- Adam Rittenberg, ESPN Staff Writer
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Last week, you were asked to identify the Big Ten's top defensive tandem entering the 2012 season. Michigan State's standout pair -- defensive end William Gholston and cornerback Johnny Adams -- pulled away from the pack with 41 percent of the vote, followed by Penn State's Gerald Hodges and Jordan Hill (25 percent)and Wisconsin's Chris Borland and Mike Taylor (24 percent).
Let's turn the focus to the offensive side of the ball.
For the purpose of this poll, the top offensive tandems will be skill players: quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. While a standout individual lineman can be a weapon for an offense, the overall strength of the line is more valuable.
Looking at the landscape of Big Ten returning offensive skill players, there's a bit of an imbalance. The league is loaded at running back but less so at quarterback and tight end and much less so at wide receiver. Some teams have proven players at one of the positions but not at any of the others. This poll excluded players who haven't made multiple starts (i.e. Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell) or those coming in from another league (i.e. Wisconsin QB Danny O'Brien).
Three of the choices were pretty easy. Michigan and Nebraska both return offensive backfields featuring playmakers at the quarterback and running back spots. Wisconsin returns the Big Ten's top running back (Montee Ball) and the league's top receiver (Jared Abbrederis). The other choices are based a little more on potential for the 2012 season, although all four players have started multiple games.
It's your turn to vote. Make it count.
9hBrian Bennett and Austin Ward