This was the week that was supposed to tell us about the Big 10, and it definitely gave a lot of clarity. Michigan and Maryland kicked off the party, but MSU-Minnesota and Wisconsin-OSU answered a lot of questions. Still, a lot of the Big 10 looked awful today. Making this week’s power rankings is nauseating as putting teams in the top half that look this incompetent just isn’t right.
14. Northwestern: Can we trade NW for a real team? The loss to a MAC team really, really hurts. Honestly, is there a reason to play the rest of the season? Next game: Who cares?
13. Nebraska: Hey at least you didn’t lose this week. The bye week comes at a great time. The Corn Huskers are reeling after a coaching change and a beat down to Oklahoma. Indiana comes to town next, and this could be one of the few chances to snag a victory.
12. Purdue: There is too much potential on this team to be this bad. Struggling to win against Florida Atlantic that ranks 93rd in defense doesn’t show much hope for the Boilermaker offense, which is their strength. Next game: Minnesota (this could likely be a butt whuppin’)
11. Illinois: The Illini jump ahead of Purdue not because of what they did, which was an easy win against an FCS team, but because the three other teams were awful. Still, you will take a shutout any day of the week on any team, let alone an undefeated team. Next Game: Wisconsin (this is a must win for both teams for credibility and relevance).
10. Rutgers: In a battle of last week’s 9-10 teams, the Scarlet Knights were thumped soundly. Of course, they played Iowa, so the Rutgers defense did a fine job. It was their offense giving up more points than they scored that was the difference. This was a needed win as Ohio State is next, and this opponent could drop 70 on Rutgers if they wanted.
9. Michigan State: While I think that it is a little early to give up on Sparty, back to back losses isn’t a good look, especially when your only wins are to MAC teams. Payton Thorne was awful, as was the entire offense. I think that we are seeing the Minnesota might just be legit, so this is a loss that won’t look bad. Still, did you see Mel Tucker sweating on the sidelines? He was either working hard or worrying that the booster paying his near $100 million salary will want a refund. Maryland is next up for Sparty, and the Terrapins played well enough to beat the 4th team in the country.
8. Indiana: I think we should all realize that Cincy is a legit team. They were a quarter away from coming back to beat a Top 25 Arkansas team. Still, the Hoosiers got owned as they lost their perfect record. In order to fix things, Baselak is going to have to cut down on the interceptions, and the run game is going to have to find some life. Good news as Nebraska is next up, so the Hoosiers should get back to winning.
7. Wisconsin: The Badgers will figure it out and still win at least eight games this year. I’ll give credit in that they kept fighting and that Braylon Allen is a stud. Graham Mertz had one of the most regrettable starts of his career, and a team known for their defense didn’t bother lining up. Ohio State gutted that defense, but the Buckeyes do that to pretty much every Big 10 team. Next up: a very beatable Illinois team.
6. Iowa: This is where it hurts. Iowa jumps from 10th last week because so many teams got exposed. For the record, the offense is still being outscored by the defense. The defense keeps getting takeaways and converting. There might not be a better scoring defense in the country, but there also might not be a more inept offense in the country. Putting Iowa this high is like kissing your cousins good bye at a reunion- it has to be done but wow it’s awful. Next week will be an interesting matchup against Michigan. Can the Iowa defense turnover JJ McCarthy? Most likely. Will it be enough?
5. Maryland: Maryland should have won this game. Take away the early mistake on special teams, and the score flips for a touchdown Terrapin win. The coaching got a little wonky for Maryland as they went away from a run game that was gouging the highly touted Michigan defense. This was a moral victory that should have been a real victory; however, there will be some drama going forward. Tagovailoa went from taunting the Michigan student section to being benched for inconsistency. Billy Edwards came in relief and played better. Where does this go in the upcoming weeks? Who knows, but next week’s game against Michigan State might give us answers. Then again, the Spartan defense was so porous and banged up that Tagovailoa might be able to act like he’s never won before and get away with it.
4. Penn State: The Nittany Lions took some time to exert their superiority after a big win against Auburn, but they did right the ship. The QB controversy might be dying down as the backup, Allar, wasn’t impressive in mop up duty; then again, Clifford wasn’t precise either. It will require some attention going forward to see how Penn State’s defense does as it gave up a ton of yards to a MAC school. Nevermind, they have Northwestern next. They could suit up the cheerleaders and win this game.
3. Michigan: The Wolverines drop a spot because of Minnesota’s dominance and their poor performance. Maryland outplayed Michigan for most of the game. This is a game that is a loss if it wasn’t for the opening kickoff mistake and Blake Corum. Corum was amazing, and JJ McCarthy was problematic. Cade McNamara is still out, but I wonder if fans will be itching for his return when watching the game management by his replacement. Next week’s tilt against Iowa should tell us a lot about the Michigan offense. It won’t tell us much about the defense as Iowa doesn’t have an offense. McCarthy is going to have to improve a lot or Iowa can win without an offense.
2. Minnesota: Dominating. They took Michigan State to the woodshed and gave Sparty a monumental beat down. The run game was purely dominate, and the passing game was legit. The second team might have given up a score at the end, but this was a dominating defensive performance. Minnesota is the team beat in the West. Next up: Purdue is up next, so expect more Gopher dominance.
1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes went for the kill and then played with their food. This was a dominating performance. No one in the Big 10 is beating Ohio State when the offense is this good. The defense has the ability to be good enough to not sabotage things, like it was last year. You’re looking at the East champs. Next week: cake walk against Rutgers.