The second week of Big Ten football was deflating to more than just fans of the Michigan Wolverines as a handful of teams across the conference had a rough go of it this past weekend. A week after we thought we knew what the pecking order looked like in the conference, everything has been blown to smithereens once again.
With that in mind, here is our third edition of the MnB power rankings this year.
1. Ohio State (2-0, Last week: 1)
Ohio State went to Happy Valley and handled its business in a 38-25 win over Penn State on Saturday night. Justin Fields looks like he might be the Heisman frontrunner and there has been zero indication through two weeks that there might be a team in this conference that can slow down the Buckeyes.
2. Indiana (2-0, Last week: 3)
The Hoosiers followed up an emotional win over Penn State with a business trip to Rutgers and handled the Scarlet Knights by a score of 38-21. Is this the second-best team in the conference right now? Time will tell, but they are riding a hot streak into a home game against a Michigan program that might be teetering a bit.
3. Northwestern (2-0, Last week: 6)
The Wildcats already have more wins this year in the Big Ten than they did all of last year and look like legitimate contenders in the Big Ten West after a 21-20 win at Iowa on Saturday. They charged back from down 17-0 in the first quarter and never yielded. That a sign of a mentally tough and well-coached team.
4. Wisconsin (1-0, Last week: 4)
Wisconsin did not play this week, so it feels unfair to move them. Though once games resume, it stands to reason they will fall down this list given that it seems much of the roster will miss a good portion of the season.
5. Purdue (2-0, Last week: 8)
No Rondale Moore, no problem for the Boilermakers. The 31-24 win over Illinois was probably closer than it needed to be, but nobody should apologize for victories during this season. They are set up to make some noise in the West whenever they get their star wide receiver back.
6. Penn State (0-2, Last week: 5)
An 0-2 team this high in the rankings? Yep. These are not conference standings, but a ranking of who are the best teams in the league. Penn State was mostly dominant at Indiana before choking and then followed it up in playing a somewhat competitive game against the Ohio State Death Watch. Things could very well open up for them moving forward with the two current best teams in the conference out of the way and off the schedule.
7. Michigan State (1-1, Last week: 13)
Speaking of not apologizing for victories, what a rise it was this week for the Spartans. The win over Michigan after losing to Rutgers has to be one of the best one-week turnarounds in program history. This is a well-coached team that plays with great effort and that might give them a better chance moving forward, even if the does not result in a ton more victories this season.
8. Michigan (1-1, Last week: 2)
Here we have our largest tumble of the week, and rightfully so. We have talked about the game ad nauseam at this point and there will surely be people who say that they are ranked too high. The fact of the matter is that being this low at any point in a season under this coaching staff in its sixth year is unacceptable. We will see if they are able to suck us back in at Indiana.
9. Maryland (1-1, Last week: 14)
Maryland both proved it certainly was not the worst team in the conference this week and also gave Michigan fans a pre-MSU game scare that perhaps their win over Minnesota was not as impressive as we thought it was. Taulia Tagavailoa and the Maryland offense flashed the potential that many had hoped to see in the first week. We’ll see how they fare the rest of the way, but there might be more scares in the making for teams on their schedule.
10. Iowa (0-2, Last week: 8)
Iowa was as well-positioned as anyone to come out of the gates and establish themselves as a contender out west, but has now dropped games to both Purdue and Northwestern. Chaos could get them back into the race, but I just do not see it with this group this year.
11. Nebraska (0-1, Last week: 10)
Because Wisconsin did not play, Nebraska remains unaltered in the grand scheme of things this week, anyways. However, I decided to dock them a spot because of how irritating they remain on a weekly basis.
12. Minnesota (0-2, Last week: 7)
Minnesota is clearly not as good as last year, but I did not expect them to be this bad. Blowing a 17-point lead to Maryland is a bad, bad look. This appears to be a hangover year for Fleck and the Gophers. Thanks for the false hope, you guys!
13. Rutgers (1-1, Last week: 11)
Rutgers will likely end this season at or near the bottom of the Big Ten, but they are already far more competitive and watchable than previous years. There might be something to Greg Schiano having the juice it takes to make them somewhat competent again.
14. Illinois (0-2, Last week: 12)
Illinois is another Big Ten program going through some coronavirus problems and now Brandon Peters and other players will be out for the 21 days it takes to get back on the field. Through two weeks, I cannot name a worse team in the conference.