We've got some lists to talk about today. No shortage of those this time of year, so let's just jump into it.
On Monday, in his Big Ten Buy or Sell story, Derek Peterson asked a simple question. Well, two questions, but we're just going to focus on the first one for now: Who is the best quarterback in the Big Ten next season?
Your first thought might be Adrian Martinez. That doesn't seem to be the consensus, however. Most of the position rankings I've seen to this point for 2019 don't list Martinez and/or Nebraska No. 1 at quarterback. Michigan's Shea Patterson usually gets the nod. Athlon put Ohio State's quarterbacks, a group that includes Justin Fields and a bunch of other guys who also transferred in, at No. 2 in the conference.
That's all fine and up for debate, but I have been surprised that Martinez hasn't been getting the nod at least a little more often. Last week, however, there was a nod as Paul Myerberg of USA Today list Martinez at No. 7 on his list of the top 10 quarterbacks in the country. That was one spot ahead of Patterson, the only other Big Ten quarterback on the list.
It might be too soon to anoint Martinez as one of the nation's best, but the potential is there for the Nebraska sophomore to make an under-the-radar charge at some end-of-season hardware. He was a revelation amid the Cornhuskers' debut under Scott Frost, who has helped to develop his fair share of quarterback standouts. Martinez will be his latest star.
You will not be surprised to learn that Nebraska did not land a player on the running backs list published this week.
Quick, go look at this list now. It's not often that you see Ohio State's football coach ranked 10th. Not in the country, the conference.
Ranking coaches in the Big Ten used to be a mere formality when it came to the top spot. The pick was Urban Meyer and it was impossible to argue for anyone else. But now that Meyer will be previewing games for Fox on Saturdays instead of coaching them for the Buckeyes, what do you do?
Tom Fornelli of CBSSports.com put Penn State's James Franklin in the top spot. Scott Frost came in at No. 7 behind three other coaches in the West:
There was plenty of hype surrounding Frost's first season at Nebraska. Too much hype for him to have any realistic chance of living up to it. Nebraska went 4-8 last season and started the season 0-6, including a home loss to Troy. The good news is the Huskers won four of their last six games, and they hope to bring that momentum into the 2019 season. Also, it's not like Frost hasn't pulled off a quick turnaround before. He took over a UCF team in 2016 that had gone 0-12 the year before and went 6-7 his first season. The next year the Knights went 13-0, maybe you heard about it? A six-win improvement is likely too much to hope for from Nebraska in 2019, but even if he's only seventh in his conference, Frost finished ranked in our top 25 Power Five coaches for a reason. He hasn't been around long, but he's proven to be quite capable so far.
That seems like a fair enough ranking given that all of the coaches ranked above Frost have more years in the game and thus their top level feels a little more solidly established. Regardless of the order, the Big Ten, as plenty of people will tell you, is in a pretty good spot right now in terms of coaching talent.
But if you want a really fun thought experiment for a long drive (or whatever) this weekend, try to predict what this ranking looks like four season from now.
Not really a list, though I guess technically it might be since there's more than one name on it.
Lamar Jackson only allowed 22 catches on 424 snaps in coverage last season, best in the B1G among returning cornerbacks. pic.twitter.com/DMKgguTCcZ
— PFF College (@PFF_College) June 12, 2019
As is my typical response with these PFF Twitter things, I don't know quite what to do with this. Seems good, but without knowing exactly how things are tallied I'm always a little bit cautious.
The Grab Bag
- Why was John Cook wearing a shirt with a pig on it yesterday?
- Maruice Washington’s plea hearing is now slated for late July.
- Who is the top pick for Nebraska in its baseball coaching search? We tackle that one and more in this week’s Mailbag.
- Creighton Prep’s AJ Rollins is emerging as another coveted in-state prospect.
Today’s Song of Today
Brandon is the Managing Editor for Hail Varsity and has covered Nebraska athletics for the magazine and web since 2012, Hail Varsity’s first season on the scene. His sports writing has also been featured by Fox Sports, The Guardian and CBS Sports.