This was not a solid week for the Big 10, touted as part of the Super Conferences. A loss to an ACC, a Big 12, and a PAC 12 is a really bad look. A loss to a G5 school is so glaring that a win over an SEC blue blood is almost over looked.
14. Nebraska (Last week: 14 no change)
Sports enthusiasts know that most teams do better after a coaching change. While I was shocked that the Huskers were willing to pay an extra $7.5 million to part with Frost early, history would have us expect a better showing than giving up over 300 yards of rushing. How bad would Nebraska have been whupped if there wasn’t a coaching change?
13. Northwestern (Last week: 13 no change)
At least we aren’t Nebraska. Yeah, NW doesn’t have the drama of the Cornhuskers, but they did just lose to an 0-2 S. Illinois team at home. Home losses are tough; home losses to a winless G5 team are embarrassing. I wish there were more teams in the Big 10 so I could put both Nebraska and Northwestern lower. Can Northwestern right the ship next week against Miami of Ohio? A loss should require NW to go on P5 probation for the next five years.
12. Illinois (Last week: 11 -1)
Illinois had a bye week. This was best case scenario as the Illini have been awful this year. They got to sit back and watch the league implode. No fears, they should be back to futility next week as they play an undefeated G5 team.
11. Purdue (Last week: 7 -4)
Maybe Syracuse is legit. Maybe in seven weeks this loss will be a “good loss”. Maybe in seven weeks, Purdue won’t have a losing record. Aidan O’Connell was solid with over 400 yards passing, well minus the Pick 6 that was a huge part of losing the game. This was a game that Purdue should have won. Then again maybe not, the Boilermakers couldn’t run the ball for anything. Florida Atlantic comes to town next week, in a make or break game.
10. Iowa (Last week: 12 +2)
Hawkeye fans should not feel good about jumping up two spots. Iowa is still playing regrettable football; the rest of the Big 10 is just playing awful too. Calling this a breakout offensive game is a little farfetched. Yes, Iowa scored 27 points, but most Big 10 teams are scoring 40+ against Nevada type opponents. Spencer Petras was blah at best. This was a really bad offense meeting a team that might give up 20 points to a high school team. The Rutgers-Iowa contest next week should be must see TV, by this I mean must see for insomniacs.
9. Rutgers ( Last week: 9 no change)
Yes, I know they struggled to beat a bad Temple team, but the Scarlet Knights are 3-0. The offense was putrid, but the defense scored. Okay fine, I’d love to drop them down, but who goes ahead of them? This was an awful performance in a week of awful performances. Still, three and oh means something. The Rutgers-Iowa contest next week should be must see TV, by this I mean must see for insomniacs.
8. Michigan State (Last week: 4 -4)
In fairness, yes it was a P5 opponent; yes, it was on the road. Who cares? You just got blitzed by a PAC 12 team; you were down 29-8 at half. For the love of good football, your running backs have to be better than 31 yards of rushing. Your defense gave up over 500 yards of offense, and you got bullied by Washington’s D-line. Michigan State, the potential MAC champions, weren’t ready for this step up in competition. Next week’s tilt against Minnesota is a must win.
7. Indiana (Last week: 11 +4)
Hey, you can’t complain with a 3-0 start to the season. Any other year, the Hoosiers would be lower in the standings, but the league is just struggling. Victories over a really bad Illinois and Idaho don’t inspire faith; still, a win against Western Kentucky isn’t anything to sneeze at. I just wish Indiana could play defense- gave up over 500 yards. This is a team that is begging to make a drop in the rankings. Happiness could come to a screeching halt as Indiana takes on Cincinnati next week; of course, a win next week would shoot them into the Top 25.
6. Wisconsin (Last week: 8 +2)
This is the kind of statement win you want to see. The Badgers put up almost 600 yards of offense in a balanced fashion. The defense was stout and only gave up a garbage time touchdown. New Mexico St is abysmal, but Wisconsin did what it needed to do- score a ton of points. It was a little slow start, but this is a team that should jump up as the season goes on. Next week will be a huge game as Wisconsin and Ohio State duke it out; this is the premier Big 10 game on a day where there are multiple big games.
5. Maryland (Last week: 6 +1)
It was a close game, but Roman Hemby carried the Terrapins to victory. Well, Hemby was helped by SMU giving up the ball five times. Maryland might be undefeated, but they will have to play much better defense next week. Still, they sport a balanced offense that has a little bit of pop. Next week should be the true litmus test, as they play a highly ranked Michigan team.
4. Penn State (Last week: 5 +1)
Best win of the week for the Big 10. Penn State absolutely took an undefeated SEC team and ruined their season. This was a trip to the woodshed after halftime. Auburn managed to put up some decent stats, but turnovers plagued them. This game could have gone either way, but the Nittany Lions big boy’d Auburn’s defense to a total of 245 yards rushing. Next week should be a cake walk as Central Michigan comes to town.
3. Minnesota (Last week: 3 no change)
The Golden Gophers have thumped every team, but they haven’t played a real team. The schedule would probably be the softest in the Big 10 if it wasn’t for Michigan. Still, Minnesota is dominating the team in front of them on both sides of the ball. It is also a good look in beating a PAC 12 school, especially when posting over 300 yards of rushing. The Gophers have their first real competition in Michigan State next week.
2. Michigan (Last week: 2 no change)
Yay, we beat UConn, Hawaii, and Colorado State, combined two wins between the three. The offense put up a lot of points, but the O-line is banged up. JJ McCarthy looked human on a couple of drives; Cade McNamara is out injured. Maryland is a big test for a team that has had serious QB drama and isn’t getting explosive runs like last year. Plus, when was the last time the defense has gotten a sack? The Wolverines only gave up 24 yards in the air, so maybe they are playing a lot of vanilla four man rushes to hide their real schemes. Next week has the feel of a trap game as the Michigan hasn’t been tested and Maryland can provide fireworks on offense.
1. Ohio State (Last week: 1 no change)
The Buckeyes put up almost 800 yards of offense-that’s flat video game stats. Sure it was a MAC team, but six passing touchdowns and five running is crazy balanced and explosive. I am still worried about a defense that gave up 14 points with the starting defense. Still, this offense could take them to the CFP even if you put out 11 pilons on defense. Next week will be a huge game as Wisconsin and Ohio State duke it out; this is the premier Big 10 game on a day where there are multiple big games.