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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 1

The Big Ten kicks off the 2023-24 football season this weekend. Here’s the power rankings ahead of the action.

NCAA Football: Big Ten Championship-Purdue vs Michigan Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

College football returns to the Big Ten this week, with games as early as Thursday all the way through Sunday. That means the Big Ten Power Rankings have officially returned!

Perhaps a first and a last all in one, this week’s ranking comes at the convergence of Week 1 and the beginning of the final season with 14 members in the Big Ten.

14. Northwestern Wildcats (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Fraught with being bottom of the barrel last year and the exit of Pat Fitzgerald for less than ideal reasons, Northwestern won’t clamber out from the Big Ten’s basement. The Wildcats concluded 2022 on an 11-game losing streak and little in the offseason pointed that this year would be different.

Up first: Rutgers

13. Indiana Hoosiers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

When the going gets tough, the tough rolls for the Hoosiers. Little shines with hope and dismal seasons back to back leaves Indiana in deep. They can take solace it could be worse.

Up first: Ohio State

12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Lackluster all around and searching for consistency in production, the Scarlet Knights hope their moves this offseason move them in the right direction. While that might take time to implement, they’ll need to get something going if they want to rise out of the Big Ten’s basement.

Up first: Northwestern

11. Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

After 2022, Nebraska can take comfort in having a new head coach. How much that will do to cure this upcoming season is left to be determined, and by looking at how the rest of the Big Ten is shaping up, the Cornhuskers will continue to find themselves in familiar territory.

Up first: Minnesota

10. Michigan State Spartans (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Transfers out and little flare in, the Spartans have a tough road ahead. Unless they know something the rest don’t, things won’t be on the come up for Michigan State this season.

Up first: Central Michigan

9. Purdue Boilermakers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

A full charge to the Big Ten Championship backed by the West being entirely up for grabs, Purdue will be among the scramble once more, though the chances might not be as favorable. Shifts in leadership could spell trouble, but unpredictability fits its style.

Up first: Fresno State

8. Illinois Fighting Illini (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

The Fighting Illini won eight games last season, but major shifts in the top of the West could rain on the parade. Illinois brings some experience to the table, but with losses in talent, it might be a tough climb for the Illini.

Up first: Toledo

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

The Golden Gophers ended with nine wins in 2022, but also fumbled away their shot at an Indy appearance. Minnesota should continue along the same trajectory, with experience making its return and familiarity leading the helm.

Up first: Nebraska

6. Maryland Terrapins (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

The slow but steady growth seen by the Terrapins the last few years is still that. Combine that with their starting quarterback returning, and Maryland could very well be in the upper half of the Big Ten.

Up first: Towson

5. Wisconsin Badgers (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

The most promising and intriguing for the 2023 season is the Wisconsin Badgers. With Luke Fickell at head coach, the Badgers head in a new direction, which should spell out success for them. They can rewrite the narrative all while taking the Big Ten West.

Up first: Buffalo

4. Iowa Hawkeyes (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Either revitalized by an addition at quarterback or finishing tied-second in the West after all the jokes, the Hawkeyes could be a top-five team in the Big Ten. Maybe an offense can roar to life in 2023, but with minimal coaching changes, that could be a dream.

Up first: Utah State

3. Penn State Nittany Lions (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Rising to the strengths with their Big Ten East counterparts, Penn State holds promise. Will it be enough to over step Michigan or Ohio State this year is a question that lingers on a lot of minds. While promise holds truths, the Nittany Lions have some ground to cover and a lot to prove.

Up first: West Virginia

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

Despite being blocked from the Big Ten Championship for the second year in a row, the Buckeyes’ abilities to lock and reload has been a key trait for a decade at this point. That won’t end anytime soon, but now with parity in the East, the Buckeyes won’t take kindly to being second, even though it feels right.

Up first: Indiana

1. Michigan Wolverines (0-0, 0-0 Big Ten)

The Big Ten’s winner two years in a row has all the makings to be the top team in 2023. With a bulk of the team making its return, in addition to some key transfers, the Wolverines are poised to make their campaign to Indianapolis once more.

Up first: East Carolina