Big Ten: awards race 13

Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 11

November, 5, 2013
The deciding weeks of the season are upon us, and after one November Saturday, we have new leaders in the races for offensive and defensive player of the year. Let's take a look at where some awards competitions stand:

Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year

[+] EnlargeBraxton Miller
Jonathan Daniel/Getty ImagesBraxton Miller has 13 TD passes and two interceptions in B1G play.
1. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller (Last week: 2): The preseason leader resumes his perch. It will be interesting to see if Miller's missed time in the nonconference season will hold him back for this award. But in league play he has been dynamite, completing 72.8 percent of his passes for 1,108 yards and 13 touchdowns, with only two interceptions. He has run for 328 yards and two scores in five conference games.

2. Nebraska RB Ameer Abdullah (LW: 3): Abdullah took over the Big Ten rushing lead last week, with 1,108 yards in eight games. He is without a doubt the leader of the Nebraska offense right now.

3. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (LW: 1): Gordon had been No. 1 for several weeks but had only 62 yards on 17 carries at Iowa. That makes two subpar performances in conference play, to go along with his showing at Ohio State. Gordon can still get back on top with a big finish, and the battle for the title of best Big Ten back among him, Abdullah and Ohio State's Carlos Hyde is one to watch down the stretch.

4. Penn State WR Allen Robinson (LW: NR): The Nittany Lions star is second nationally in receiving yards per game (130.4) and went over 1,000 yards for the season on Saturday. He's on pace for a 1,500-yard year and should claim his second straight Big Ten receiver of the year trophy.

Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

1. Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier (LW: 2): Shazier takes over the lead after a seven-tackle, two-sack performance against Purdue. He is tied for the Big Ten lead with 11 tackles for loss, and it doesn't hurt that the Buckeyes defense is starting to take off.

2. Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun (LW: NR): He's tied with Ohio State's Noah Spence for the Big Ten sacks lead (6.5) and for the lead in TFLs while leading the conference with three fumble recoveries. His pass rushing ability has taken Michigan State's defense to a new level.

3. Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (LW: 1): Borland missed last week's Iowa game with a hamstring injury after sitting out most of the previous game against Illinois. He has had a tremendous season, but missing conference games is costly in a tight battle for top defensive honors.

4. Michigan State LB Denicos Allen (LW: NR): The reigning Walter Camp national defensive player of the week, Allen is tied with Shazier and Calhoun with 11 tackles for loss and has been an integral part of the Spartans' dominating defense.

5. Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard (LW: 3): You might say there are too many Spartans on this list. To which we'd respond: Have you seen that defense?

Dave McClain/Hayes–Schembechler Coach of the Year

1. Ohio State's Urban Meyer: Can Meyer break through and earn a coach of the year award, unlike Jim Tressel? It's pretty hard to argue with 21 straight wins.

2. Michigan State's Mark Dantonio: The Spartans are 8-1 and 5-0 in the Big Ten. Dantonio took some heat early on for his quarterback decisions, but they have worked out quite nicely.

3. Minnesota's Tracy Claeys: Here's an interesting case. Claeys is the interim coach for the Gophers while Jerry Kill is focusing on his epilepsy treatment. The Gophers are 3-1 with a three-game winning streak under Claeys. If the team finishes the year out strong, Claeys might get some support for this award.

Big Ten awards race tracker: Week 6

October, 1, 2013
September is in the rearview mirror, and the race for some of the Big Ten's top awards are wide smoking open. As they should be, with the heart of league play still ahead of us. Here's how we see those awards right now:

Graham–George Offensive Player of the Year

1. Iowa RB Mark Weisman (Last week: 3): The offensive player of the year trophy is totally up for grabs right now, but why not Weisman? He's second in the Big Ten in rushing (615 yards), leads the free world in carries (119) and has helped the Hawkeyes establish a definite identity.

2. Wisconsin RB Melvin Gordon (LW: 1): Ohio State became the first team this year to slow down Gordon, holding him to 74 yards on 15 carries. Gordon also hurt his left knee in that game. But he still leads the country in rushing.

3. Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase (LW: 5): Five more TD passes last week against Miami (Ohio) gives Scheelhaase 12 in four games. He also leads the Big Ten in passing yards and pass efficiency. The true test of his candidacy will come in Big Ten play, starting this week at Nebraska.

4. Ohio State QB Braxton Miller (LW: Not ranked): What, did you forget about the reigning winner of this award? Miller basically missed three games but came roaring back last week with four touchdowns against Wisconsin. His time off and Kenny Guiton's success in his absence no doubt hurts, but if Miller can put up huge numbers in the Buckeyes' conference schedule, he'll have to be reckoned with.

5. Wisconsin WR Jared Abbrederis (LW: NR): Abbrederis was insanely good in the loss at Ohio State with 207 receiving yards, dominating All-America corner Bradley Roby. He has surpassed Penn State's Allen Robinson as the Big Ten leader in receiving yards and catches per game.

Dropped out: Robinson, Ohio State QB Kenny Guiton

Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year

[+] EnlargeChris Borland
AP Photo/David StlukaChris Borland enhanced his reputation with some big stops against Ohio State.
1. Wisconsin LB Chris Borland (LW: 1): Even in a losing effort, Borland cemented his case for this award with his performance against Ohio State. He was everywhere and had two ridiculous short-yardage stops against Carlos Hyde on his way to 16 tackles.

2. Ohio State LB Ryan Shazier (LW: NR): We figured Shazier would turn it on in conference play, and he definitely did last week. He was a major key to putting the brakes on Wisconsin's running game with nine tackles, 2.5 for loss and a forced fumble.

3. Iowa LB James Morris (LW: NR): The Big Ten defensive player of the week for his effort at Minnesota, Morris is leading a talented Hawkeyes linebacker group and captains a much-improved defense that is stuffing opponents' run games.

4. Michigan State DE Shilique Calhoun (LW: 3): The early turnover scores were nice. Now it's about whether he can make an impact in the conference race.

5. Penn State DT DaQuan Jones (LW: 5): Like Calhoun, Jones was off last week. Time to see what he's got for October.

Dropped out: Minnesota DT Ra'Shede Hageman, Iowa CB B.J. Lowery

Dave McClain/Hayes–Schembechler Coach of the Year

1. Tim Beckman, Illinois: Yes, it's true. Were the coach of the year award handed out today, Beckman would win it. Illinois has already exceeded last year's win total with its 3-1 start and is the most improved team in the league.

2. Urban Meyer, Ohio State: These awards usually go to coaches who exceed expectations. Meyer hasn't done that. But when you've won 17 in a row, isn't that worthy of some recognition?

3. Kirk Ferentz, Iowa: Like Beckman, Ferentz has turned fan grumbling into early optimism with his 4-1 start. We'll see whether Iowa or Illinois can keep this going.

4. Pat Fitzgerald, Northwestern: His Wildcats are 4-0 and weathered the loss of Venric Mark in September. Slightly big game coming up this week.