Football

Ranking Big Ten football teams by most Silver Football Awards (POY)

Ranking Big Ten football teams by most Silver Football Awards (POY)
Written by highergroundintl

In case you have noticed, Ohio State is pretty good at this American football thing. While the Buckeyes stack up among other elite teams in the country, it has downright dominated the Big Ten over the last couple of decades (yeah, yeah, Michigan, we’ll give you your once-in-a-decade win).

As you would imagine, and as you have seen, Ohio State has also dominated the Big Ten Awards recently, as well as throughout history at other times. One of those awards is the Chicago Tribune’s Silver Football Award, handed out annually to the player judged to be the Big Ten’s best.

But other teams in the league have had their fair share as well, while others have had a few brief moments in the sun.

As we get closer to another season on the gridiron in the Big Ten, we thought it would be interesting to go back and see how each program in the conference stacks up when it comes to boasting about having the best player in the league. Which team has won it the most times? Who is in second place? And what teams have struggled to field the player dynamic enough consistently to add the Silver Football to a trophy case?

We’re here to shed some light on it for you by ranking the Big Ten by most Silver Football’s won since the first one was awarded programs in 1924 (it was the venerable Red Grange by the way).

Off we go…

None Won

Sep 30, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; A general view of Maryland Terrapins helmets during pre-game before a game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Teams

Maryland

Nebraska

Rutgers

*Maryland and Rutgers didn’t join the Big Ten until 2014. Nebraska joined in 2011.

No. 12 – Chicago Maroons

No. of Silver Football’s Won

2

The First and Last Winner

First | Ken Rouse (1927)
Last | Jay Berwanger (1935)

*The University of Chicago was a Big Ten member from 1896 to 1939

No. 11 – Michigan State Spartans

Sep 7, 1987; E. Lansing, MI, USA FILE PHOTO; Michigan State Spartans running back Lorenzo White (34) carries the ball against the Southern California Trojans at Spartans Stadium. Credit: Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

3

The First and Last Winner

First | Eric Allen (1971)
Last | Lorenzo White (1987)

No. 9 (tie) – Penn State Nittany Lions

Dec 30, 2017; Glendale, AZ, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) following the game against the Washington Huskies in the 2017 Fiesta Bowl at University of Phoenix Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

5

The First and Last Winner

First | Kery Collins (1994)
Last | Saquon Barkley (2017)

* Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1990

No. 9 (tie) – Northwestern Wildcats

No. of Silver Football’s Won

5

The First and Last Winner

First | Tim Lowry (1925)
Last | Lee Gissendaner (1992)

No. 7 (tie) – Purdue Boilermakers

Oct 16, 1999; West Lafayette, IN, USA; FILE PHOTO; Purdue Boilermakers quarterback Drew Brees (15) looks to throw the ball against the Michigan State Spartans at Ross-Ade Stadium. Credit: RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

6

The First and Last Winner

First | Bob Griese (1966)
Last | Drew Brees (2000)

No. 7 (tie) – Minnesota Golden Gophers

No. of Silver Football’s Won

6

The First and Last Winner

First | Clarence Munn (1931)
Last | Sandy Stephens (1961)

No. 5 (tie) – Indiana Hoosiers

No. of Silver Football’s Won

7

The First and Last Winner

First | Chuck Bennett (1928)
Last | Antwaan Randle El (2001)

No. 5 (tie) – Illinois Fighting Illini

Oct 6, 2007; Champaign, IL, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini running back Rashard Mendenhall (5) drops the football and celebrates his touchdown run during the third quarter at Memorial Stadium. Illinois beat Wisconsin 31-26. Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

7

The First and Last Winner

First | Red Grange (1924)
Last | Rashard Mendenhall (2007)

No. 4 – Wisconsin Badgers

Dec 1, 2012; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Wisconsin Badgers running back Melvin Gordon (25) runs by Nebraska Cornhuskers safety Daimion Stafford (3) during the Big Ten championship game at Lucas Oil Stadium. Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

9

The First and Last Winner

First | Howard Weiss (1938)
Last | Melvin Gordon (2014)

No. 3 – Iowa Hawkeyes

Nov 8, 2008; Iowa City, IA, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes running back Shonn Greene (23) carries the ball as Penn State Nittany Lions safety Mark Rubin (9) gets blocked during the first quarter at Kinnick Stadium. Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

10

The First and Last Winner

First | Bill Glassgow (1929)
Last | Shonn Greene (2008)

No. 2 – Michigan Wolverines

Ohio State vs.  Michigan: 3 reasons Wolverines could be problem for OSU Michigan Wolverines defensive end Aidan Hutchinson (97), linebacker Josh Ross (12) and defensive tackle Christopher Hinton (15) get ready during second-half action against the Western Michigan Broncos Saturday, Sept. 4, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports Network

No. of Silver Football’s Won

18

The First and Last Winner

First | Benny Friedman (1926)
Last | Aidan Hutchinson (2001)

No. 1 – Ohio State Buckeyes

Ohio State quarterback NFL draft history - Buckeyes Wire Jan 11, 2021; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Justin Fields (1) against the Alabama Crimson Tide in the 2021 CFP National Championship Game. Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

No. of Silver Football’s Won

22

The First and Last Winner

First | Wes Fesler (1930)
Last | Justin Fields (2020)

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highergroundintl

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