The Big Ten wasn't a league known for offense in 2012, as no team ranked among the top 25 nationally in yards per game and only two squads (Ohio State and Nebraska) finished in the top 40 in scoring.
It's still very early and the competition has been mostly blah, but things seem to be changing this season. Eight Big Ten teams rank in the top 30 nationally in scoring, including both Indiana (54 points per game) and Michigan (50 ppg) in the top 10. Some units have made dramatic transformations, like Illinois' offense, which is moving the ball and scoring with relative ease after finishing 119th out of 120 teams in both points and yards in 2012.
Today's poll question is: Which Big Ten offense is built to last?
The numbers inevitably will go down as the opposition gets tougher, but it's possible some Big Ten offenses have turned a corner.
Here are the candidates:
Illinois: The Illini look like a completely different offense under coordinator Bill Cubit, who has pulled all the right strings in the first two games. Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase is leading the Big Ten in passing, and big-play threats are emerging around him in Josh Ferguson, Ryan Lankford, Martize Barr and others. Cubit is getting players in space and staying a step ahead of defenses. But Illinois still lacks depth on offense and will face tougher defenses in the coming weeks, beginning Saturday against Washington.
Indiana: Big offense hardly is a foreign concept at Indiana, which averaged 442 yards per game in 2012 and nearly scored 50 points against Ohio State. The unit seems to have reached the next level this season, as Nate Sudfeld has sparked the passing attack. Indiana has tremendous depth at quarterback, wide receiver, tight end and running back, where Tevin Coleman has emerged alongside Stephen Houston. Then again, Indiana State and Navy aren't the toughest opponents. Can IU put up big numbers against Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan to open Big Ten play?
Minnesota: The Gophers have scored 95 points in their first two contests, although they already boast three special teams touchdowns and two defensive touchdowns. Quarterback Philip Nelson has been effective with his mobility, making throws on the run and gashing defenses with his feet. Despite injuries at running back, the Gophers are averaging 281.5 rushing yards per game. Still, Minnesota lacks many weapons on the perimeter and needs to show more consistency up front, especially when a tough Big Ten schedule begins. The Gophers have just 226 receiving yards on only 18 receptions, and no player has more than three catches so far.
Northwestern: Like Indiana, Northwestern has been driven by the spread offense for a number of years, putting up explosive numbers from time to time. But the Wildcats seemed to reach a different level of efficiency last Saturday against Syracuse, as quarterbacks Kain Colter and Trevor Siemian performed almost flawlessly, combining to go 30-of-37 passing for 375 yards with four touchdowns, no interceptions and 91 rush yards. Northwestern's passing game looks improved so far, and the unit hasn't even had star running back Venric Mark at its disposal. But there are some lingering questions about the offensive line and whether Northwestern will keep scoring at such a high rate when Big Ten play begins against Ohio State and Wisconsin.
Wisconsin: New coaching staff, same dominant results for Wisconsin's offense, at least on the ground. The three-headed monster of James White, Melvin Gordon and Corey Clement has amassed 786 rush yards and seven touchdowns in two games, as each running back has reached 250 yards. Quarterback Joel Stave has been efficient, completing 71.7 percent of his passes. But the competition level has been incredibly poor so far, and Wisconsin lacks depth at receiver and along the offensive line. Things get a lot tougher beginning this week at Arizona State.
It's your turn to vote. Which Big Ten offense will maintain its strong start?