Ohio State All-Decade Team vs. B1G All-Decade Team: Who wins?
This week, Big Ten Network revealed the selections for its B1G All-Decade Team, spanning from 2010-19. It served as a reminder that, over the last 10 seasons, there’s been a ton of talent that has passed through the conference.
But the release of the All-Decade team also stirred up a thought: Could an Ohio State All-Decade Team beat BTN’s All-Decade Team?
Ohio State dominated the B1G over the past decade. The Buckeyes claimed five B1G titles (including a share in 2010 that was later vacated), had one undefeated season (2012) and won a national championship (2014). They posted a record of 117-18 and won at least 11 games in every season but 2011 (6-7).
A total of 68 former Buckeyes who played between 2010 and 2019 were selected in the NFL Draft.
It may not be often that one program’s All-Decade Team could compete with an entire conference, Ohio State’s run over the last 10 seasons has been so remarkable that it’s worth looking into. So, before we take a look at the position-by-position matchups, here is how the teams were formed:
- Players who were First-Team selections by Big Ten Network were inserted into the B1G lineup, except those from Ohio State
- Ohio State players selected to First- or Second-Team All-Decade were inserted into the Buckeyes lineup
- No Ohio State player is allowed on the B1G All-Decade Team
- Players from BTN’s Second-Team filled the vacancies left by Ohio State players
- Remaining vacancies, on both teams, were filled via selection by Tradition’s Managing Editor
Got all that? Good. Now, without further ado, let’s look at the position-by-position matchups to see if an Ohio State All-Decade Team could take down the B1G All-Decade Team.
- B1G: Connor Cook (MSU)
- OSU: J.T. Barrett
Advantage: Ohio State
If you want to judge this position by pure passing ability, you might give the nod to Cook, who threw for over 9,000 yards and 71 touchdowns in his three seasons as a starter at Michigan State. But I’ll take Barrett’s winning mindset, dual-threat ability and leadership skills any day of the week.
Barrett was always knocked for his struggles to stretch the field, a fair criticism for a quarterback. Don’t forget, though, this was a guy who was three times named the B1G Quarterback of the Year, helped lead the Buckeyes to a national championship as a freshman and finished his career with 12,697 passing and rushing yards and 147 total touchdowns.
There’s no doubt Cook was talented, but Barrett always found a way to win. That’s an irreplaceable quality in a quarterback.
- B1G: Saquon Barkley (PSU), Jonathan Taylor (WIS)
- OSU: Ezekiel Elliott, J.K. Dobbins
Has there been a more loaded position group in the B1G than the running back? There are probably at least a half-dozen names who could’ve also been in this conversation who could’ve been argued as First-Team All-Decade talents. That’s insane, but anyway…
This was a really close call, but Barkley is the biggest reason behind the B1G’s advantage at this position. He’s one of the most electrifying players we’ve seen on a college football field in the past decade and his versatility, athleticism and talent is unmatched. Pair that with Taylor, who was Wisconsin’s workhorse for three seasons and you’ve got one one of the best backfields perhaps in the history of the B1G.
Elliott and Dobbins both have the ability to take over a game, as well. They’d form an incredible tandem in the running back room. But the other two guys they’re facing in this fictional matchup are just a slight step ahead.
- B1G: Tyler Johnson (MINN), Allen Robinson (PSU)
- OSU: Michael Thomas, Devin Smith
It seems like a major oversight that neither Thomas nor Smith was mentioned in BTN’s All-Decade Team. Together, they formed a lethal duo in Ohio State’s passing attack. The trouble with Buckeye receivers is that the football is usually so spread out in the offense that one guy rarely puts up huge numbers. Despite great college careers, Thomas and Smith both failed to crack the 1,000-yard receiving mark in a single season. That doesn’t mean they weren’t nightmare matchups for defensive backs.
Speaking of nightmare matchups for opposing secondaries, how about Robinson and Johnson? Robinson is probably one of the most underrated receivers to play in the B1G over the last decade. The Penn State receiver led the B1G in receiving in 2012 and 2013, totaling more than 1,000 yards each year. Johnson ended his career with huge numbers as well in 2019, leading the conference with 1,318 yards and 13 touchdowns.
Here’s the thing: Throw the ball up to any of those four players and they’re all coming down with a catch. Whether they had big numbers on the field or not, you’d trust any one of those receivers when the football is in flight. This one is a draw.
- B1G: Jake Butt (MICH)
- OSU: Luke Farrell
Let’s be honest, Ohio State isn’t typically known for its outstanding tight end play. That position is kind of the unsung hero of the Buckeye offense. While Farrell had a solid career in Columbus, he just wasn’t as versatile as a lot of other guys at the position across the B1G. When you look around the league over the last 10 seasons, he probably isn’t one of the 10 best players at the position.
That’s not a knock on Farrell, that’s just how many great tight ends have played in the B1G since 2010.
Butt is a different story. He was incredibly consistent throughout his career at Michigan, both as a pass-catcher and as a blocker. He ended his time with Michigan with over 1,600 receiving yards and 11 touchdown grabs. He’s a great weapon in the B1G All-Decade offense.
- B1G: Dan Feeney (IU), Michael Deiter (WIS), Brandon Scherff (IOWA), Taylor Lewan (MICH), Jack Allen (MSU)
- OSU: Wyatt Davis, Billy Price, Taylor Decker, Pat Elflein, Thayer Munford
Maybe it’s just me, but it rarely seems like Ohio State’s offensive line gets enough credit. Year after year the Buckeyes have one of the most explosive offenses in the conference, yet it’s typically Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan that seem to get the credit for getting the job done up front.
This was a difficult position group to judge because so much on the offensive line depends on chemistry. All 10 guys included in this category had/are having outstanding collegiate careers and it translates to the NFL.
You’re not going to complain about either lineup you get in this situation. Let’s call this another draw, fair enough?
- B1G: J.J. Watt (WIS), Ryan Kerrigan (PUR), Shilique Calhoun (MSU), Maurice Hurst (MICH)
- OSU: Joey Bosa, Nick Bosa, Chase Young, Dre’Mont Jones
Advantage: Ohio State
This could be recency bias, but Young is the X-factor here. He’s arguably the best defensive linemen to pass through Ohio State in the past decade, and that’s among a group that includes names like the Bosas, Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis and anyone else you care to throw out there. It’s hard to compete with 16.5 sacks, six forced fumbles, three pass break-ups and a blocked kick in a single season.
A front line of Watt, Kerrigan, Calhoun and Hurst would be a nightmare for offensive linemen. But opponents wouldn’t sleep the night before seeing a four-man front of Young, the Bosa brothers and Jones. If they’d get the advantage of Larry Johnson coaching them, the deck is stacked even more in favor of the Buckeyes.
Yes, that B1G defensive line is outstanding, but Ohio State’s is even better. The talent coming out of Columbus at that position the past decade is insane.
- B1G: Devin Bush (MICH), Josey Jewell (IOWA), Chris Borland (WIS)
- OSU: Ryan Shazier, Malik Harrison, Joshua Perry
Bush was a B1G Defensive Player of the Year, Jewell collected 124 tackles or more in three consecutive seasons and Borland stuffed the stat sheet any way imaginable. There isn’t much those three B1G linebackers can’t do. Put them on a field together at the same time? That’s one of the toughest units you’ll see.
Shazier is in the same conversation as those three B1G linebackers mentioned, but Harrison and Perry probably aren’t quite up to the same caliber as Jewell and Borland. They were still incredibly talented, but that B1G trio would be all over the field.
Much like the tight end position, I don’t think this one is particularly close. Those B1G linebackers helped their teams win a lot of football games. It would also be the strength of the defense on the All-B1G team.
- B1G: Antoine Winfield Jr. (MINN), Desmond King (IOWA), Darqueze Dennard (MSU), Amani Hooker (IOWA)
- OSU: Malik Hooker, Jeff Okudah, Vonn Bell, Marshon Lattimore
Advantage: Ohio State
Is this even a question? Knowing the Ohio State has coined the phrase “Best in America” (BIA) to refer to its secondary should be enough to give the Buckeyes the edge. If that’s not enough, how about the fact that Hooker, Okudah and Lattimore were all first-round selections in the NFL Draft while Bell had to wait until the second round. Only Dennard was selected in the first round from the All-B1G squad.
Ohio State’s defensive backs are incredibly skilled in coverage, are excellent at breaking up passes and can even be power hitters at times. Those four guys on the field at the same time wouldn’t just be effective at the college level, they could help NFL teams win a lot of games.
You could replace these four Buckeye defensive backs with four others and it might be a toss-up. That’s just how good Ohio State’s secondary has been, especially over the last six years.
- B1G: Keith Duncan (IOWA)
- OSU: Drew Basil
Here’s a stat for you: Basil made 33 field goals during his career at Ohio State. Duncan converted on 29 field goal attempts during the 2019 season alone. That’s durability.
Both kickers are consistent and have a high conversion percentage, but Duncan has made some big-time kicks in his career and has games decided on his leg multiple times during his two years as Iowa’s starter. And, quite honestly, Ohio State typically doesn’t need a lot of field goals throughout the course of a season.
This one is probably closer than you’d think, but Duncan gets the nudge over Basil. Ohio State fans could probably live with that, since Duncan spoiled Michigan’s perfect season in 2016.
- B1G: Mike Sadler (MSU)
- OSU: Cameron Johnston
It’s tough to pick one, especially considering how skilled both Sadler and Johnston were. Both punters averaged over 42 yards per boot during their careers and were successful at pinning opponents deep in their own territory. That’s really all you can ask out of your punter.
- B1G: Jabrill Peppers
- OSU: Braxton Miller
Advantage: Ohio State
Yes, Peppers was a guy who could play nearly every position on the field. While he was primarily a defender during his career in Ann Arbor, he also saw time on offense and on special teams, especially during the 2016 season. He’s a tough guy to beat at the all-purpose position.
But let’s talk about how Miller went from the B1G Offensive Player of the Year in back-to-back seasons, suffered a season-ending injury and then transitioned into a productive receiver in Ohio State’s offense. Not only did Miller have immense talent and athleticism, the intelligence to learn another position entirely in such a short period of time is incredibly impressive.
Miller’s senior season ended with 341 receiving yards, 260 rushing yards, four total touchdowns and the most memorable spin move in B1G history.
- B1G: Mark Dantonio
- OSU: Urban Meyer
Advantage: Ohio State
Meyer lost five B1G games (including the B1G Championship Game) during his seven seasons at Ohio State. Although two of those losses were to Dantonio, he’s absolutely the guy you’d want coaching your team more than anyone else in the B1G.
In seven years, Meyer had a career record of 83-9 with the Buckeyes, won three B1G titles, claimed a national championship, had a perfect season and never lost to Michigan. That’s quite the resume.
Dantonio enjoyed a fair amount of success during his time in East Lansing. Yes, he got the best of Meyer on a few occasions, but he’s a clear runner-up in this category.
Advantage: Ohio State
It seems silly to believe one program’s All-Decade squad can compete with an entire conference. Ohio State has produced so much talent, had so much success and has a legendary coach all working in its favor. While the Buckeyes do lack in a few areas, having a winner in J.T. Barrett at the helm of the offense, and a front four and secondary that resembles a Pro Bowl team, there’s absolutely enough talent to beat an All-B1G team.
It’s just too bad we don’t get to see how this would actually play out.