Thomas and Cimino Preview The Big 10: Top Offenses, and OPOY Predictions

After releasing our SEC predictions just a few days ago, we brought in Big 10 analyst Chris Cimino to work with lead writer Aidan Thomas and unveil our B1G predictions for this season. To start it off, let’s talk offense. 

Top Big 10 Offenses

Aidan Thomas

  1. Penn State
  2. Ohio State
  3. Minneosta

Chris Cimino

  1. Ohio State
  2. Penn State
  3. Minnesota

Ultimately, both of our rankings here regarding the Big 10 offenses are very similar, with a flip of our top two teams marking the only difference. I made the somewhat unpopular choice to go with Penn State, simply because I believe the Nittany Lions have a loaded backfield, headlined by Journey Brown, who I believe is one of the top offensive players in the conference. Throw in promising 2nd-year dual-threat quarterback Sean Clifford and Pat Freiermuth – arguably the best tight end in the country –  and Penn State boasts a lethal offense.

 Cimino went with Ohio State, and there’s every reason to go with the Buckeyes here as well. Heisman favorite Justin Fields quarterbacks an offense that will likely see talented players step up to replace production lost to the draft. Minnesota rounds out both of our lists, even with the recent opt-out of Rashod Bateman. Both Cimino and I placed Tanner Morgan inside our top 5 quarterbacks heading into 2020, and that confidence in the Minnesota signal-caller is reflected in our rankings. 

Top Offensive Players

Offensive Player Of the Year

Thomas: Justin Fields, Quarterback, Ohio State

Cimino: Justin Fields, Quarterback Ohio State

Aidan ThomasChris Cimino
Justin Fields, QB, Ohio StateJustin Fields, QB, Ohio State
Journey Brown, RB, Penn StateRondale Moore, WR, Purdue
Tanner Morgan, QB, MinnesotaTanner Morgan, QB, Minnesota
Rondale Moore, WR, PurdueJourney Brown, RB, Penn State
Sean Clifford, QB, Penn StatePat Friermuth, TE, Penn State

Once more, our analysis of the offensive scene in the Big 10 produces a near-identical set of rankings. Both Cimino and I take the only returning Heisman finalist – Justin Fields – as our offensive player of the year, with Journey Brown, Tanner Morgan, and Rondale Moore rounding out our top four. Cimino elects to place Moore 2nd on his list, which may reflect Moore’s talent better than my own list. A little hesitant about his prior injury, and the fact that he plays for a much less competitive Purdue team, I slipped Moore to fourth. Instead I elevated Brown, who looks posed for a breakout season, to #2. 

We both ranked Tanner Morgan at #3 as the 2nd-best quarterback in the conference. While the Golden Gophers’ conference title hopes took a massive hit with the loss of Bateman, Morgan remains a premier signal-caller in college football and deserves his spot within our top 3. At #5, Cimino and I differ slightly, although we both target Penn State players. I go with quarterback Sean Clifford, who I believe was underrated last season and posed to take a large step forward. Cimino goes with the more proven Pat Friermuth, who averaged 11.8 yards per catch in 2019 and returns as Clifford’s top target in 2020. 

From our extremely similar rankings, a quick conclusion can be drawn – this is Ohio State and Penn State’s conference – and everyone else is just living in it.

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