 18-17 over Northern Illinois (at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill.)

    Week 1 Stats: 21-33, 129 yards, zero touchdowns, zero interceptions.

    The good news for Iowa Hawkeyes fans after Saturday's nail-biting win over Northern Illinois is that sophomore running back Damon Bullock appears to have enough talent to be a No. 1 running back in the Big Ten this season. However, the bad news is that senior quarterback James Vandenberg and the receiving corps underwhelmed against a defense that gave up more than 38 points in five of their 13 games last season.

    Vandenberg performed well in his first year as Iowa's starting quarterback in 2011, but without a consistent playmaker at wide receiver the Keokuk, Iowa native might be heading for a subpar season in 2012.

    Another bad sign for Vandenberg and the Hawkeyes is that the offensive line gave up five sacks against Northern Illinois.

    Do not expect to see Vandenberg among the top five quarterbacks in the Big Ten Conference this season unless a star emerges at wide receiver and the offensive line improves.

No. 10: Kain Colter, Northwestern Wildcats

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 42-41 at Syracuse

    Week 1 Stats: 14-21, 135 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. 14 carries, 40 yards and one touchdown.

    Why is a quarterback who finished the game with three total touchdowns and helped lead his team to a victory on the road ranked near the bottom of the Big Ten Conference's quarterback power rankings?

    Well, it is a pretty simple answer. The Northwestern offense was sporadic in terms of efficiency in their win over Syracuse and to make matters worse for Kain Colter, head coach Pat Fitzgerald pulled the junior signal-caller out of the game for the Wildcats' final drive in favor of true sophomore gun-slinger Trevor Siemian.

    Colter watched his backup take the Wildcats on a 75-yard game-winning touchdown drive, which ended with a beautiful nine-yard touchdown pass from Siemian to Demetrius Fields in the corner of the endzone. 

    Siemian went 8-for-11 for 78 yards, in addition to the touchdown pass to Fields on Northwestern's final offensive drive.

    After Siemian's clutch performance, Colter's starting job may be in jeopardy, especially if Northwestern's offense struggles in their next couple of games while he is at the helm.

No. 9: Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State Spartans

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 17-13 over No. 24 Boise State.

    Week 1 Stats: 22-38, 248 yards, zero touchdowns and three interceptions.

    Andrew Maxwell's first start at quarterback for the Michigan State Spartans did not go as planned. Thankfully, Le'Veon Bell rushed for over 200 yards and helped Michigan State defeat an undersized, yet talented Boise State squad.

    The junior quarterback failed to throw a touchdown pass and fired three passes into the hands of Broncos defenders, though two of those interceptions were not Maxwell's fault.

    Look for Maxwell to gain some confidence against Central Michigan this weekend and as long as he rounds into form by Big Ten play the Midland, Mich., product should shoot up the quarterback power rankings.

No. 8: Matt McGloin, Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Week 1 Result: Lost, 24-14 to Ohio.

    Week 1 Stats: 27-48, 260 yards, two touchdowns and one interception.  

    Former walk-on quarterback Matt McGloin put on a show in the first half of Penn State's season-opening game last Saturday by tossing two touchdowns and completing 16 of his first 26 passes, but failed to maintain his strong start and vanished in the fourth quarter when the Nittany Lions needed him the most.

    McGloin only completed 4-of-11 attempts and threw an interception in the final quarter of play that sealed Penn State's fate in its 24-14 loss to the Ohio Bobcats.

    The good news for McGloin and Penn State as they move forward is the emergence of sophomore wideout Allen Robinson, who hauled in nine of McGloin's passes for 97 yards.

    If McGloin can perform like he did in the first half against the Bobcats in Penn State's upcoming contests, then the senior quarterback will have a chance to move up the power rankings. 

No. 7: Tre Roberson, Indiana Hoosiers

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 24-17 over Indiana State

    Week 1 Stats: 26-38, 280 yards, one touchdown and zero interceptions. 7 carries, 19 yards and one touchdown.

    Tre Roberson looked much improved in Indiana's victory over in-state Football Championship Subdivision foe Indiana State as he racked up close to 300 yards of total offense and two touchdowns.

    Could Roberson have played better against Indiana State? Absolutely, however the true sophomore performed well enough to secure the No. 7 spot in the quarterback power rankings this week.

    Roberson and the Hoosiers will get a chance to improve upon their offensive statistics from Week 1 when they take on Mid-American Conference newcomer Massachusetts this Saturday at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass. 

No. 6: MarQueis Gray, Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 30-27 (3OT) at UNLV.

    Week 1 Stats: 17-30, 269 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. 17 carries, 68 yards and zero touchdowns.

    Like Tre Roberson of Indiana, senior signal-caller MarQueis Gray could have put up much better numbers against a UNLV squad that is used to giving up a ton of points, but Minnesota's dual-threat quarterback threw two touchdown passes and helped the Golden Gophers win their season opener in three overtimes.

    Gray only made one mistake all night and it came on Minnesota's opening drive when he threw an interception.

    The Indianapolis, Ind., native should be able to maintain his current ranking, or move up a couple of spots with solid performances against New Hampshire, Western Michigan and Syracuse over the next three weeks.

No. 5: Denard Robinson, Michigan Wolverines

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    Week 1 Result: Loss, 41-14 to No. 2 Alabama (at Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Tex.).

    Week 1 Stats: 11-26, 200 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions. 10 carries, 27 yards and one touchdown.

    Denard Robinson struggled as many expected him to against the defense of the University of Alabama in Michigan's season-opening drubbing at the hands of Nick Saban and his No. 2-ranked Crimson Tide squad.

    Although Robinson's stats are worse than some of the other quarterbacks, the electrifying senior is ranked ahead of in this week's rankings, he is still one of the most explosive players at his position in all of college football and will not have to face another stifling defense until the Wolverines play Michigan State in mid-October.

    The Michigan offense will flow through Robinson all season long, and for this reason he still belongs among the top five quarterbacks in the Big Ten until defenses are consistently shutting him down.

    Expect Robinson to return to form this weekend against Air Force and climb back up the power rankings.

No. 4: Danny O'Brien, Wisconsin Badgers

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 26-21 over Northern Iowa.

    Week 1 Stats: 19-23, 219 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions.

    Danny O'Brien may not put up the biggest numbers in the Big Ten this season, but as long as the Maryland transfer is efficient like he was for Wisconsin in its win over Northern Iowa then he will remain among the top quarterbacks in the conference all season long.

    O'Brien only missed on four passes and tossed two touchdowns, both to standout wide receiver Jared Abbrederis, and did not turn the ball over.

    Montee Ball and James White will help set up the play-action passing game for O'Brien all year and the Badgers' offensive line will give him plenty of time to throw, in addition to keeping him upright and healthy.

    Look for a similar performance from O'Brien when Wisconsin travels to Oregon State this Saturday.

No. 3: Robert Marve, Purdue Boilermakers

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 48-6 over Eastern Kentucky.

    Week 1 Stats: 30-38, 295 yards, three touchdowns and one interception. 

    Sixth-year senior quarterback Robert Marve finally looked like the highly coveted prospect he was coming out of high school in Purdue's route of Eastern Kentucky.

    Marve tossed three touchdowns and close to 300 yards, in addition to avoiding turnovers and helping the Boilermakers find the end zone drive after drive.

    In addition, Marve's performance may have won him the starting quarterback job after Caleb TerBush's suspension for Purdue's season opener after committing an unspecified violation of team rules.

    Marve may eventually regress to the average quarterback he has been for the past several seasons, but for this week he belongs at No. 3 in the Big Ten quarterback power rankings.

No. 2: Braxton Miller, Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 56-10 over Miami (OH)

    Week 1 Stats: 14-24, 207 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. 17 carries, 161 yards and one touchdown.

    Anyone watching Braxton Miller in Urban Meyer's spread offense last weekend had to feel bad for anyone playing on Miami (OH)'s defense.

    Miller ran all over the RedHawks' defense and thanks to a couple of highlight reel catches from Ohio State's unproven receiving corps the sophomore signal-caller put up over 200 yards through the air along with a couple of touchdowns.

    It remains to be seen whether Miller will be able to run all over the defense's in the Big Ten this season. However, readers should expect to see the Huber Heights, Ohio product near the top of the power rankings for the non-conference slate.

No. 1: Taylor Martinez, Nebraska Cornhuskers

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    Week 1 Result: Won, 49-20 over Southern Mississippi.

    Week 1 Stats: 26-34, 354 yards, five touchdowns and zero interceptions. 

    Writers and college football fans alike laughed at the notion that Taylor Martinez could improve his awkward mechanics and non-existent footwork, but the junior dual-threat quarterback proved everyone wrong and looked impressive in Nebraska's rout of Southern Mississippi.

    Martinez's mechanics still look a bit out of the ordinary; however, it looks like a much cleaner and quicker release than he had in 2011.

    Whether this is the Taylor Martinez college football fans will see every week of the season remains to be seen. For this week though, Martinez is unquestionably the top quarterback in the Big Ten Conference.

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