We’re now one week into the season and while many questions remain, we finally had some game action to take into consideration when ranking the teams in the Big Ten. Here’s our second edition of Big Ten Power Rankings:
14. Rutgers 1-0 (Last Week: 14)
There was a moment where it seemed Rutgers was in trouble against UMass, but the Scarlet Knights were able to hang on for the win. We’ll set the over/under on remaining wins for this team at 1.5.
13. Illinois 1-0 (Last Week: 13)
Brandon Peters was fantastic in his first game as Illinois’ starting quarterback, throwing for three touchdowns in a win over Akron. It’s a good sign for a program that has been dismal in recent years and the next two games should provide an opportunity to easily be 3-0.
12. Purdue 0-1 (Last Week: 10)
This is one of those moments where I get to say I told you so. Purdue isn’t going to be as good as it was last season and this weekend’s meltdown at Nevada is example No. 1. Rondale Moore is absurdly exciting to watch, but this is a team that will be scratching and clawing for bowl eligibility.
11. Maryland 1-0 (Last Week: 12)
Maryland beat the crap out of Howard, 79-0. There’s a wide range of outcomes for this team, which is led by new quarterback Josh Jackson (who is from Michigan and transferred from Virginia Tech). Things get a whole lot tougher this week with a game against Syracuse.
10. Minnesota 1-0 (Last Week: 8)
Another team with a slow opening game was Minnesota, which was lucky to come away with a win over South Dakota State. The Gophers have a cake-walk schedule, but can’t get cutting games like this so close.
9. Nebraska 1-0 (Last Week: 11)
Nebraska looked like a team that isn’t quite worthy of it’s top 25 ranking. It was too close for comfort against South Alabama, which was only down seven at the start of the fourth quarter. The upside is high, but I still see no reason to move the Cornhuskers higher on this list.
8. Indiana 1-0 (Last Week: 9)
It wasn’t a great performance against Ball State, but it was solid enough to keep the Hoosiers ahead of the other Big Ten teams in this tier. The offense looks a million times better than last year, as redshirt freshman quarterback Michael Penix threw for 326 yards and a touchdown and added 67 yards rushing.
7. Northwestern 0-1 (Last Week: 4)
I hate to drop Northwestern like this, especially after going on the road for such a strong opening game, but the strength of teams like Iowa, Wisconsin and MSU makes me feel like I have to move them down. I still believe in this team, but for now I’ll slot the Wildcats behind the other division contenders.
6. Michigan State 1-0 (Last Week: 5)
The Spartans defense is outstanding and may be both the best in the conference and one of the top five units in the country. The offense on the other hand, looks just about as miserable as last season’s.
5. Iowa 1-0 (Last Week: 7)
Iowa picked up a solid opening win against Miami (OH). Nate Stanley threw for three touchdowns and running back Mekhi Sargent was impressive in both the running and receiving game. I have more trust in Iowa than MSU right now, which is why I had the Hawkeyes jump the Spartans.
4. Wisconsin 1-0 (Last Week: 6)
The Badgers relied on star running back Jonathan Taylor like they always do, and Taylor produced, just he always does. Factor in that Wisconsin’s new quarterback Jack Coan looked solid and that the Badgers went on the road and beat a quality opponent, it’s more than enough to move Wisconsin up a couple spots in the rankings.
3. Penn State 1-0 (Last Week: 3)
Penn State absolutely clobbered Idaho, 79-7, which is always nice to see in week one against bad teams. The schedule sets up for a nice 5-0 start before a showdown with Iowa.
2. Michigan 1-0 (Last Week: 2)
Michigan had a week one performance that probably should’ve been expected. It was sloppy, but you could see the offense working through things in a new system. The mistakes Michigan made were fixable and we should see it continue to get better throughout the season. Zach Charbonnet looks like he could become a star, which is another great sign for the Wolverines.
1. Ohio State 1-0 (Last Week: 1)
Justin Fields is for real. In his first game with the Buckeyes, he immediately made an impact, throwing for four touchdowns and running for one more. Most, if not all, concerns anyone had about this offense are probably gone. The Buckeyes are still going to be a force.