Big Ten Power Rankings
12. Indiana (2-1, 0-0) - As you can already tell, I like to create some sense of drama through my use of reverse power rankings. The drama in Indiana's last game was epic as there were two scores in the final minute of a 41-39 game. Unfortunately for the Hoosiers, it was Ball State who got the last word with a 42 yard field goal at the death to defeat their in-state hosts. Indiana competed remarkably well for a team that lost starting QB Tre Roberson as fill-ins Cameron Coffman and Nate Sudfeld performed admirably. The next 3 weeks get tougher as a road contest with Northwestern is followed by games against Ohio State and Michigan State.
Next up: at Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - Big Ten Network
11. Iowa (2-2, 0-0) - Kirk Ferentz is a polarizing figure. He's been both the most underrated and most overrated coach in America during his career in the American Heartland. This year's team doesn't seem to have it and some people think the well-paid head coach is on his way out of town. The Hawkeyes lost to in-state rival Iowa State and dropped a heartbreaker at home to a decent Central Michigan team last week. Their two wins left a lot to be desired (over Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa). While the offense lacks explosion, RB Mark Weisman has emerged over the last two weeks.
Next up: vs Minnesota (4-0, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - ESPN2
10. Penn State (2-2, 0-0) - The football team has had its share of struggles this season. After an 0-2 start when the whole season seemingly was going in the tank, the Nittany Lions bounced back and actually have some momentum moving into Big Ten Conference play. QB Matt McGloin has found a favorite target in WR Allen Robinson as they have connected for 5 touchdowns in the early going. Their first Big Ten contest will go a long way in showing us if Penn State will find themselves in the cellar come November.
Next up: at Illinois (2-2, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - ESPN
9. Illinois (2-2, 0-0) - QB Reilly O'Toole is completing a ridiculous 78.1% of his passes on the season. That's the good news for Illini fans. Bad news is that he's not the starting quarterback. Nate Scheelhaase will return this weekend amidst quarterback controversy and the dreaded vote of confidence from Head Coach Tim Beckman. Let's see how that works out for them.
Next up: vs Penn State (2-2, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - ESPN
8. Minnesota (4-0, 0-0) - Prove it. Gophers, prove to me that you're not the lackluster team of recent past. Having them at 8 is probably showing too much confidence on my part but they have at least proved more than the teams below them. We'll see what coach Jerry Kill and backup QB Max Shortell have cooked up for the Hawkeyes this weekend in Iowa City. Prove me wrong Gophers.
Next up: at Iowa (2-2, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - ESPN2
7. Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0) - We all know this isn't the same Badger team that represented the Big Ten in Pasadena the last two years. Through three games, Wisconsin had produced two things consistently - shaky O-line play and massive drama. Few predicted the defense would be their strong suit. But their last game against UTEP introduced the world to RB Melvin Gordon. Expect to see him get his fair share of touches in Lincoln this weekend as Bret Bielema hopes the freshman can break a big one.
Next up: vs #22 Nebraska (3-1, 0-0) Saturday 8 PM ET - ABC
6. Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) - The Wildcats have started off the season on the right foot and now have a good chance to start 3-0 in Big Ten play. Kane Colter and company will need to keep their focus as no game is a given even in this weak Big Ten. Coach Pat Fitzgerald has to be happy with his teams grittiness and resolve early on.
Next up: vs Indiana (2-1, 0-0) Saturday 12 PM ET - Big Ten Network
5. Purdue (2-1, 0-0) - The Boilers won't start conference play until next weekend as they get one final tune-up against the #1 passing offense in the NCAA in Marshall. Their defense better have their track shoes laced up as they race around trying to cover the Thundering Herd. RB Ralph Bolden could return to the fold this week. Purdue could use his ability back in the lineup come Big Ten play, though the backfield hasn't been much of an issue to now.
Next up: vs Marshall (2-2, 1-0 CUSA) Saturday 3:15 PM ET - Big Ten Network
4. #22 Nebraska (3-1, 0-0) - After a 73-7 drubbing of Idaho State, Nebraska returns to football on earth as the two-time defending Big Ten champions come to town. QB Taylor Martinez is off to a hot start for the Huskers. Coach Bo Pelini needs a big season to win over the fans in Nebraska. A down Big Ten could be just what the doctor ordered.
Next up: vs Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0) Saturday 8 PM ET - ABC
3. #14 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0) - I don't believe in this Buckeye team. At least not enough to have them atop the conference. While they are very talented (as always), they haven't seemed to gel completely. Their first road contest figures to be a shaky one in East Lansing. Will Urban Meyer have a game plan in place to unleash QB Braxton Miller this weekend? We shall see.
Next up: vs #20 Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) Saturday 3:30 PM ET - ABC
2. #20 Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) - Did you see coach Mark Dantonio's post game presser after their lackluster win over Eastern Michigan? Do yourself a favor and search for the video. RB Le'Veon Bell is a stud and will carry this team offensively until his teammates can complement his game. The defense is as stout as ever and is no doubt smarting to get another ranked opponent on their home turf.
Next up: vs #14 Ohio State (4-0, 0-0) Saturday 3:30 PM ET - ABC
1. Michigan (2-2, 0-0) - Yep, I'm serious. I believe that Michigan is the class of the Big Ten. The same team that was demolished by #1 Alabama 41-14 and literally handed the game to #10 Notre Dame. Congratulations to Brady Hoke for scheduling a difficult non-conference game against the defending national champs. Once you've seen the best, the Big Ten is much easier to navigate. If QB Denard Robinson can protect the ball, Michigan will be ranked again in no time. Could be a BIG if.
Next up: vs Purdue (2-1, 0-0) Next Saturday (Oct. 6th) 4 PM ET - Big Ten Network