THIS IS A WEEKLY BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS, by Luke Maiers.
Sitting here on a Wednesday night and reminiscing about the previous college football week and wondering what my life would be like if I dropped out of college. My priorities are like this: sports, any other activity ever created, then homework. After a Saturday like this year’s week one, how can you not think about how great it was. The Big Ten DOMINATED this weekend going 12-2, and I think it will stay that way all year. So here are my power rankings after week one:
1. Ohio State: WOW. Throwing 77 points on anyone is nuts, but the way Ohio State did it is amazing. Granted, Bowling Green might as well have been the Sisters of the Poor, but they are still a college team. If you are a member of the Bowling Green coaching staff, you probably sat by a fire, drank a beer, and threw that tape in the fire to watch it go up in flames. J.T. Barrett was one of my top six picks to win the Heisman Trophy, and he showed it in week 1.
2. Michigan: New quarterback? No problem. The Wolverines offense can be good at times, but this defense is lethal. Swarming the opposing team the moment they step foot on the field as if they are a gazelle and Michigan is literally a wolverine. Not every opponent will be a walk through the park like Hawai’i, especially once they get to the heart of the Big Ten schedule.
3. Iowa: How could Iowa give up 424 yards to Miami (OH) and still get the win? Easy. Dominating in every other facet of the game. As a Hawkeye fan, you bet I had one or two cold Busch Lights during the game because of the defense. Take into account, though, that one of Iowa’s defensive captains, Josey Jewell, damn near decapitated a RedHawks player early in the game and got ejected.
4. Wisconsin: This was hands down the game of the week for the Big Ten. FINALLY, a Big Ten team not taking crap from an SEC team. Being a Hawkeye fan, I rarely cheer for the Badgers. On Saturday, however, I was cheering my Donald Trump off. (I hope you understand my joke) Wisconsin’s jump from unranked to #10 may be a little premature, but if the Badgers are indeed good, the race for the Big Ten West will be tight.
5. Michigan State: The only reason they are this high is because of how they ended last season. The Spartans looked like they just came off of a night of binge drinking, and it showed in their 28-13 win over Furman. Yes, you read that right. Furman hung in there all throughout the game with the reigning Big Ten Champions. Maybe it was first game jitters, but if this trend continues, Green and White will be plummeting in the polls.
6. Nebraska: Nebraska? That’s that state next to Iowa, right? In all seriousness, the best highlight from this weekend was the Cornhuskers showing respect for their punter who died earlier this summer. A classy move by a historically great program. I have never been more touched by a team. Nebraska played well during the game also, taking down Fresno State. This team is on the rise, and the Big Ten West has another force to be reckoned with.
7. Illinois: The Illini are back, baby! Juice Williams is in the past and Lovie Smith is the now. Hearing Lovie chants roll throughout the crowd kind of like “HARAMBE” chants, has given this university new life. Lovie is known for his defense, and although they played Murray State, they still only allowed three points. If the Fighting Illini play defense plays like that all season, the ghost of Juice will be traveling with them to Indianapolis in December.
8. Minnesota: ESPN, I am calling out your experts on this one. Those “experts” predicted Minnesota to have a shot at winning the Big Ten West, along with having the Gophers quarterback making an unrealistic jump from below average to elite. Oregon State won two games all of last season and Minnesota only managed to win their first game against the Beavers by seven. Maybe Minnesota can turn it around, but after week one, I don’t see it.
9. Penn State: Kent State made the Nittany Lions look like kittens through three quarters on Saturday. Entering the fourth quarter, Penn State only led by two scores, and the absence of Christian Hackenberg was present. James Franklin was brought to Penn State to bring them back to relevancy. So far they have been the guy at the party that feels it after a couple of beers.
10. Indiana: I don’t know how the Hoosiers do it every year, but like most of my homework, they pull a running back out of where the sun doesn’t shine. It is really a shame that the Hoosiers are in the Big Ten East because they could have a shot to make some noise if they were in the West. I expect this team to compete all year in one of the most difficult conferences in college football.
11. Purdue: *Wakes up from a long night out* Damnit, it is gameday. This is the mentality of Purdue fans from the past, but after their week 1 domination this year, they can be happy for a little while. I am not saying Purdue is going to go nuts and win eight games this season, but I would not put six wins out of the possibility. Their next game versus Cincinnati will swing my opinion, I am sure.
12. Maryland: Someone explain to me why Maryland is in the Big Ten? You literally could not get much farther east than Maryland. I will give it to their football team, they stuck it to Howard this past weekend, but I even pull out an A every now and then. Once we hit conference play, Maryland will not be moving up.
13. Northwestern: How depressed are you if you are a Northwestern fan? Coming off a great, ten win year, only to follow that up by dropping an egg in the first game of the season. Western Michigan has been known to upset some teams over the years, but come on, it’s week one. Maybe this defense will step up after having a great year last season.
14. Rutgers: Yeah, Washington is a tough team, but I do not see them winning a Big Ten game this season. Not too many bright spots from their first game, so I guess you could say it only gets better from here. I think the Scarlet Knights will stick in the basement all season.