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Chapman's B1G Five Of The Big Ten: Should U-M Give Up On Morris?

By Brian Chapman

1. This week Jim Harbaugh said Jake Rudock is the best quarterback on the team "and not by a small margin." Is this a sign that Michigan fans should give up on Shane Morris?

Yes. I believe that Jim Harbaugh is right and I think it's time for Michigan fans to give up on Shane Morris. From what I've seen, if Morris is the starting quarterback in 2016 it will be a long year in Ann Arbor.

First of all, the last time we saw Shane Morris start a game, it was last year against Minnesota. Before that game, Michigan fans were clamoring for Morris to start because they felt he couldn't possibly be worse than turnover specialist Devin Gardner. What they found out was that even though Gardner could not be trusted, he was the team's best quarterback and not by a small margin.

There's no reason to expect that Morris has risen from those depths to being a respectable starting quarterback in that amount of time.

Second of all, Rudock has not been good through three games and Harbaugh still made that comment. The 64.8 percent completion percentage is nice, but it's all on short passes. He's at 6.4yds/attempt because he can't complete a deep pass. He also has a dreadful 3 TD to 5 INT ratio. Why should Michigan fans feel confident in a third-year quarterback who's that far behind this disappointing quarterback?

Third of all, let's not forget that when Rudock left Iowa, he had been demoted to backup quarterback. Not backup quarterback at USC, Ohio State, TCU or Florida State. Rudock was the backup quarterback at Iowa! Not exactly a football powerhouse known as Quarterback U.

What does this mean for Morris? It means that if Rudock was still at Iowa and Morris was on the Iowa roster as well that Morris would be the third string QB at best. If Harbaugh is right about there being a significant gap between Rudock and Morris, there's a chance that Iowa's current backup QB is also better than Morris.

If Morris is nothing more than a third or fourth string Hawkeye QB this year, it makes sense for fans to throw in the towel on him and hope for more from Zach Gentry, Alex Malzone and/or John O'Korn in 2016.


2. The Deep South Buckeyes actually honored Jim Tressel during their moral loss to Northern Illinois over the weekend! Why are they celebrating him?

A better question would be why do they keep celebrating The Sneak in the Sweatervest? Since Tressel was fired (and then the university in typical Buckeye fashion rescinded the firing and changed it to a retirement) this is actually the second time they have honored him.

The first time was a couple of years ago when they carried him around the stadium to thunderous applause from the crowd. I could go on and on about why Buckeye fans celebrate a man who broke NCAA rules time and time and again and was a flat out cheater when no other B1G program would celebrate cheating like that, but this doesn't require a lengthy or thought-provoking response.

Why do the Deep South Buckeyes keep celebrating Jim Tressel? Because they're Ohio State.


3. Purdue switches its QB. Any chance Darrell Hazell comes back in 2016?

If Purdue has any pride in their football program Hazell shouldn't be back and the quarterback position is a prime example of why he shouldn't return. On Tuesday, Hazell announced that redshirt freshman David Blough will be replacing Austin Appleby as the starting quarterback.

It's no surprise considering Appleby was just 9-for-28 against Virginia Tech last week, has 6 interceptions for the season and has completed less than 55 percent of his passes the last two seasons. It's also no surprise considering the Boilermakers have been playing musical chairs at quarterback ever since Hazell took over. Rob Henry started at quarterback in 2013 and was replaced by Danny Etling after five games. Etling started in 2014 and was replaced by Appleby after five games. Now it's Blough.

Hazell isn't replacing these quarterbacks because the next man up is so much better. He's doing so because all of his quarterbacks have been terrible. Hazell hasn't recruited anyone who he's been able to stay with for his entire tenure at Purdue. When can't get a quarterback, you're job security is in major trouble. When your record at Purdue is 5-22, that's probably a good sign that your job security is in trouble too.


4. The B1G's top two teams are the top two teams in this week's AP poll, but the middle and lower-tiered B1G teams went 2-3 against middle-class ACC teams last week. How strong is the B1G conference as a whole?

It's not very strong. On a scale of 0 to 10, where 0 is the Sun Belt Conference and 10 is the SEC, I'd give the B1G about a 5. They are clearly behind the SEC and Pac-12, a touch behind the Big 12 and a touch ahead of the ACC.

I did not fall into the trap of believing the entire conference had risen up after a 6-5 bowl season and a Deep South Buckeye National Championship, and this season is proving my point. The B1G is top-heavy with the top two teams in the AP poll and two teams that will compete for College Football Playoff spots, but Michigan State is not the second best team in the country. They're not better than Ole Miss who stomped out Bama in Tuscaloosa and put up points in their other two games.

Meanwhile, the Spartans eked past Oregon at home and wasn't impressive in their other two games against a couple of frosting-laden cupcakes. The middle class of the B1G has seen a boost with Northwestern's impressive start (especially after Stanford, a team that the Wildcats beat, knocked off USC by points in L.A.), but who else is stepping up for this part of the conference?

Not Wisconsin. They got crushed by Bama and struggled against Troy. Not Michigan. They lost to a middle-class Pac 12 team and weren't wholly dominant against two of the worst teams in college football. Not Penn State. They got body slammed by Temple in the second half and have no passing offense to speak of. Not Nebraska. They're 1-2 with an 0-2 record against Power 5 conferences. Not Minnesota. I thought they would be a B1G West dark horse, but they almost lost to Kent State at home.

Until there are more teams playing like Northwestern (looking at you Michigan, Penn State and Nebraska) and fewer teams playing like Maryland and until there are fewer than ten unranked teams in the conference, we can't call the B1G a strong conference even if the top two teams in the country are from the B1G.

5. Who will win this week's B1G games?

Michigan over BYU.
Rutgers over Kansas.
Michigan State over Central Michigan.
Nebraska over Southern Miss.
Indiana over Wake Forest.
West Virginia over Maryland.
Iowa over North Texas.
Minnesota over Ohio.
Ohio State over Western Michigan.
Penn State over San Diego State.
Middle Tennessee State over Illinois (upset!)
Northwestern over Ball State.
Wisconsin over Hawaii.

Make sure to follow me on Twitter @bchapsports and Tweet at me too.

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