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Big Ten Quarterback Power Rankings Week Seven

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Big Ten: Quarterback Power Rankings Week Seven

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Melina Vastola-US PRESSWIRE

The Big Ten is entering its seventh week of play and the quarterbacks are starting to get comfortable with the idea that the rest of the season will be must-win games. There were some close games in week five and six and they were involving some of the best teams in the conference with possible postseason implications.

Ohio State traveled to Michigan State to take on the Spartans in a conference showdown in week five that in any other season would be a possible Big Ten title game matchup. The Spartans came out flat, looking dreadful on offense and leaving the tempo of the game solely on the defense’s shoulders.

The Buckeyes escaped East Lansing with an emotional 17-16 victory and made an early statement in Big Ten play while Braxton Miller improved his Heisman stock.

The other big game of the week featured another one of the conference’s best quarterbacks, Taylor Martinez of Nebraska. The Cornhuskers hosted the unsatisfactory Wisconsin Badgers in a primetime matchup between the conference’s newest school and the defending Big Ten champion.

The game ended with a 30-27 score in favor of the Cornhuskers, but the Badgers put up a valiant effort on the road in a harsh environment.

The quarterbacks in the conference are continuously improving and it has been evident with recent play, despite injuries to some of the best quarterbacks. Robert Marve of Purdue, Tre Roberson of Indiana and MarQueis Gray of Minnesota have all suffered injuries that have either ended their season or sidelined them for at least a month.

Since this is my first quarterback power rankings since week four, many moves have been made in my list of quarterbacks.vTake a look at my ranking of the conference quarterbacks.

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12. Max Shortell, Minnesota

Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

Max Shortell finds himself on the bottom of my latest power rankings for the first time this season. He is filling in for an injured MarQueis Gray, who was injured in week two, and has done nothing notable thus far. He has put up solid numbers, but he is responsible for Minnesota's only loss of the season against Iowa, 31-13. Shortell was responsible for three costly interceptions and has fans in Minnesota crying for the return of Gray, which could be this Saturday against Northwestern.

Season: 51-86, 688 yards, 6 TD, 4 INT

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11. Nathan Scheelhaase, Illinois


The Fighting Illini are searching for answers after a horrid start to the season. The Illini won their first game of the season and lost starter Nathan Scheelhaase in the process. They have gone on to lose four of their last five games and the last loss was Scheelhaase's first game back from injury. He looked decent in the loss against Wisconsin, but not decent enough to boost him in the power rankings.

Season: 65-104, 659 yards, 3 TD, 5 INT

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10. Caleb TerBush, Purdue


Caleb TerBush was the starting quarterback for this Purdue team in 2011. He started 2012 as the number two quarterback on the depth chart and was seemingly conceding his career to defeat because this was his senior year. However, after an unfortunate injury to starting quarterback Robert Marve, TerBush finds himself at the helm once again. He was looking solid in his first two starts since Marve's injury, but took a step back last week against Michigan. He had just 105 yards passing with a touchdown and a costly pick.

Season: 67-105, 636 yards, 8 TD, 5 INT

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9. Joel Stave, Wisconsin


Joel Stave took the lead of this team after Danny O'Brien's collapse in week three. The freshman has played well enough to give the Badgers a solid chance of winning the Leaders Division, and right now they are the favorite. Stave may be the youngest quarterback in the conference, but at times, he has looked like a veteran leading this team and making good decisions behind center. He was 16 of 25 for 254 yards and two touchdowns against an ice-cold Illinois team last week. Watch out for Stave in the weeks to come to see how much he progresses.

Season: 42-71, 693 yards, 4 TD, 2 INT

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8. James Vandenberg, Iowa

Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

James Vandenberg and the Hawkeyes were on bye week in week six and it could be a positive for the team as a whole. The senior quarterback is one of the most experienced in the conference and he has yet to play to his potential this season. He has just two touchdown passes all year and is leading one of the lowest ranked offenses in the conferences. It will be up to him to turn this team around and it starts this week against an aggressive Michigan State defense.

Season: 93-159, 1000 yards, 2 TD, 2 INT

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7. Cameron Coffman, Indiana


The Hoosiers were playing well, beating Michigan State 27-17 after three quarters and seemingly taking the air out of the Spartans' sideline. Cameron Coffman was on fire, passing for over 250 yards in the first half with three touchdowns and it seemed like this was the sophomore's breakout game. He had Hoosier fans everywhere forgetting about their injured star quarterback Tre Roberson, but then, the fourth quarter started. The Spartans scored 14 straight and shut the Hoosiers out in the second half, winning 31-27. Although this was a huge blow for Indiana's confidence, Coffman gained a lot in that department. He was 33 for 48 with 282 yards and three touchdowns against the best defense in the conference. Good things to come from this guy.

Season: 86-128, 801 yards, 6 TD, 1 INT

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6. Kain Colter/Trevor Siemian, Northwestern


Kain Colter is listed as the quarterback on Northwestern's roster, but he is a different kind of quarterback. Colter is basically an athlete that can play almost any skilled offensive position. He has acted as the quarterback, wide receiver and running back for this potent Wildcats' offense. Sophomore Trevor Siemian has taken passing quarterback duties, while Colter remains the most dynamic player in the Big Ten. Colter had three catches for 16 yards to go along with 72 yards rushing and a touchdown. He seems to being less and less of a quarterback as the season progresses.

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5. Andrew Maxwell, Michigan State


The junior from Michigan State has finally found his rhythm as the starting quarterback. Andrew Maxwell is looking better every single week and that has something to do with the quality play of the receiver of late. He seems to have found a new favorite target, besides tight end Dion Sims who left week six's game with an injury. Aaron Burbridge took over starting duties from a struggling Bennie Fowler and seemed to do an adequate job, catching eight passes for 134 yards. Fowler didn't do so bad either, catching four passes, including the most important catch of the game-- the go-ahead touchdown in the fourth quarter.

Season: 127-225, 1428 yards, 6 TD, 3 INT

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4. Denard Robinson, Michigan

Rick Osentoski-US PRESSWIRE

Denard Robinson has had an up-and-down season so far with the Wolverines. He has heard all the criticisms in the book: he can't throw, he's can't single-handedly carry this team and he isn't clutch. He has done both prove those criticisms right and then a week later he silences the critics. He had terrible games against Alabama and Notre Dame this year, but then stepped up immensely the week after. He is the most electrifying quarterback in recent memory and has the potential to be great. However, his passing game has yet to develop. He was just 8 for 16 against Purdue last week with 105 yards and a touchdown. He did lead the team with his legs, having another stellar rushing game. His passing needs to improve if Michigan wants even a chance at the Big Ten title.

Season: 62-115, 942, 7 TD, 8 INT

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3. Taylor Martinez, Nebraska

Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE

Taylor Martinez was looking like the conference's most complete quarterback heading into week six, but the loss against Ohio State disproved that statement. Although he has always had success running the ball, passing the ball is a different story. He did complete 15 of 25 passes in the 63-38 loss to the Buckeyes, but he still had 214 yards and a touchdown. The downfall of his passing game against the Buckeyes-- three interceptions. He added 40 rush yards to his season total as well as two rushing touchdowns. Martinez has a week off this week to get back to the basics and figure out what went wrong against Ohio State.

Season: 97-146, 1273 yards, 12 TD, 4 INT

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2. Matthew McGloin, Penn State

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Penn State fans everywhere are rejoicing after their team has put the tumultuous offseason seemingly behind them for good and are playing like a team fighting for a Rose Bowl birth. Matt McGloin has been the biggest surprise for this Nittany Lions team, being the most solid quarterback that the school has had in years. McGloin and the Nittany Lions started the season 0-2, but have since reeled off four straight wins and look like the hottest team outside of Ohio State. McGloin led Penn State past an undefeated Northwestern team last week at home, passing for 282 yards and a touchdown. He is the leading passer in the conference, yardage-wise, and has added five rushing touchdowns-- a surprising number seeing as he has -2 rush yards all year. McGloin has this team headed on the right track.

Season: 136-221, 1499 yards, 12 TD, 2 INT

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1. Braxton Miller, Ohio State


Braxton Miller and the Ohio State Buckeyes are the most solid team in the Big Ten and would be the conference's best chance at a national championship if they were bowl eligible. After a bowl ban, the Buckeyes are playing for pride only, and they are succeeding. Miller led the Buckeyes past one of the conference's best teams, Nebraska, in week six by an impressive margin, 63-38. Although Miller didn't have a good game passing the ball, just 7 of 14 for 127 yards and a touchdown, he showed why he was so talented running the ball. He rushed for 186 yards on 16 carries with a touchdown. This was his fourth game this season with 130+ yards rushing. Is there a Heisman Trophy in his future?

Season: 83-135, 1060 yards, 9 TD, 3 INT