Ranking Big Ten teams from worst to first. Considering current results as well as projections, winning percentage, strength of schedule remaining, etc.
After the Week 2 action, let’s take a look at the current Big Ten Pecking Order.
#14 Nebraska Cornhuskers (-2)
I’ll admit it one more time.
I thought that was the year Nebraska got back to level under Scott Frost. I was wrong.
I don’t care what game they won, Nebraska lost the season opener to Northwestern, a game they should have won. Now they’re losing a game to Georgia Southern, and all of the same issues that plagued that program under Frost still exist. The mismanagement of the game, the self-inflicted late errors and the tension throughout. I feel for Lincoln fans because Frost was supposed to be the answer and the program is now as low as it’s ever been.
#13 Northwest Wildcats (-3)
College football is constantly evolving, but some things never change. It’s really hard to win if you lose the turnover battle and you can’t stop the race. Enter Northwestern versus Duke.
Evan Hull is a beast and without a devastating goal-line fumble to end the game, it’s a very different paragraph. Pat Fitzgerald is a good coach, and this team will probably win a game or more than they should, but it’s never good when your team finds ways to lose games you should have won.
#12 Illinois Illinois (+2)
Illinois lost to Indiana but then won convincingly against a Virginia team that beat them by 28 last season. Chase Brown continue to impress and Tommy Devito was effective enough for the Illini to win. Their defense was impressive in this one, and maybe Bret Bielema got this team back on track. I don’t know what I think of Illinois.
#11 Indiana Hoosiers (+2)
Indiana was on a bad run in the first half against Idaho before a 23-point third quarter gave them room. In a tighter-than-necessary 4th quarter, the Hoosiers won, and Indiana is a talented team that just needs to come together.
#10 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (+1)
Rutgers with another great win to start the season. 4 touchdowns in the first quarter put the game aside before it really started. The big story for Greg Schiano’s Scarlet Knights is at quarterback. With Noah Vedral injured, Rutgers gave top 10 QB rookies Gavin Wimsatt his first career start. Wimsatt struggled at times, but Schiano turned him around and Evan Simon throughout the game.
I thought Rutgers was one year away at the start of the season, we’ll see how they handle the QB spot and how they play in conference games.
#9 Iowa Hawkeye (-2)
What can you say?
This Iowa offense is really bad. After failing to find the end zone and getting just 166 total yards against South Dakota State, they followed that up with a total of 141 yards against Iowa State. They had TWO 10+ yard plays against the Cyclones.
Iowa’s defense is really good but not good enough to carry this offense. I have to think a change is coming to the quarterback, but maybe that doesn’t matter. This offensive line is nothing like what Iowa has had in recent years.
#8 Maryland Terrapins (+1)
Maryland beat a bad team in Buffalo last week and they beat a bad team this week in Charlotte. I hate to stick to that theme, but I hesitate to get too excited about Maryland when they increased stats against weaker opponents last season but didn’t show up in big games.
It’s no secret the talent that QB Taulia Tagovailoa a, but inconsistent running play and a subpar secondary always make me doubt Terrapins until they prove me wrong.
#7 Wisconsin Badgers (-4)
I looked at the stats and I have no idea how the Badgers lost to Washington State. Wisconsin had 150 more yards than the Wazzu, 125 rushing. 7/15 on third down and 17 more minutes of possession time. It’s a non-conference loss, so Wisconsin’s path to the B1G championship is still wide open in the West, but this program has been trending in the wrong direction lately.
#6 Purdue Boilermakers (+2)
I came into the season with the Boilermakers and thought Purdue had done enough to beat Penn State. They bounced back in spectacular fashion with a 56-0 win over Indiana State.
Purdue has a passing game with Aidan O’Connell and his new favorite target, “Chuck Sizzle”, charlie jones. The running game also looked good, albeit against a weaker opponent. We’ll see if Jeff Brohm can roll Purdue into what looks like a very winnable Big Ten West.
#5 Penn State Nittany Lions (+1)
Penn State’s biggest opportunity last season was in the running game, in their hard-fought victory over Purdue, getting the ball moving on the ground was always a struggle. Against Ohio, the Nittany Lions got a breakout game of Nicholas Singleton with 179 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 10 carries against the Bobcats.
Penn State has no shortage of talented rookies in the backfield, but none have been good enough since Saquon Barkley. We’ll have to see him against better competition, but Penn State is looking to get out of midfield.
#4 Michigan State Spartans (+1)
Michigan State overcame a tough start last week against Western Michigan to win by a wide margin, but victory was never in doubt with a blowout against Akron. Yet the score does not match the reality in East Lansing. Payton Thorne wasn’t great, as he was ineffective with the ball and threw two interceptions. He is his toughest critic, and he will bounce back.
The rush combo of Jalen Berger and Jarek Broussard however, had another great week for the Spartans. Launch LB Jacoby Windmon and coach Mel Tucker may have struck gold in the transfer portal yet again. 2-0 Michigan State heads to Washington for a night game against the Huskies, a big win there and the Spartans could be for real again.
#3 Minnesota Golden Gophers (+1)
It can be hard to draw conclusions from Minnesota’s shutout win over New Mexico State and a blowout win over Western Illinois, but when you’re up against weaker opponents, the best thing to do is destroy them, and that’s what the Gophers did.
T1. Ohio State Buckeyes (-)
Big plays all day for the Buckeyes against Arkansas State. C.J. Stroud had a ridiculous 14.6 yards per attempt. Trevyon Henderson had 87 yards and 2 touchdowns on just 10 carries. A great game for Marvin Harrison Jr. with Jaxson Smith Ngiba out due to injury.
There are still questions, especially on defense after their big win over Notre Dame took a hit with the Irish’s loss to Marshall, but Ohio State is still one of the top dogs in the conference and the country.
T1. Michigan Wolverines (+1)
Michigan picked up a convincing victory last week over Colorado State, but a shaky performance from Cade McNamara and the imminent first start of JJ McCarthy lingered during the week before the game against Hawaii.
It was no secret that the game was a mismatch, but McCarthy showed exactly what his elite arm talent and running ability can do for offense. Michigan’s defense is deep and it looks like Harbaugh could be right, once they set their rotations it could be better than last season. With JJ in the lead, this is the most modern and explosive offense Michigan has ever had. It’s them and the Buckeyes at the top now.
Discuss this article with our community on our premium bulletin boards
Not a Maize & Blue Review subscriber? Sign up today to access all the latest Michigan Intel information M&BR has to offer
Discover the video content of Maize & Blue Review on Youtube