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Big Ten Power Rankings heading into Week 1

Welcome to another season of the Big Ten Power Rankings!

Playoff Semifinal at the Capital One Orange Bowl - Georgia v Michigan Photo by Michael Reaves/Getty Images

Week 1 is finally here, and what better way to get ready then to look over our new Big Ten Power Rankings.

While preliminary and built on the combination of last year’s success, returners and other factors, there is a lot that still needs to be known about each of the Big Ten’s 14 teams. Of course, all the fun from Week 0 was included as well.

So without further ado, here are the Big Ten Power Rankings heading into Week 1.

14. Indiana

Record in 2021: 2-10, (0-9 Big Ten)

What a pendulum swing it was from being bowl eligible in 2020 to not winning a single conference game in 2021, Indiana’s only chance is to head into 2022 on an upswing. They were second-last year in points per game, but finished dead last in the Big Ten in yards per game. They start their season this Friday at home against Illinois.

13. Nebraska

Record in 2021: 3-9, (1-8), Week 0: 0-1, (0-1 Big Ten)

While Nebraska was close to wins in all nine losses in 2021, close isn’t good enough. Coupled with a disappointing showing in Week 0 against Northwestern, it may be another rough year for Scott Frost. They will look to bounce back on Saturday against North Dakota at home.

12. Northwestern

Record in 2021: 3-9, (1-8 Big Ten), Week 0: 1-0, (1-0 Big Ten)

Despite getting a win over in Dublin against Nebraska last weekend, Northwestern very well could have lost that game and made some critical mistakes. Yet, they took advantage of the even more critical mistakes from the other sideline to win the game. We’ll have to see more out of Pat Fitzgerald’s program to consider moving them up even more. Northwestern is idle this week.

11. Rutgers

Record in 2021: 5-8, (2-7 Big Ten)

Rutgers averaged barely 20 points a game in 2021, but they did find themselves in a bowl game this past season as a replacement for Texas A&M in the Gator Bowl. This was Rutgers’ first appearance in the postseason since 2014, when it joined the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights start the season on the road against Boston College this Saturday in a game in which they are a touchdown underdog.

10. Illinois

Record in 2021: 5-7, (4-5 Big Ten), Week 0: 1-0, (0-0 Big Ten)

The Fighting Illini were right with the Scarlet Knights with their season average of barely 20 points per game last year. The Illini return five of their offensive starters, including star running back Chase Brown, and six starters from their defense. They started off the season strong against Wyoming and will head to Bloomington for their first conference game of the year against Indiana.

9. Maryland

Record in 2021: 7-6, (3-6 Big Ten)

The Terrapins finally made it back to a bowl game last year, winning the Pinstripe Bowl quite handedly over Virginia Tech. Quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa is back and hoping for even more success in 2022. Maryland starts its season at home against Buffalo this weekend.

8. Penn State

Record in 2021: 7-6, (4-5 Big Ten)

In what was a more disappointing from a usual contender in the Big Ten East, Penn State will likely shake off last year and move through the Big Ten more substantially than its counterparts. For now, the Nittany Lions sit outside the top half of the Big Ten. They open the season on the road this Thursday against the next team on our list.

7. Purdue

Record in 2021: 9-4, (6-3 Big Ten)

Last year, the Boilermakers reached nine wins for the first time in 13 years after winning in the Music City Bowl in overtime against Tennessee. After an impressive season, we’ve got them in the middle of the pack to kick off the season. Let’s see how they fare against Penn State in two days.

6. Minnesota

Record in 2021: 9-4, (6-3 Big Ten)

Minnesota is another of those Big Ten teams that have potential coming off a decent season and a bowl victory. The Gophers return seven starters on defense and six of their starters on offense, including quarterback Tanner Morgan and running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who suffered a season-ending injury in Week 1 last season against Ohio State. They kick off their season Thursday night at home against New Mexico State.

5. Iowa

Record in 2021: 10-4, (7-2 Big Ten)

As the Big Ten West representative in the Big Ten Championship last season, Iowa has some promise to emerge atop the Big Ten West once more. The Hawkeyes return eight starters on defense and nine starters on offense. The Hawkeyes are always tough, so you can never count them out of the race for the Big Ten West. They host South Dakota State this Saturday afternoon.

4. Wisconsin

Record in 2021: 9-4, (6-3 Big Ten)

While the Badgers’ regular season didn’t end the way they wanted it to, they once again earned the confidence of the masses as the last team from the Big Ten to appear in the AP top-25 heading into Week 1. On offense, they only return five starters and the defense doesn’t fare better with only three returning players. Their success hinges on the next guys up. They start the season at home this Saturday night against Illinois State.

3. Michigan State

Record in 2021: 11-2, (7-2 Big Ten)

The Spartans come off an impressive 10-win regular season and a win in the Peach Bowl this past postseason. They return five starters on offense and nine on defense, while also raiding the transfer portal yet again for more help. Mel Tucker will have his team hungry for more in 2022. They host Western Michigan this Friday night.

2. Michigan

Record in 2021: 12-2, (8-1 Big Ten)

The defending Big Ten champions look to be right back where they were, with seven returning starters on offense and three on defense. The Wolverines have proven the next guy up works well for them, and those new to the starting role have a lot to live up to and they are ready for the challenge. Michigan hosts Colorado State at noon on Saturday.

1. Ohio State

Record in 2021: 11-2, (8-1 Big Ten)

What’s not particularly a surprise is Ohio State coming in first overall in this first rendition of power rankings. The Buckeyes have proven their constant contention, and their ability to reload won’t be stopping this season. Six of their starters on offense are back, as are seven of their defensive starters from last year. There are all the makings of repeating success and it looks like yet again Ohio State and Michigan will determine who comes out of the Big Ten East. The Buckeyes bring in No. 5 Notre Dame this Saturday evening in a Week 1 showdown.