Sometimes, ranking quarterbacks can be a relatively easy task. By the midway point of the season, there are usually a couple different tiers that would help us separate the cream of the crop from the middle-of-the-pack and the guys who still need some work.

That’s not really the case in the B1G in 2o21. It’s not even close.

Eight weeks into the season, we can say that there are three quarterbacks who have separated themselves at the very top. There are three quarterbacks who have separated themselves at the very bottom. The middle?

Flipping a coin, drawing straws or purchasing a dartboard might actually be more effective. It’s really become a week-to-week decision for the 7 guys in the middle.

So, what do the rankings look like heading into Week 9? Here’s the latest:

Unranked this week

Michael Penix Jr./Jack Tuttle, Indiana

Graham Mertz, Wisconsin

Ryan Hilinski, Northwestern

Art Sitkowski/Brandon Peters, Illinois

10. Noah Vedral, Rutgers

Last week: OFF

With the gauntlet finally in the rearview mirror, let’s see what Vedral can do after a week off against teams not named Michigan, Ohio State and Michigan State. He’s been serviceable, but needs to be better in the final stretch.

9. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

Last week vs. Maryland: 8-of-12, 125 yards

Once again, Minnesota leaned on a heavy rushing attack and asked Morgan to do just enough to keep the Terrapins on their heels. There isn’t a permanent starter in the B1G who has thrown fewer passes than Morgan, totaling just 126 attempts through 7 games. He’s tossed 6 touchdown strikes to 4 interceptions and his completion rate is under 60%. Morgan has gotten better with Chris Autman-Bell on the field but he’s still not required to do much. That also means that he’s not making too many mistakes.

8. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

Last week vs Wisconsin: 24-of-32, 200 yards, 1 TD, 3 INTs

After throwing all over Iowa, O’Connell fell back down to earth and hit the ground pretty hard. He tossed 3 interceptions in a loss to Wisconsin, marking the third time this season he’s had a multi-pick game. Some of that falls on the offensive line, but O’Connell also has to be a better decision-maker. Yes, O’Connell has thrown for a lot of yardage and is completing passes at a nearly 70% clip, but he’s thrown more interceptions (8) than touchdowns (7). That’s not a winning recipe in the B1G.

7. Cade McNamra, Michigan

Last week vs. Northwestern: 20-of-27, 129 yards 

If you’re looking for the ultimate game manager, McNamara probably fits the description. Michigan is another team relying heavily on the rushing attack and doesn’t require its quarterback to carry a heavy load. McNamara’s statistics aren’t overly impressive, but he’s also not making any critical mistakes. Plus, he has show the ability to stretch the field at times this season, though not frequently. It’s going to be interesting to see if the Wolverines test McNamara’s arm against a spotty Michigan State secondary on Saturday.

6. Spencer Petras, Iowa

Last week: OFF

An off week after getting rocked by the Purdue defense was probably the best thing to happen for Petras. Iowa’s going to need the quarterback who was on the field through the first 6 games of the season on Saturday against a tough Wisconsin defense.

5. Sean Clifford, Penn State

Last week vs. Illinois: 19-of-34, 165 yards, 1 TD

It was pretty evident that Clifford was not at full strength against Illinois. He wasn’t nearly as mobile and struggled to hit his targets throughout the course of the game. At times, it was pretty ugly. Yet he still managed to complete 19 passes and didn’t throw a pick — some of that having to do with help from his receivers. It wasn’t an ideal outing, but Clifford has played well through most of the season. The Penn State QB doesn’t drop too far after playing injured in an attempt to lead the Nittany Lions to a win. It just didn’t work out.

4. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Last week vs. Minnesota: 17-of-27, 189 yards, 1 TD

Things have cooled off substantially since Tagovailoa’s sizzling start to the 2021 season with the Terps dropping 3 straight contests. The Maryland quarterback is still one of the better gunslingers in the league, but he’s seen key receivers Dontay Demus Jr. and Jeshaun Jones suffer season-ending injuries, which hinders the passing attack. Tagovailoa is asked to do quite a bit in the Maryland offense and is still hitting targets at a B1G-best 71.1% clip. He just needs some help from the run game and defense.

3. Adrian Martinez, Nebraska

Last week: OFF

Martinez entered the off week a little banged up, so having a few extra days to recuperate was probably welcomed. Nebraska needs its quarterback as healthy as possible before a 4-game stretch that includes games against Purdue, Ohio State, Wisconsin and Iowa.

2. Payton Thorne, Michigan State

Last week: OFF

Through the first 8 weeks of the season, there may not be a quarterback who is quietly having a better season than Thorne. But he’s not faced the toughest competition. That’s about to change. Starting this weekend against Michigan, we’ll really find out just how good the quarterback play is in East Lansing.

1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Last week vs. Indiana: 21-of-28, 266 yards, 4 TDs 

Since sitting out of the Akron game, Stroud has been untouchable. He’s thrown for 1,002 yards, 14 touchdowns with 0 interceptions while completing passes at a 72.6% clip. It’s been truly incredible. Right now, there’s nobody in the B1G playing anywhere close to Stroud’s level. Ohio State’s competition is about to get a lot tougher, but it’s hard to imagine anyone dethroning Stroud from the No. 1 spot anytime soon.