The past two months brought bad news piled on top of bad news for Big Ten quarterbacks -- from Braxton Miller's season-ending right-shoulder injury in August to Wes Lunt's fractured left leg last week.
In between, Michigan's Shane Morris found himself embroiled in a head-injury controversy that dominated headlines; Joel Stave of Wisconsin got the yips, and Minnesota won a game while completing one pass for 7 yards.
Since early August, eight of 14 Big Ten teams have endured a prolonged change -- temporary or permanent -- at quarterback, because of injury or poor play. Only Nate Sudfeld, Gary Nova, Trevor Siemian, Connor Cook, Christian Hackenberg and Tommy Armstrong Jr. have avoided time on the bench.
The schedule for Week 7 looks a little, well, weak. So in lieu of dissecting these five games, here's a rundown of the three most unsettled QB situations -- in order of messiness -- among teams set to play on Saturday:
3. Iowa: Junior Jake Rudock is back and set to start against Indiana after missing the Hawkeyes' Sept. 27 win at Purdue with a leg injury. But sophomore C.J. Beathard will also play. Offensive coordinator Greg Davis said last week he would rotate the quarterbacks, deciding by “feel." That's a recipe for disaster. Iowa needs a quarterback. One quarterback. Problem is, the Rudock-led offense has been mundane, while the long-locked Beathard offers a big-play threat but consistency problems.
2. Illinois: Without Lunt for four to six weeks, the Illini look to senior Reilly O'Toole and sophomore Aaron Bailey. Or perhaps both. O'Toole started in place of Lunt against Nebraska and played in relief last week, completing 26 of 52 passes for 379 yards with one touchdown and four interceptions while being sacked five times. Bailey has not played this year after getting into nine games as a true freshman last year. To redshirt or not to redshirt, that is the question on Bailey. At this point, hopes for a winning season in Champaign are growing dim. Is it really worth using Bailey if he's not the clear-cut starter?
1. Wisconsin: Well, this is quite an ordeal after the junior Stave came off the bench last week at Northwestern for his first action of the season and tossed three interceptions, compiling a lowly 18.5 QBR index on 19 throws. Senior Tanner McEvoy has yet to settle into a groove, though, committing nine turnovers in 4 ½ games. Both are set to play against Illinois. Stave looks to give the Badgers a better shot in November if he can make strides this month. Compounding matters, McEvoy may also play receiver -- not what Wisconsin needs, more confusion.
With that, let's go around the league:
Taiwan Jones and the Michigan State linebackers respond to the doubters.
Penn State offensive line coach Herb Hand sees improvement among his players.
Michigan coach Brady Hoke says he's a "ton of positives" have come as a result of his team's recent struggles.
What kind of grade does the Ohio State offense deserve?
Indiana running back Tevin Coleman, born to Liberian emigrants, has been overcoming obstacles since birth.
Rutgers' president speaks out on the football team's success in a presentation to the university's leadership.
Numbers to know from the first half of the season at Maryland.
Injured linebacker Sean Robinson may consider playing with a torn ACL for Purdue.
Nebraska's offensive game plan was not the problem against Michigan State, coach Bo Pelini said.
Why are Minnesota and Northwestern vying for a spot atop the division? They both capitalize on turnovers.
Punter Chris Gradone is Northwestern's secret weapon.
Reasons exist to believe in Iowa, writes Marc Morehouse, and there are reasons not to believe.