We’re far enough into the season where preseason hype begins taking a backseat to on-field results.
So while Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett leads the Big Ten’s offensive awards races as expected, Nebraska’s Tommy Armstrong has joined the competition thanks to his strong start.
ESPN’s Austin Ward took a dive into a Big Ten awards tracker, looking at the favorites on offense, defense and at quarterback of the year.
Ward ranked Barrett first in the race for Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year but followed him with Armstrong, Ohio State’s Curtis Samuel, Penn State’s Saquon Barkley and Michigan’s Wilton Speight.
Barrett, Armstrong and Speight are also the three listed for Griese-Brees Quarterback of the Year. Here’s a current rundown:
- Barrett: 650 passing yards, 10 TDs, 1 INT with 159 rushing yards and 3 TDs
- Armstrong: 931 passing yards, 8 TDs, 1 INT with 281 rushing yards and 4 TDs
- Speight: 875 passing yards, 9 TDs, 1 INT
When it comes to Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year, Ohio State S Malik Hooker is ahead of Michigan star LB/DB Jabrill Peppers, with Hooker’s Buckeyes teammate CB Marshon Lattimore third.
Right now, it looks like the Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year race is going to be between Barrett and Armstrong. As long as Nebraska keeps winning, Armstrong will push Barrett. But if Ohio State remains undefeated, it’ll be difficult for Armstrong to take the top spot. Barrett had a head start with attention going into the season and he has more weapons around him to work with. An Ohio State player has won this award three times in the past four years, including Ezekiel Elliott in 2015.
The Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year has a couple of Buckeyes candidates in Hooker and Lattimore, but one has to wonder if Peppers’ ability to grab headlines in so many different ways will help his cause. Peppers also had 9.5 tackles for loss and it’s not yet October, so he’ll stay in the hunt all season.