The playing field isn’t always even. Sometimes you win, sometimes you lose, sometimes it rains. Sometimes the wind blows crazy hard. Sometimes a 37.5-point underdog puts up an unexpected fight.

The best quarterbacks accept no excuses for themselves. They just find a way. There was a lot of that going on around the Big Ten on Saturday. Illinois’ Tommy DeVito played well in a loss, and veterans Sean Clifford of Penn State and Spencer Petras of Iowa had solid games in easy victories. Some others didn’t fare so well, particularly veterans Aidan O’Connell, Taulia Tagovailoa and Tanner Morgan. Even CJ Stroud struggled mightily in his worst outing of the season, but he helped bail out Ohio State with his legs.

The B1G features some of the best defenses and worst weather in the land, and those were certainly factors in Saturday’s 7 league matchups. But the truth is, this isn’t a great QB league this season.

Stroud, a serious Heisman candidate, couldn’t get going with wind and rain whipping off Lake Michigan, allowing Northwestern to hang around into the fourth quarter. Stroud didn’t top 100 passing yards in a much tougher than expected victory over the Wildcats.

It was a day suited to the steadier, less dynamic field generals of the league. And also a day for some new faces to emerge, as injuries or ineffectiveness sent some starters to the sideline.

While we won’t totally overreact to 1 week’s worth of data, we will be moving guys up or down a few rungs.

All 14 B1G teams play again in Week 11. Here’s our assessment of who will lead them offensively, and how well.

14. Gavin Wimsatt, Rutgers

Week 10 stats: 14-29, 155 yards, TD, 3 INTs
Season: 43.5%, 70.2 ypg, 2 TDs, 6 INTs, 78.39 rating

Wimsatt made his 2nd straight and 3rd career start. Apparently, he’s Greg Schiano’s guy now. The redshirt freshman had the Scarlet Knights up on No. 3 Michigan at halftime, then threw 3 picks in a disastrous 3rd quarter.

13. Brendan Sullivan, Northwestern

Week 10 stats: 10-14, 79 yards
Season: 72.9%, 123.8 ypg, 4 TDs, 3 INTs, 130.33 rating

Sullivan made his 3rd start since replacing Ryan Hilinski as the Wildcats’ starter, and actually threw for more yards than CJ Stroud in a 21-7 loss to Ohio State. The 6-3, 212-pound sophomore is laying a foundation for the future while his team struggles in the present.

12. Casey Thompson, Nebraska

Week 10 stats: DNP
Season stats: 62.9%, 252.9 ypg, 12 TDs, 10 INTs, 147.56 rating

Sports Betting in Big Ten Country

There is big news coming to the upcoming 2022-23 Big Ten football season (and NFL season). Ohio online sports betting and Maryland sports betting are on the way.

21+ and present in OH. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER.

Thompson should get the starting job back if he can get healthy. Neither Chubba Purdy nor Logan Smothers was the answer in a 20-13 loss to Minnesota. Thompson might not be the answer either, having thrown 2 INTs in each of his past 3 appearances.

11. Connor Bazelak, Indiana

Week 10 stats: DNP
Season: 54.8%, 262.4 ypg, 12 TDs, 9 INTs, 107.13 rating

The Missouri transfer didn’t dress for Saturday’s loss to Penn State, but might be the Hoosiers’ best option if he can get healthy. Jack Tuttle was knocked out of the game against the Nittany Lions, and Dexter Williams and Brendan Sorsby didn’t look ready. Considering the overall state of Indiana’s offense, no one is going to look good leading the unit this season.

10. Spencer Petras, Iowa

Week 10 stats: 13-23, 192 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 55.7%, 155.7 ypg, 5 TDs, 5 INTs, 110.17 rating

Petras had his 2nd straight efficient game, outperforming Purdue counterpart Aidan O’Connell in a 24-3 victory over the host Boilermakers.

9. Tanner Morgan, Minnesota

Week 10 stats: 6-8, 38 yards
Season: 67.3%, 165.5 ypg, 7 TDs, 5 INTs, 148.57 rating

The 6th-year senior left with what PJ Fleck termed an “upper-body” injury, and Athan Kaliakmanis led the Gophers’ second-half rally from a 10-0 deficit. Minnesota fans will have to monitor the situation ahead of a visit from Northwestern.

8. Payton Thorne, Michigan State

Week 10 stats: 19-29, 182 yards, 2 TDs, INT
Season: 64.4%, 210.7 ypg, 14 TDs, 9 INTs, 134.63 rating

Thorne has been a true gamer for the Spartans, battling through aches and pains to start every game this season. He did enough against Illinois’ No. 1-ranked defense Saturday to help Michigan State pull off a road upset.

7. Graham Mertz, Wisconsin

Week 10 stats: 5-18, 77 yards
Season: 60.2%, 189.7 ypg, 17 TDs, 6 INTs, 151.19 rating

Mertz’s arm wasn’t needed as the Badgers ran over Maryland to get themselves back in the thick of the B1G West race. Mertz had been coming on strong before Saturday, and will need to get back on track this weekend at Iowa.

6. Sean Clifford, Penn State

Week 10 stats: 15-23, 229 yards, INT
Season: 63.0%, 227.2 ypg, 16 TDs, 7 INTs, 144.98 rating

The 6th-year senior led Penn State to a 31-7 lead at Indiana before turning the reins over to 5-star freshman Drew Allar. That pattern is likely to repeat itself the rest of the season. Clifford needs 15 passing yards to become the program’s career leader, and another 100 after that to reach 10,000. Next up is a visit from Maryland at 3:30 ET Saturday.

5. Taulia Tagovailoa, Maryland

Week 10 stats: 10-23, 77 yards, TD, INT
Season: 69.9%, 259.8 ypg, 14 TDs, 6 INTs, 150.48 rating

Tagovailoa, who sat out the previous weekend with an apparent lower leg injury, returned but couldn’t solve Wisconsin’s defense or the weather in Madison. A trip Saturday to Penn State probably won’t be any easier.

4. Aidan O’Connell, Purdue

Week 10 stats: 20-43, 168, 2 INTs
Season: 64.0%, 304.8 ypg, 15 TDs, 10 INTs, 129.41 rating

The 6th-year senior had his 3rd multi-pick stat line in the past 5 games as the Boilermakers were held under 20 points for the first time this season in a 24-3 loss to Iowa. Though Charlie Jones has been solid, the rest of the Purdue receiver group doesn’t have the firepower of previous seasons, and it’s starting to show. A divisional showdown at defensively sound Illinois will give O’Connell another chance to make some magic happen.

3. JJ McCarthy, Michigan

Week 10 stats: 13-27, 151 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 70.9%, 179.4 ypg, 12 TDs, 2 INTs, 158.30 rating

The sophomore played another mistake-free game, but he dropped from the No. 1 spot in the nation in completion percentage. He’s now No. 6 after hitting less than 50% of his throws in a game for the first time in 8 starts. He did contribute his 2nd rushing TD of the season to the Wolverines’ 52-17 victory at Rutgers. The sophomore will face visiting Nebraska next.

2. Tommy DeVito, Illinois

Week 10 stats: 25-37, 288 yards, 2 TDs
Season: 71.8%, 209.1 ypg, 14 TDs, 2 INTs, 150.31 rating

The Syracuse transfer posted the week’s best QB game in the B1G by a wide margin, but somehow he and the offense only converted 1-of-6 4th downs in a home loss to Michigan State. He’ll look to solve the red zone issues in a huge B1G West showdown Saturday against visiting Purdue. He’ll carry a 6-game no-INT streak into the contest.

1. CJ Stroud, Ohio State

Week 10 stats: 10-26, 76 yards
Season: 67.9%, 272.6 ypg, 29 TDs, 4 INTs, 185.85 rating

Stroud overcame the harsh weather conditions by running for 79 yards on 6 carries, including a key 44-yarder. Odds are, he’ll get back on track at home against woeful Indiana on Saturday. He has only 1 TD pass over the past 2 games after averaging 4 per game through the Buckeyes’ first 7 games. The redshirt sophomore continues to lead the country in QB rating.