Monday, October 14, 2013
Reranking the Big Ten's top 10 players
By Brian Bennett
We've reached the midseason point, so it's time to go back and revisit our list of the top players in the Big Ten.
In the preseason, we ranked the Top 25 players based on past performances and potential for the 2013 campaign. You can see that list here. Now that we've had a half-season worth of actual data, we're re-ranking the Top 10, based mostly on this year's performance, with a little second-half potential thrown in. As you can guess, this list looks a lot different than it did in August. Take a gander:
Melvin Gordon's 870 yards and eight touchdowns on a mere 90 carries has made him the No. 1 player in the Big Ten.
1. Melvin Gordon, RB, Wisconsin (Preseason ranking: 22): We knew Gordon had serious superstar potential when we ranked him in the preseason. He's met and even exceeded our expectations as the Big Ten's most dangerous offensive weapon.
2. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin (Preseason: 6): Somehow, Borland -- who's been around since 2009 -- has gotten even better as a fifth-year senior, and he's a clear choice right now as the league's defensive MVP.
3. Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State (Preseason: 8): Penn State has been light on complementary receivers at times this year, but it hasn't stopped Robinson from dominating and putting up huge numbers as the league's best wideout.
4. Ameer Abdullah, RB, Nebraska (Preseason: 13): With Taylor Martinez injured, Abdullah has stepped up and become the Cornhuskers' leader on offense. He's right behind Gordon as the Big Ten's top running back right now.
5. Ryan Shazier, LB, Ohio State (Preseason: 4): There's not a faster or more destructive linebacker in the Big Ten, and Shazier is at his best in big games. He'll give Borland a push for that defensive MVP award in the second half.
6. Darqueze Dennard, CB, Michigan State (Preseason: 10): The league's best defensive back got punished for his physical play by tight-whistled refs at Notre Dame. No matter. He came back the next time out with two interceptions at Iowa.
7. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State (Preseason: 1): Miller has missed a lot of time and didn't look fully sure of himself at Northwestern. but as he showed in the Wisconsin game, he can change a game like no other. He could do major damage in the second half.
8. Taylor Lewan, OT, Michigan (Preseason: 2): It's hard to get a read on just how well Lewan has played as many of his teammates have had their share of problems. But he's still the league's marquee offensive lineman.
9. Jared Abbrederis, WR, Wisconsin (Preseason: 16): How does this guy keep getting so open? Because he's fast, smart and really good at his job.
10. Max Bullough, LB, Michigan State (Preseason: 7): Stats don't matter with Bullough. He's the leader and the on-field brain for the best defense not only in the Big Ten, but quite possibly the nation.