Nine of the 14 teams in the Big Ten appear set at quarterback heading into the fall. The five others will continue auditions in August, and no competition will be more closely watched than the one at Ohio State.
With two-time Big Ten player of the year Justin Fields departing for the NFL, returning backups C.J. Stroud and Jack Miller III and five-star January enrollee Kyle McCord took the snaps in spring practice.
Stroud was believed to be the front-runner entering the spring, but coach Ryan Day said a starter might not be determined until shortly before the Sept. 2 opener at Minnesota.
“They've learned a lot, but now the race is on over the next few months to see who can make the next strides so that they’re further along,” Day said. “Spring’s been good. There’s been a lot of progress across the board, but still a long way to to before we play against Minnesota.”
Stroud and Miller saw limited playing time in their first seasons. Stroud took eight snaps over three games, and Miller had 10 snaps over two games. Each broke a long touchdown run late in blowouts.
Day is presiding over his first quarterback competition as a head coach. He was offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under Urban Meyer when future first-round NFL picks Dwayne Haskins Jr. and Joe Burrow were battling it out in spring 2018.
At Michigan, Cade McNamara would appear to be the favorite following the transfers of Joe Milton and Dylan McCaffrey. McNamara replaced Milton in the first half of the second-to-last game and led the Wolverines to a comeback win over Rutgers, and he got the start the next week against Penn State.
McNamara will be challenged in the preseason by Alan Bowman, who will arrive as a graduate transfer from Texas Tech.