- Brian Bennett, College Football
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The season is approaching the halfway point, so let's take a look at where some individual Big Ten races stand:
Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year
1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State: As the Big Ten's only legitimate Heisman candidate, Miller is running away with this award right now. But there's a lot of season left.
2. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State: At the halfway mark for the Nittany Lions, McGloin has 1,499 passing yards, along with 12 passing touchdowns and only two interceptions. And he has run for five scores, which is one more rushing touchdown than Denard Robinson has. You read that sentence correctly.
3. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State: Bell leads all tailbacks in rushing with 776 yards and has added seven touchdowns. His defining moments are coming up as the Spartans enter their most crucial schedule stretch of the season.
4. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska: Martinez has done many good things this year, but his three-turnover performance at Ohio State will linger in memories for a while. All will be forgiven if he can lead the Huskers to a Legends Division title.
5. Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern: Though this is strictly an offensive award, Mark gets some bonus points for his outstanding special-teams work. He has also rushed for 610 yards and six touchdowns.
Nagurski-Woodson Defensive Player of the Year
2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin: Borland had another outstanding game against Illinois, with 10 tackles and a forced fumble. He's tied for sixth in the league in tackles with 53.
3. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue: Short remains arguably the top interior defensive lineman in the league, but his team's overall poor defensive effort in last week's 44-13 loss to Michigan bumps him down a notch. He and the defense get a shot at redemption this week in a huge game versus Wisconsin.
4. John Simon, DE, Ohio State: Simon had five tackles for loss against Nebraska and played like a beast in that game. He has battled through some shoulder problems this season and is an inspiration for the Buckeyes' defense.
5. D.L. Wilhite, DE, Minnesota: Wilhite was the Big Ten's leader in sacks before the Gophers' bye week. Between that and the blowout loss to Iowa, it's been a while since he's strutted his stuff. He'll need to do so versus Northwestern to stay on this list.
Thompson–Randle El Freshman of the Year
1. Deion Barnes, DE, Penn State: Barnes has been outstanding on the Nittany Lions' defensive front, as the redshirt freshman has four sacks and two forced fumbles this season. Hope he's prepared for other schools to be camped outside his dorm room in the offseason.
2. Devin Funchess, TE, Michigan: Funchess looks like he'll be a matchup nightmare for defenses for years to come in this league. The true freshman already has nine catches for 165 yards and two touchdowns, and his role is likely to grow this season.
3. Mason Monheim, LB, Illinois: Monheim has been one of the bright spots in a dismal past month for the Illini. The true freshman has collected 34 tackles, including 2.5 for loss and a pair of forced fumbles, while claiming a starting spot.
4. Aaron Burbridge, WR, Michigan State: Burbidge is on here based on just one game. But if the true freshman can put together more performances like his eight-catch, 134-yard showing at Indiana, he'll make second-half push up the list.
The season is approaching the halfway point, so let's take a look at where some individual Big Ten races stand:Graham-George Offensive Player of the Year1.