CJ Stroud seems to have set a bar he can’t clear.

Again this year, the Ohio State quarterback is posting other worldly statistics, leading the nation in QB rating and TD throws. But also again this year, he lost to Michigan — putting up gaudy stats by not enough of a fight. And this time, he threw 2 picks.

His numbers are great, but nonetheless way down from a year ago. He’s averaging about 70 passing yards less per game despite playing in an offensive paradise. He’s been sacked only 8 times, down from 17 a year ago, and has the best receiving corps in the country, even with Jaxon Smith-Njigba out of action. Yet his completion percentage is down from 71.9 to 66.2%.

He added nothing with his legs in the 2 career losses to the Wolverines, losing 30 yards on the ground last year in The Game and 3 this year. In fact, his lone career rushing TD came in 2020 in his only non-starting appearance for the Buckeyes. Other than that 48-yard scoring run and 79 yards on the ground this year in a gale at Northwestern, he’s lost 25 yards on 61 attempts.

He’s not your average B1G quarterback, that’s for sure. We’d be mocking the rest of the league right now for not keeping pace if his record as the starter were 23-1 instead of 21-3, but that’s not the case. Instead, we’re left to wonder if he makes the players around him better … or the other way around.

“Top player” encompasses leadership, moxie and toughness. It involves skill and the ability to rise to the occasion, especially when the spotlight is brightest.

Is there someone in the Big Ten who does that better than Stroud? Here’s our final top 10 of the season:

10. Cooper DeJean, DB, Iowa

DeJean left Friday’s loss to Nebraska early with an injury and the Huskers torched his backup. DeJean was as key to the Hawkeyes’ secondary this year as Jack Campbell was to the linebacker group.

“It impacted us a great deal,” Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said afterward. “It’s a big loss, because (DeJean) is such a versatile player.”

The 6-1, 210-pound sophomore finished the regular season with 67 tackles to go along with 4 interceptions and 2 TDs.

9. Jake Moody, K, Michigan

Moody made (at least) 4 field goals without a miss 3 times in a 5-game span that concluded with a game-winning 35-yarder in the final seconds vs. Illinois in Week 12.

After the Wolverines’ rout of Ohio State to close the regular season, he’s 26-of-32 on field goals this season, with 4 of the misses from 50+ yards. He leads the nation in points.

The 6-1, 210-pound senior is Michigan’s most prolific field goal kicker and has never missed an extra point in college, hitting 141 straight. He’s 15 points shy of Garrett Rivas’s school record of 354.

The defending Lou Groza Award winner should have a strong shot to earn the honor again. The announcement is set for Dec. 5.

8. Charlie Jones, WR, Purdue

The transfer from Iowa had 143 yards and a TD on 4 catches in the win over Indiana that got the Boilermakers into the B1G Championship Game. His league-leading receiving totals are now at 97 catches, 1,199 yards and 12 TDs. Those totals all rank top-5 in the country.

The 6-0, 188-pound senior went from obscurity in Iowa City to serious NFL prospect thanks his reuniting with quarterback Aidan O’Connell. He may be the best transfer acquisition in the country. He certainly couldn’t be a more perfect fit in West Lafayette.

7. Jack Campbell, LB, Iowa

Campbell had 8 tackles against Nebraska to finish 2nd in the B1G with 118 in the regular season, but his signature game came the week prior against Minnesota.

In the fourth quarter against the Gophers, the 6-5, 246-pound middle linebacker forced a fumble in the red zone to prevent a go-ahead Minnesota score, then intercepted a pass and returned it 30 yards to set up the winning field goal.

He’s been the heart and soul of Iowa’s program the past 2 seasons, and won B1G Defensive Player of the Year honors this week from coaches and media.

6. Marvin Harrison Jr., WR, Ohio State

The 6-4, 205-pound sophomore snared 7 passes for 120 yards and a TD against Michigan, capping a breakout regular season. He’s just 42 yards behind Purdue’s Charlie Jones for the B1G lead in receiving yards and has averaged better than a touchdown per game dating to last season’s Rose Bowl.

He catches every ball that touches his hands and does an amazing job getting a foot down in bounds on balls near the boundary.

He’s part of a 1,000-yard pass-catching duo with Emeka Egbuka, who hit the barrier vs. the Wolverines, a week after Harrison did so.

5. CJ Stroud, QB, Ohio State

Stroud couldn’t seal the deal on the Heisman, passing for 349 yards and 2 TDs — but also 2 INTs — in Saturday’s loss to Michigan.

His numbers are amazing, even though they’re down from a year ago. He still leads the nation in QB rating and shares the lead in TD throws (37).

The 3rd-year sophomore has 81 TD throws over the past 2 seasons, which is unprecedented in the Big Ten and ranks top 5 in college football history. Colt Brennan threw for 96 TDs for Hawaii spanning  2006-07. Graham Harrell of Texas Tech ranks 2nd in the category with 93 from 2007-08.

4. Blake Corum, RB, Michigan

Corum tried to tough it out on an injured leg against Ohio State, but lasted for only 2 carries and 6 yards.

It’s a shame, because the 5-8, 210-pound junior would be the Heisman front-runner right now had he not taken a hit to the knee just before halftime a week earlier against Illinois.

Nothing and no one was slowing him down prior to that hit. He had rushed for 100+ yards against 8 straight B1G opponents, including the Illini in just the first half alone. He still ranks 9th in the country in rushing yards and 4th in rushing TDs (18). His ability to power for tough yards and also explode for big plays makes him the most dynamic back in the Big Ten.

Michigan has the depth to get by without him, but it’d be great to see him play again this season if his leg allows it.

3. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, Minnesota

Ibrahim finally eased up, slightly, on Saturday after 19 straight games of 100+ rushing yards. He still carried 27 times, but netted just 70 yards in a win over Wisconsin — his first sub-100 outing since late November 2019. An injury that cost him all but 1 game in 2021 slowed him down more than any defense ever could.

The 6th-year senior has sacrificed his body for PJ Fleck and the good of the program, and now holds the school record for career rushing yards (4,597). He has nothing left to prove and deserves a rest, but he’s the kind of guy who might play in a bowl game anyway. Either way, Minnesota fans and everyone who appreciates hard-nosed football should be wishing him well.

It’s been a hell of a ride since his Aug. 30, 2018 debut when he posted 101 yards on 9 carries against New Mexico State. Since then, most of the yards have been much tougher to come by. Ibrahim made a career of relentlessly pounding defenses until they broke.

2. Chase Brown, RB, Illinois

Brown led the nation in rushing for a long stretch of the season and finished 2nd in total yards and 3rd in yards per game (136.9) after season lows of 19 carries and 61 yards in an easy win over Northwestern. A true workhorse, he led the nation in attempts with 328.

The 5-11, 205-pound junior also became more of a receiving threat over the second half of the season and finished with 27 catches for 240 yards and 3 TDs.

If he goes to the NFL as expected, he’ll finish as Illinois’ No. 2 all-time rusher. If he plays in the Illini’s bowl game, he’ll need 55 yards to set the program’s single-season rushing record.

1. Olusegun Oluwatimi, C, Michigan

The grad transfer from Virginia anchors the Wolverines’ line, which paved the way for 252 rushing yards and 530 total in a romp over Ohio State in its own stadium.

Even with Blake Corum hobbled, Michigan proved unstoppable, especially in the second half when Donovan Edwards got the bulk of his 216 rushing yards.

The 6-3, 307-pound former 2-star recruit has filled Andrew Vastardis’ role in the middle of Michigan’s loaded offensive line and hasn’t missed a beat. He’s played in all 12 games to extend his career streak to 47 starts. Michigan ranks No. 5 in the country in rushing offense and has only given up 13 sacks this fall.

Oluwatimi isn’t even a unanimous first-team All-Big Ten selection, but he seems to us to be the key player on the conference’s best team. He and guys like him have paved the way for the league’s great running backs this season. He pulls and delivers kick-out blocks. He gets downfield and takes out linebackers.

Given how the Big Ten season has played out in 2022, a guy in the trenches deserves a moment in the sun. There are plenty to choose from, but we like big No. 55 in maize and blue.