This post is sponsored by RO*TEL. Any of you who watch IU games know RO*TEL, one of the most loyal sponsors of the Big Ten Network. RO*TEL is holding a sweepstakes as described above. To bring attention to the sweepstakes, RO*TEL is sponsoring posts on this and other Big Ten blogs highlighting a standout player or players on each team.
For IU, two weeks into the season, the choice is obvious. Ben Chappell has been excellent so far. Certainly, IU hasn't played any good teams yet. Towson is a I-AA school and Western Kentucky hasn't won a game in nearly two years. Still, by any standard, Chappell has been excellent. He has completed 74 percent of his passes, is averaging 274 yards per game, and has thrown 5 touchdowns and no interceptions. In 2009, against comparable (well, slightly better) competition in the first two weeks, Chappell wasn't this good. He threw 2 interceptions against Eastern Kentucky and had only one touchdown pass in the first two weeks of the season.
Before the season, I said that for IU to excel as a team, Chappell needed to get IU into the end zone more often, given IU's red zone struggles last year; he needed to modestly improve on his 62 percent completion percentage; and he needed to reduce his number of interceptions (he threw 15 last season). To date, Chappell has done everything that could be expected of him in all three categories. A month from now, IU will have five more games under its belt (Akron, Michigan, at Ohio State, Arkansas State, and at Illinois). At that point we will know more about this team and about Chappell. At this point, however, it looks like the consistent upward trend that has characterized Chappell's career is continuing.