Big Ten Predictions as Conference Play Begins

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Sep 26, 2015; East Lansing, MI, USA; Michigan State Spartans quarterback Connor Cook (18) drops back to pass the ball during the 1st quarter of a game against Central Michigan at Spartan Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

Who is the Big Ten Offensive Player of the Year?

Erik Buchinger: Ezekiel Elliott will be the conference’s best offensive player. While Ohio State works to figure out its quarterback situation, the running game will always be there. Elliott is currently third in the Big Ten in rushing yards with 455, but the two players ahead of him have received significantly more carries than his 77 so far. Indiana’s Jordan Howard has carried the ball 111 times, and Northwestern running back Justin Jackson has 118 rushing attempts. Opposing defenses have a lot account for against the Buckeyes, which will make Elliott’s 2015 season even better.

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Taylor Johnson: I think Connor Cook ends up being the most efficient quarterback in the Big Ten this year. Not only that, the senior knows that this is his final shot to get the Spartans vaulted in the national spotlight. Cook will only get better through the conference schedule as he will be given plenty of opportunities to prove he’s one of the better signal callers in college football. He has one big win under his belt this year already in defeating Oregon. Another big win against Ohio State would give him Big Ten Player of the Year honors as well as accolades nationally.

Jim Oxley: Unless Ezekiel Elliot has a similar second half this year like he did last year, Connor Cook of Michigan State will take home the award. Cook looks the part and has been great so far this year — completion percentage near 60 percent, almost 900 yards, nine touchdowns, only one interception — and the Spartans have actually played some decent teams. Cook is looking to turn his success this year into a high draft pick, so he will be at the top of his game and the awards will reflect it.

Rayan Vatti: Indiana’s Jordan Hall. After rushing for nearly 1,600 yards last season in Tevin Coleman’s shadow, Hall is now one of the elite running backs in college football. As I stated before, he is currently on pace for over 2,000 yards, and currently leads the country in rushing yards with 675. Hall is a big, 230-pound bruiser and runs hard between the tackles. He should continue to put up big numbers in conference play. Other candidates to keep an eye on are Connor Cook (MSU), Ezekiel Elliot (OSU), C.J Beathard (Iowa), and Cardale Jones (OSU).

Next: B1G Defensive POY?