Week 2 in the Big Ten didn’t quite go as planned. Contenders in the East division, Ohio State, Michigan State, Michigan, and Penn State, rolled, but the West division didn’t fair so well aside from Minnesota.
So much so that they weren’t just close games, but upsets that have reset expectations in many places.
Each week, we observe and take stock of what happened in the conference to try and make sense of what the pecking order is in the heartland, and it was a tough one to digest this time around.
But, we’re here to give you our opinion whether you agree or not, so off we go with our Big Ten football power rankings after a rather tumultuous Week 2 of the college football season.
14. Nebraska Cornhuskers (1-2) Why the Ranking? This was most likely a make-or-break year for Scott Frost and after a 1-2 start on the season, one in which it should have been a 3-0 start, things are more broken than a recent college graduates bank account. It could be an interesting week in Lincoln so stay tuned. Previous week 13 Change -1
13. Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1) Why the Ranking? I honestly don’t know if I’ve ever seen a Power Five offense struggle as much as Iowa has this year. The defense has been great, but there’s just no way the Hawkeyes can expect to win too many games if they can’t create some offense at some point. Corn comes in many forms in Iowa, but obviously not the explosive variety. Previous week 10 Change -3
12. Northwestern Wildcats (1-1) Why the Ranking? This ranking probably has more to do with how poor Iowa and Nebraska have looked than what the Wildcats have done. After having a week to prepare for Duke, both teams got out the protractors and calculators as academic institutions, and things didn’t quite add up to a victory for Pat Fitzgerald’s crew in a comeback effort. Previous week 9 Change -3
11. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-1) Why the Ranking? Admittedly, Illinois has looked very competent at times, but there’s still the litmus test loss against conference foe Indiana that keeps us from buying too much stock in the Illini. A 2-1 start to the season isn’t a bad way to begin the year though, so things might be looking up with more chances ahead to prove that things aren’t flukey in Champaign. Previous week 14 Change +3
10. Indiana Hoosiers (2-0) Why the Ranking? You could argue that Indiana has already had a better year than last season. There’s already a Big Ten win (one more than last year) over Illinois (which is why the Hoosiers sit ahead of the Illini), and Tom Allen’s crew notched another this week to move to 2-0. There’s still a lot to prove though for a team that was a hot mess last season. Previous week 12 Change +2
9. Wisconsin Badgers (1-1) Why the Ranking? Wisconsin was my preseason pick to win the West division, and now that we saw the Badgers drop a shocker against Washington State at home, it might be time to reassess. There’s time to get it together, and it’s not a Big Ten loss, so time to rally the troops. Previous week 3 Change -6
8. Purdue Boilermakers (1-1) Why the Ranking? Purdue had a long week after losing a game it should have probably won over Penn State on a Thursday night. The Boilermakers still have plenty to prove but had a much better showing against Indiana State on Saturday. We’re really not sure what to make of Purdue yet, so we’ll wait and see as other teams tumble. Previous week 11 Change +3
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-0) Why the Ranking? I don’t know if Rutgers will stay in this neighborhood or not, but the Scarlet Knights built on an impressive road win in Week 2 with another strong showing at home. Now, before we pat the Scarlet Knights on the back too aggressively, the shutout win this week was against FCS opponent Wagner. Still, there is optimism in Piscataway. Previous week 8 Change +1
6. Maryland Terrapins (2-0) Why the Ranking? We are still waiting for a game in which we can really get a feel for what this Terrapin team is made of. The wins have looked impressive, but we always reserve judgment with Maryland until it enters the conference part of its schedule where it has struggled mightly since joining the Big Ten. Are the depth and physicality there this year? Previous week 7 Change +1
5. Michigan State Spartans (2-0) Why the Ranking? After some early struggles in Week 1 before putting the game away, the Spartans looked the part of a contender in Week 2. Now again, as with a lot of these early conference games, we have to wait until we see Michigan State go up against a better opponent, but there looks like there’s something to work with in East Lansing. Previous week 6 Change +1
4. Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-0) Why the Ranking? Minnesota has had two very impressive outings so far in 2022. The defense looks fantastic and while the offense won’t put up the numbers it has so far once Big Ten play hits, the Gophers have a solid running game that is complimented by an ability to work the ball downfield when needed through the air. Again, there are still stiffer tests ahead where we’ll know more, but the Gophers might be the class of the West from what we’ve seen so far. Previous week 5 Change +1
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (2-0) Why the Ranking? I don’t know if I’m completely sold on how consistent Penn State can be on offense just yet, but the Nittany Lions have a conference win on the road already and sit at 2-0 on the season. They have done more than most teams in the league, so the ranking here is warranted for now. Previous week 4 Change +1
2. Michigan Wolverines (2-0) Why the Ranking? Look, I know everyone is getting more excited than Jim Harbaugh in the khakis department at your local Kohl’s, but Michigan’s nonconference schedule is horrendous. The Wolverines have yet to be tested, and while the expectations should still remain high with some video game scores early on, there’s another team that has more talent across the board and should still be considered No. 1. Previous week 2 Change: no change
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0) Why the Ranking? The defense looked great last week, and the offense looked much more explosive in Week 2, even without two of the top receivers missing from the lineup. Ohio State is still a work in progress, but this is still the most talented and deep team in the conference, as evidenced by winning games rather easily while still not putting a complete game together. Previous week 1 Change no change
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