Now that every team in the Big Ten has had the chance to play at least once, we can finally get the ball rolling with the 2022 Big Ten Power Rankings. Week 1 did leave some shake ups to the rankings, but the top two stood strong. With a lot of promising and peculiar performances, the Big Ten did win all 10 non-conference games over the weekend.
Here are the updated rankings after Week 1.
14. Illinois (Last week: 10)
The Fighting Illini did come away with a shutout win in Week 0, but then came back a week later and lost to Indiana. The same Indiana that didn’t win a single game in conference last year. To add salt to the wound, Illinois outgained Indiana in total offense 451-362, while holding the Hoosiers to 32 yards rushing. Missed opportunities and mistakes landed the Illini at the bottom of the Big Ten.
Next up: Virginia
13. Indiana (Last week: 14)
Already off to a better conference record this year, the Hoosiers got the win against Illinois. While it wasn’t much to write home about, Indiana did come from behind to claim the win with a touchdown in the fourth quarter. With that level of resiliency, the Hoosiers got to move up a spot.
Next up: Idaho
12. Nebraska (Last week: 13)
While the Cornhuskers were able to bounce back from their loss against Northwestern in Week 0 with a win last weekend, it wasn’t a flawless performance by any means against North Dakota. They may have defeated them by three scores, but let’s not ignore that it was tied 7-7 at half and UND was able to shut out the Cornhuskers in the second quarter.
Next up: Georgia Southern
11. Northwestern (Last week: 12)
Northwestern was on a bye this past week, but a win from Week 0 against a pretty sad Nebraska team was enough to elevate them because the musical chairs occurring between Illinois, Indiana and Nebraska couldn’t move any of those teams above it. Obviously since the Wildcats did not play, there’s more to be seen, but they can very much rotate around the same spaces as their basement dweller counterparts.
Next up: Duke
10. Iowa (Last week: 5)
Not often does a team score seven and it’s not a result of a touchdown. It’s probably even rarer for a defense to outscore its offense. In a hilariously stereotypical Big Ten game, the Hawkeyes got the win against South Dakota State by a score of 7-3. Without a pulse from the offense, it was a brutal three and a half hours for Hawkeye fans.
Next up: Iowa State
9. Rutgers (Last week: 11)
A resilient performance came from the Scarlet Knights in their comeback win in Week 1. Rutgers trailed for the majority of this game before they scored the go-ahead touchdown late in the fourth. They beat Boston College, a team that was bowl eligible a year ago, with a solid ground attack. However, the Scarlet Knights struggled in their passing game, which they’ll have to sort out if they want to remain competitive.
Next up: Wagner
8. Maryland (Last week: 9)
Though there were definitely some inconsistencies in play offensively, the Terrapins beat the Buffalo Bulls by three scores in their home opener. Maryland only allowed one touchdown the whole game and had an impressive showing from their offensive line and backfield. While there was a wider point differential in this game compared to the Penn State-Purdue game, the Terps did play a team that didn’t make a bowl game a year ago.
Next up: Charlotte
7. Purdue (Last week: 7)
Purdue easily could’ve won its first game, but it couldn’t stop a last ditch effort from Penn State late in the fourth quarter. Even after going down 11 at half, the Boilermakers didn’t lose their cool and made necessary adjustments at half. However, it still wasn’t enough to keep the Nittany Lions from taking back the lead with a late touchdown drive. Regardless, there’s a lot of potential for Purdue to reach bowl eligibility again.
Next up: Indiana State
6. Penn State (Last week: 8)
Squeaking one out against Purdue is hardly a good look, but it’s enough to move them a little bit. The Nittany Lions showed some poise when the Boilermakers threatened to win after their momentum shift late in the fourth after a pick six. We’ll know more later in the season, but right now their close win against Purdue reflects more positively on the Boilermakers than it does on them.
Next up: Ohio
5. Minnesota (Last week: 6)
Minnesota was the second Big Ten team to shut out an opponent in Week 1, with Wisconsin being the other. Minnesota’s Week 1 opponent, New Mexico State, won two games a season ago, so while getting the shutout win was impressive, it was very much to be expected.
Next up: Western Illinois
4. Michigan State (Last week: 3)
After a lackluster showing in their game against Western Michigan, the Spartans still managed to win with a lopsided score. At points, their play on both sides of the ball left a lot to be desired, as reflected by Western Michigan’s ability to pull within one touchdown late in the game. Though they finished out the game strong, they didn’t play as complete a game as the three teams above them.
Next up: Akron
3. Wisconsin (Last week: 4)
Finding a way to brush off an upsetting end to their regular season last year, the Badgers got the job done against Illinois State with a 38-0 blow out. An impressive win for sure, but it doesn’t surpass Michigan’s 51-7 score against a similarly skilled opponent.
Next up: Washington State
2. Michigan (Last week: 2)
Michigan looked like it did a year ago, with little noticeable decline in play despite some changes this offseason. The defense stole the show with seven sacks in the game, and the offense showed similar balance and prowess. The Wolverines don’t play a team with much of a pulse until conference play, so don’t expect them to jump to No. 1 any time soon.
Next up: Hawaii
1. Ohio State (Last week: 1)
Arguments could be made the Buckeyes did not play up to the level that they should have, but at the end of the day they got a win over a ranked Notre Dame. They played the toughest matchup of any Big Ten team this week and despite their performance, it was only their first game. Unfortunately, they will likely return to their usual steamrolling, unless some fluke game arises.
Next up: Arkansas State.