All season, I’ll be ranking the teams in the Big Ten from one to Maryland. To see my predictions for how the season will play out, click here.
As always, if you think I’m right, wrong, or clinically insane, let me know in the comments.
Prepare to disagree…
- Ohio State. The Buckeyes can continue to muddle and struggle along for another month as they should be heavy favorites over Rutgers, Minnesota, and Illinois. But eventually, they’ll have to play championship level football.
- Michigan State. Yes, Sparty’s win was an absolute fluke, but a win is a win.
- Michigan. “Golly gee, what an unfortunate way to lose a game in the final seconds” – Mike Riley, probably. The Wolverines are the first of four teams taking this week off, which means a lot of time to potentially dwell on that epic loss.
- Iowa. The Hawkeyes continue to take care of business and get a week off to rest and prepare for a stretch run at an undefeated regular season.
- Wisconsin. There is a pretty steep drop off between # 4 and #5 in the league, and one could make an argument for a handful of teams in this spot. Wisconsin gets the nod for now, but I’m willing to drop them down if another team gets hot.
- Penn State. I’ll be honest, this is probably way too high for the Nitany Lions, but their lone conference loss is to the league’s best team. Nobody below them can make that claim.
- Illinois. Speaking of being ranked too high, here are the Fighting Illini. They were idle last week after beating Nebraska and narrowly lowing to Iowa. Are they a legitimate middle tier team? This week’s game against Wisconsin will go a long way to deciding that.
- Northwestern. After starting out at a blazing 5-0, the Wildcats are falling apart losing to Michigan and Iowa by a combined score of 78-10. Pat Fitzgerald’s team usually plays Nebraska tough, so they could get back on track with a win in Lincoln.
- Nebraska. It’s tough to overstate just how important the 48-25 win over Minnesota was for this team. Not only does it give them possession of the $5 Bits of Broken Chair trophy for the first time, it also takes a lot of heat off of Mike Riley and his team. Let’s see if they can continue their momentum against Northwestern.
- Minnesota. Good news: after getting thumped at home by Nebraska, the Gophers have a week off to get things back on track. Bad news: their next three games are Michigan, at Ohio State, and at Iowa. Yikes.
- Indiana. The bottom tier starts out with the confusing Hoosiers. They go into the Horseshoe and hold Ohio State to 34 points. Then two weeks later, they allow Rutgers to score 55. The Hoosiers have an upset opportunity if they can catch Sparty in a Wolverine hangover.
- Rutgers. I missed last week, so I did not get a chance to properly mock Rutgers for losing an upset chance against Michigan State by spiking the ball on fourth down. It’s a good thing they beat Indiana, as the Scarlet Knights may not win again for another month.
- Purdue. Losers of five straight, the Boilermakers limp into their bye week dangerously close to being the first conference team eliminated from a bowl game.
- Maryland. The Terrapins allowed 42 points to Idle last week.