We're three weeks away from the end of the Big Ten regular season—that feels really weird to type so soon—and it's time to start thinking about who the best player in the Big Ten has been.
Fortunately, that answer is easy: It's Ohio State quarterback Braxton Miller.
By a wide margin.
The relative dearth of high-quality teams in the Big Ten this season has manifested itself in a relative dearth of high-quality players (or perhaps it's the other way around). As such, the expected offensive titans coming into the season—like Denard Robinson, Montee Ball and Rex Burkhead—have all been underwhelming this year.
Injuries haven't helped those guys, either.
As such, the door's been opened for other offensive stars, and Braxton Miller has taken advantage of that opportunity in spades. He has been brilliant on a weekly basis, and there's very little chance Ohio State would still be undefeated without Miller's virtuoso performances at quarterback.
More than that, there aren't many other players who have been able to put together consistent performances over the course of the season.
Taylor Martinez has taken a giant step forward as a passer. In another universe where Urban Meyer takes the job at Washington State and Miller transfers there, Martinez could have a shot at Big Ten Player of the Year.
But while Martinez isn't as "feast or famine" as he was in years past, he's still inconsistent enough that it hurts Nebraska. His 205-yard rushing effort against Michigan State last week was heroic. It was also only his third game topping 100 yards on the ground this season (Miller has done so in eight of 10 games).
Additionally, Martinez has 18 passing touchdowns and eight interceptions, which is a very good ratio. However, those eight picks have come in four games. Nebraska is 2-2 in those games, and Martinez threw more interceptions than touchdowns in three of them. The one outlier: going 14-of-24 for one touchdown and a pick against Michigan in a game the Huskers were never going to lose after Robinson went out.
Miller, meanwhile, shines on a weekly basis. You can find highlight-worthy plays for every single game he's played this year, plays that at a minimum swing the field position and more usually result in long touchdowns. Heck, let's watch a few right now.
Actually, "highlight-worthy" doesn't do these plays justice. They're plays that nobody in the Big Ten—not even Denard Robinson—can make.
And at the end of the day, hey: Ohio State's 10-0. It's got a solid defense helping it along the way, of course, but even its best defenders—Ryan Shazier, John Simon, Bradley Roby and others—aren't having that incredible type of season that Miller is. And in a Big Ten that's already woefully low on other candidates for MVP, that's enough to seal the deal.
Vote Braxton Miller in 2012. He's the MVP the Big Ten needs.
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