It’s still September and most teams have played only two games. But some of the Big Ten’s best players have strengthened their spots in postseason awards races.
Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett started the season by accounting for a school-record seven TDs in the 77-10 win against Bowling Green. Then there’s Michigan QB Wilton Speight and Penn State running back Saquon Barkley, who scored five touchdowns even though his team lost against Pitt.
Here’s what he had:
- Ohio State QB J.T. Barrett
- Michigan QB Wilton Speight
- Iowa QB C.J. Beathard
- Ohio State H-back Curtis Samuel and Penn State RB Saquon Barkley
- Ohio State DB Malik Hooker
- Michigan LB Jabrill Peppers
- Ohio State DB Marshon Lattimore
- Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
- Nebraska DB Kieron Williams
Hooker is a surprise early leader after making three interceptions in the first two weeks. Peppers has the recognized name value, so one huge game will probably lock him in for a long time. But McDowell and Williams have the weekend’s best opportunities as Michigan State travels to Notre Dame and Nebraska plays at home against Oregon.
Looking ahead, quarterbacks will also have an edge in awards situations, so don’t be surprised if the top 3 of Barrett, Speight and Beathard battle for the lead. Of course, the season is still very young and there could be some surprises ahead.