Don’t look now, but Northwestern’s Ryan Hilinski is the top quarterback in the Big Ten.

Actually, do look now. That distinction is unlikely to continue beyond next weekend, and Hilinski deserves his minute of glory. His play was the most significant revelation to come from the 3 B1G teams who were in action Week 0.

Hilinski passed for 314 yards, his highest total since a game against Appalachian State when he was a freshman at South Carolina in 2019. He completed at least 70% of his passes with a minimum of 30 attempts for the first time since doing it against Vanderbilt the previous week of that year.

Not bad for a guy who didn’t even have the starting job secured until the end of training camp. He certainly proved he earned it.

With the rest of the league opening up this week, we turn our eyes to the Big Ten’s other quarterbacks. Here’s what they need to show us this week — and in those to follow.

Tommy DeVito (Illinois): Find a downfield threat

DeVito completed 27 of 37 passes against Wyoming, which is nice. A total of 12 Illini caught a pass, which is great. But Illinois only gained 194 yards through the air, which is pretty inefficient. DeVito had just 1 completion over 20 yards.

DeVito will have to show he’s got more to his arm than this pop-gun attack in Friday night’s game at Indiana.

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Connor Bazelak -OR- Jack Tuttle (Indiana): Prove you’re the starter

If Bazelak transferred to Indiana only to be beaten out by Tuttle, I’m not investing in Hoosiers futures. And I don’t think that’s what is happening, but Tom Allen is still playing coy on his starter. Regardless of who starts, he needs to prove why that’s the case against the Illini. This is a must-win if Indiana is going to get to a bowl game.

Spencer Petras (Iowa): Don’t mess this up for the defense

Above-average with flashes of good. That’s really all Iowa needs out of its quarterback to have a successful season. Heck, the Hawkeyes still won the West when Petras was below-average with flashes of average. Seven of his 9 interceptions came in 2 games — losses to Purdue and Kentucky. Iowa’s defense can get you out of a lot of jams. Don’t create any for them.

Taulia Tagovailoa (Maryland): Become a star

Everything sets up for Tagovailoa to become a no-doubt all-B1G quarterback this season. He’s got a healthy Dontay Demus Jr. back alongside Rakim Jarrett at receiver. The entire offensive line returns. It’s time to seize the day — though that will be revealed against someone tougher than Buffalo in Week 1.

Cade McNamara (Michigan): Show improvement, quickly

McNamara is the Week 1 starter against Colorado State, with JJ McCarthy getting his turn Week 2 against Hawaii. Which, to use a baseball analogy, feels like McCarthy is the home team with the last at-bat. I’d rather be in his shoes.

McNamara will need to prove he’s better than the serviceable QB he was a year ago. Though something tells me this debate won’t be settled until at least Week 4 against Maryland.

Payton Thorne (Michigan State): Be the man

Last season, running back Kenneth Walker III was the man and Payton Thorne was the quarterback good enough to keep defenses honest as the Spartans rolled to an 11-2 season. Michigan State needs a role reversal for that success to be repeated this year — Thorne is the leader of the offense, while running backs Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard are good enough to keep defenses honest.

Tanner Morgan (Minnesota): Find the fountain of youth

With his shaved head and goatee, Morgan is a 6th-year senior who resembles someone twice his actual age. He also got married over the summer, further cementing his old man status. But the Golden Gophers need Morgan to find the fountain of youth this year. Morgan passed for 3,253 yards and 30 touchdowns in 2019, then struggled in the following 2 seasons. If he can revert to what he’s already done, Minnesota will win the West.

Casey Thompson (Nebraska): Don’t get rattled

Nebraska fans were saying “Here we go again” after Thompson’s 2 fourth-quarter interceptions, but both balls could have (should have?) been caught by his receivers. Thompson can’t get rattled by what happened or the fact it reminds Huskers fans so much of the past 4 seasons with Adrian Martinez. Poise is why the Huskers sought Thompson in the transfer portal. Now it’s time to show it for a team that can still attain all of its season goals.

CJ Stroud (Ohio State): Show you’re the best QB in college football

It is the season of comparisons for Stroud and Alabama counterpart Bryce Young, maybe to an extent we haven’t seen since the debate raged over whether Peyton Manning or Ryan Leaf would be the top pick in the NFL Draft. Either could win the Heisman. Either could win the national championship. And either could be No. 1 next spring. With a pair of top-11 draft pick receivers no longer at his disposal, Stroud will be tested — but passing that test will prove much about his own skills.

Sean Clifford (Penn State): Some consistency, please

I won’t pretend quarterback rating isn’t a flawed stat. Or that it’s even a good stat. But it can tell a story at least semi-accurately. And Clifford is a good example of that. Last year, he had 3 games with a passer rating above 170 and 3 games with a passer rating below 100. And sure enough, he finished 7th in the B1G in passer rating. He needs to be in the top 4 this year for the Nittany Lions to reach their potential. The season opener at Purdue is a great opportunity to show what he’s got.

Aidan O’Connell (Purdue): Be the B1G’s No. 2 QB

There’s no shame in finishing second in this competition, because it may prove to be enough to carve out a shot in the NFL. Or a Big Ten West championship. O’Connell came on strong at the end of last season, and is widely expected to show he’s the best quarterback in the league behind Stroud. Which would make a championship game between the two rather exciting. Beating Penn State in the opener would go a long way in making that goal attainable.

Noah Vedral (Rutgers): Get good quick

Vedral’s leash has to be as short as they come after producing 7 touchdowns, 7 interceptions and just 139.5 yards per game in 2021. At some point, redshirt freshman Gavin Wimsatt is getting a look. Unless … Vedral can snap the Scarlet Knights’ 11-game losing streak to Boston College and look good in the process. And that’ll take a near-miracle, because the Eagles were 3rd nationally in pass defense last season.

Graham Mertz (Wisconsin): Prove you’re the starter/don’t mess it up for the defense

If Mertz doesn’t step up his game, the Badgers could be up a creek without a paddle. Backup Chase Wolf injured his knee at the end of training camp, and now Mertz is unlikely to be pushed if he struggles. And Mertz did plenty of struggling last year, completing 59.5% of his throws for 10 touchdowns and 11 interceptions.

Mertz’s turnover-prone play squandered what might have been Jim Leonhard’s best defense last year. With 8 starters gone from that defense, Mertz’s margin for error will be razor-thin.

The season opener against Illinois State won’t tell us whether Mertz is better this season — but it will reveal if he’s not.