After polling SBNation writers I have counted the votes and determined the one, the only, the weekly Big Ten Coaches Power Rankings.
1. Urban Meyer (Avg. Score: 1.71 LW: #1, 1.33)
Team Record (Big Ten): 33-3 (22-1)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 9-1 (6-0)
Last week: Away vs #25 Minnesota (W 31-24)
This week: Home vs Indiana
Well I used my exam and Michigan's bye week to give the Gopher's time to knock Urban Meyer from the top spot after he went all Xerxes on the Spartans in East Lansing a few weeks ago. Sadly I can deny it no longer, Urban Meyer is the undisputed best coach in the Big Ten and is the only hope for a Big Ten team in the College Football Playoff. Thank goodness basketball season is here.
I'll admit I don't always understand what Andy Ketterson from Corn Nation is saying about Urban Meyer but I always love it:
From last week:
Urban's #3 and his Buckeyes definitely took it to Sparty, but I refuse to put coaches with the ethics of serial killers in the top 2. I'm pretty sure beagles that walk by him are possessed by an uncontrollable urge to piss on his socks. Either that or their ears start to burn for no reason.
From this week:
Urban is #6 because this week's standards require a minimum of one redeeming human quality for inclusion in the top 5
2. Mark Dantonio (Avg. Score: 2.57 LW: #2, 3.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 72-31 (44-20)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 8-2 (5-2)
Last week: Away vs Maryland (W 37-15)
This week: Home vs Rutgers
Mark Dantonio's reign as best coach in the Big Ten ends where it begins: a hard fought match against the Buckeyes. The Spartans had everything going for them, night game, home game, backup QB for OSU, and yet their greatest strength failed them. Ohio State scored on almost all of their possessions, leaving the Spartans with a 1-2 record against ranked opponents and little chance to play for a title of any kind.
Andy Ketterson puts it eloquently:
Mark Dantonio takes a dive, but that's what happens when you're the conference's great green hope, then massively flunk your two big tests and almost gag a 3rd way at home.
Dantonio is going to remain #2 simply for making MSU a power. Yeah, it doesn't mean much until this conference decides football is more important than core studies and field hockey, but still.
3. Gary Andersen (Avg. Score: 2.71 LW #T4, 4.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 17-6 (11-3)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 8-2 (5-1)
Last week: Home vs #16 Nebraska (W 59-24)
This week: Away vs Iowa
Is there anything more constant than Wisconsin athletics? Wisconsin football and basketball have been essentially the same teams for the past thousand years or so, with neither ever slipping from the top 4 of the Big Ten. Just as the leaves turn brown in the fall, so too does Wisconsin find a running back to break another NCAA record. The key for Andersen now is to not look ahead after pounding Nebraska, as both Iowa and Minnesota will pose threats to Wisco and could claim the west if Wisconsin takes their foot off the pedal.
Anderson makes the leap simply for being one of the rare coaches who can say, "They can't stop that guy? $%#@ it. Keep running him." Instead of insisting on being diverse in the face of success.
- Andy Ketterson, Corn Nation
4. Jerry Kill (Avg. Score: 3.71 LW #3, 3.33)
Team Record (Big Ten): 24-24 (12-18)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 7-3 (4-2)
Last week: Home vs #8 Ohio State (L 31-24)
This week: Away vs #23 Nebraska
Well Minnesota looked very good the last two weeks in a dominating win over Iowa and a competitive game with Ohio State. Now the real test for the Gophers is to pounce on a reeling Nebraska, which given the talent of David Cobb should be very doable. A win in Lincoln would give the Gophers 8 wins, tiebreakers over Iowa and Nebraska and a win-and-you're-in game in Madison to close the season. The West should be very interesting over the last two weeks.
Side note: Minnesota punted on 4th and 3 and 4th and 4 from midfield at Home against OSU en route to falling behind 14-0. Ohio State is the best team in the conference. You can't dance with the champ, you have to punch him in the face!
Andy had some high praise for Jerry Kill following his last two weeks:
I've got Jerry Kill #1 because a) Minnesota is ranked, so Holy (bleep) that's coaching, b) they're about to lose 3 in a row so we have to enjoy it while we can, c) they're a hockey school which earns bonus points in my world and d) it keeps the anti-Christ out of the top spot. Congrats Jerry!
5. Kirk Ferentz (Avg. Score: 6.00 LW #T7, 8.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 114-82 (68-58)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 7-3 (4-2)
Last week: Away vs Illinois (W 30-14)
This week: Home vs #16 Wisconsin
Well Iowa followed a stinker in Minnesota with a dominant performance in Champaign and now will have a chance to make the West really interesting. A win over Wisconsin leaves Wisco, Nebraska/Minnesota winner and Iowa in a tie for first place in the West with all four playing each other down the stretch. The tiebreaker scenarios alone should make any football fan excited. This is gonna be fun.
Kirk Ferentz showed emotion during his postgame press conference. I ranked him higher than I would have otherwise out of surprise.
Chris H. (GoAUpher), TheDailyGopher
6. Bo Pelini (Avg. Score: 6.14 LW #T4, 4.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 66-26 (21-10)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 8-2 (4-2)
Last week: Away vs #20 Wisconsin (L 59-24)
This week: Home vs #25 Minnesota
From two weeks ago:
Now some food for thought, which team from the Big Ten would have the best chance to lose 2 games and still make the playoff? I'd say it has to be Nebraska. Think about how it plays out, but imagine a two-loss Nebraska team upsetting Michigan State in Indianapolis. Now that first lost is essentially erased and Nebraska could get in over a two-loss SEC team that stayed home.
Or Nebraska could have the single worst rushing defense of any team ever. Now 0-2 against ranked teams this season, Pelini and Nebraska looked outmatched against the Badgers as they watched their playoff hopes get trampled under the 6 metric tons of cheese that is the Wisconsin Offensive line. They can still reach Indy but they'll need help and will need to take care of Minnesota at home before heading to a Friday game in Iowa.
Bo Pelini takes a big drop on my ballot this week, solely because I don't like Wisconsin and coaching a team that gives them record breaking joy is something I frown upon.
After another big stage performance by Bo, Beck and Papuchis that can best be described as "Lt. Gorman in Aliens when his squad 1st comes under attack", it's time to plant him and leave him here. The B1G is crap enough that he can run most of its teams like Kramer dominated the preteen dojo in Seinfeld, but there will always be a couple of Elaine's to kick his butt in embarrassing fashion. 9-4 again. Now I'm thinking of another Gordon run & and am too depressed to even make another Hoke joke.
7. Randy Edsall (Avg. Score: 7.29 LW #6, 6.17)
Team Record (Big Ten): 19-28 (3-3)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 6-4 (3-3)
Last week: Home vs #12 Michigan State (L 37-15)
This week: Away vs Michigan
Given how angry the Spartan D was after the Ohio State game, I think Edsall deserves some credit from scoring and leaving the field with some dignity. Now they travel to Ann Arbor where a frozen tundra and bowl hungry Wolverine team waits before wrapping up the season in the "New Comers Bowl" against Rutgers. Both winnable games. Both losable games. The difference between 6-6 and 8-4 will say a lot about Edsall and his Terrapins.
8. Pat Fitzgerald (Avg. Score: 7.86 LW #11, 11.17)
Team Record (Big Ten): 59-52 (29-41)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 4-6 (2-4)
Last week: Away vs #18 Notre Dame (W 43-40)
This week: Away vs Purdue
Well after the 4-Part Documentary on the Daily Routine of Snails that was the Michigan-Northwestern game, Fitz and crew followed up with a thrilling victory over a Top 25 Notre Dame team. Figure that out. Michigan scores 0 against Notre Dame. Michigan scores 10 against Northwestern. Northwestern scores 9 against Michigan. Northwestern scores 43 against Notre Dame. Man football is weird. Fitz now has a road trip to West Lafayette and a home date with Illinois lined up as he tries to ride the momentum to bowl eligibility. Did not see that coming a few weeks ago.
Chris H. (GoAUpher) from TheDailyGopher had an interesting point about Fitz's decisions against Michigan:
Fitz: You called a play that the opposition knew was coming. After they called timeout (after seeing the formation), you ran the same play anyway. That's just stupid.
Which is the same thing Brady Hoke did last season against Ohio State. Dear coaches: if you call timeout after lining up on the field CHANGE THE PLAY!!!!!!!!!
Then Juan Crespo from Hammer & Rails had some comments about the game against the Irish:
I don't know how to rank Northwestern and Fitz anymore. One week, they lose the M0-0N game, then they beat Notre Dame, then come apart against Iowa, then beat Wisconsin. I guess there is a reason why they're called the Cardiac Cats.
9. James Franklin (Avg. Score: 9.00 LW #9, 9.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 6-4 (2-4)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 6-4 (2-4)
Last week: Home vs Temple (W 30-13)
This week: Away vs Illinois
Penn State is Bowl Eligible now. Regardless of what it took to get here (like 4-0 followed by 0-4 followed by 2-0) James Franklin's first year is a success for simply bringing the postseason back to Happy Valley. Now Penn State can improve their postseason berth by taking care of business against the Illini and making some noise against the Spartans in Happy Valley.
10. Darrell Hazell (Avg. Score: 9.57 LW #T7, 8.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 4-18 (1-13)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 3-7 (1-5)
Last week: Bye Week
This week: Home vs Northwestern
Still no Boilermaker upset so frowny face. Positive signs of improvement so smiley face. No bowl game so frowny face. Getting root beer from XXX so smiley face. Hazell failed to get a key win against the Big Boys of the Big Ten but positive signs are there and he'll have a chance to get some momentum for next season at home against Northwestern and on the road against Indiana.
Hazell reached as high as #2 over the last few weeks in Andy's rankings:
Darrell Hazell is #2 because this is the coach's power poll, not the team's & the man can coach. Can he take them to the next level? Who knows? All I know is that teams playing Purdue these days wake up Sunday morning with some dings in their fenders.
11. Kyle Flood (Avg. Score: 10.00 LW #10, 9.50)
Team Record (Big Ten): 21-15 (2-4)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 6-4 (2-4)
Last week: Home vs Indiana (W 45-23)
This week: Away vs #11 Michigan State
From last week:
The good news is they get a bye week and a home date with Indiana. The bad news is they finish on the road against Sparty and Maryland.
Well more good news: Rutgers beat Indiana and Michigan State doesn't have a title on the line anymore. The bad news: Michigan State is still Michigan State. Still bowl eligibility is a good first step in a new conference and Rutgers, like Maryland, has a chance to improve their record before bowl time.
12. Kevin Wilson (Avg. Score: 12.00 LW #12, 12.17)
Team Record (Big Ten): 13-31 (5-23)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 3-5 (0-4)
Last week: Away vs Rutgers (L 45-23)
This week: Away vs #6 Ohio State
Indiana is decimated by injuries and probably will fail to win a Big Ten game this season. Yet Missouri is ranked again and in the drivers seat in the SEC East. Wilson has all the potential in the world, but will have to wait to next season to show if the win at Missouri was the exception or the rule.
13. Brady Hoke (Avg. Score: 12.86 LW #13, 12.33)
Team Record (Big Ten): 31-18 (18-12)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 5-5 (3-3)
Last week: Bye Week
This week: Home vs Maryland
A friend of mine asked if I thought the Michigan "turnaround" was due to Dave Brandon being fired. I argued that the "turnaround" was due to playing Northwestern and Indiana. Michigan has a genuine chance to finish with a winning or .500 record this year which would be a huge accomplishment given where they started, but I doubt even that will save Hoke's job.
On a personal note, for the love of God Hoke please beat Maryland. It's my last football game as a student!
With Muschamp getting canned at Florida is Brady Hoke next? Will his siren song be upsetting Ohio State in the 'shoe and being carried off the field on his team's shoulders?
Travis Miller, Hammer and Rails
I'm getting to the point when weekends just aren't as exciting when Brady Hoke does nothing stupid or inexplicable.
14. Tim Beckman (Avg. Score: 13.57 LW #14, 13.00)
Team Record (Big Ten): 10-24 (2-20)
2014 Record (Big Ten): 4-6 (1-5)
Last week: Home vs Iowa (L 30-14)
This week: Home vs Penn State
Tim Beckman, you will be missed. Seriously, I would much prefer to rank you than Narduzzi with Illinois in this poll.