Our college football roundtables continue as we move on to the Big Ten conference and find out what to expect up North. Joining us in this series of roundtables we have Ross from Black Heart Gold Pants, Andrew from Madtown Badgers and Mike from The Little Brother Blog. So we've got Iowa, Michigan State and Wisconsin opinions coming at your grill this week.
QUESTION: Who will have the bigger impact: Danny O'Brien at Wisconsin or Andrew Maxwell at Michigan State?
Andrew: I think it will be Danny O'Brien at Wisconsin. With no options with any game experience of any significance on the roster the Badgers were just like any other team in the Leaders division, two steps behind Ohio State & fighting it out for 2nd place with the hopes of making it to the Big Ten Championship game by default. Bringing in O'Brien you have a known quantity and he solidifies the position at the least. If he returns to his freshman form, which I think is most likely as he goes back to a more comfortable pro-style offense, than the Badgers have another great QB on their hands. For me Maxwell needs to have a bigger impact, but we don't know enough about him on the field to know that he can handle a full season of play as QB1. I'll take experience over promise any day of the week.
Mike: Andrew Maxwell. He will be in his fourth year at MSU in the fall, and will have to be a playmaker for MSU to be successful. His leadership will be essential with a relatively inexperienced group of wide receivers, so how he handles himself and how he develops with those guys will have a major impact on the season Michigan State has in 2012. While both Wisconsin and MSU like to run behind two good offensive lines, the Spartans showed last season they can air it out when the run game isn't working. Danny O'Brien isn't Russell Wilson, and with Montee Ball in the backfield, he will spend a lot of time handing the ball off, so I think it's Maxwell who not only will have a bigger impact, but has to have the bigger impact.
Ross: I think Maxwell, if only because Michigan State should have the defense in place to be a legitimate B1G title contender next year. The question is whether or not they can cobble together enough of an offense to contend with the other top teams -- and much of the onus there is going to fall on Maxwell's shoulders.
Kevin: I have some apprehension about O'Brien. He was solid as a freshman at Maryland (22 TD to 8 INT) but he was a wreck last season (7 TD to 10 INT). Can you chalk that all up to Randy Edsall and Gary Crowton and expect O'Brien just to bounce back in one year and be his old self? Add in that he has to learn a brand new system and it's not exactly a tested recipe for success. Yes, I know Russell Wilson did it last year but Wilson is a much better athlete than O'Brien and also had a lot more experience and success than O'Brien has had so far in his career.
Another thing to look at with O'Brien is that as a freshman he didn't exactly lead Maryland to victories over a who's who of opponents. With him at QB they beat FIU, Duke, Wake Forest, Boston College, Virginia, East Carolina and NC State. His losses came to Clemson, FSU and Miami. Chew on that one for a minute. I think those expecting O'Brien to come in and be Russell Wilson or even a reasonable facsimile of will be disappointed. Can he still be good? Sure, if he is used as a game manager. My answer to this one is Andrew Maxwell, even if it's kind of by default. Go out there and prove me right kid.
Come back tomorrow as we discuss some under the radar players in the Big Ten to keep an eye on.
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