Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE - Presswire
Two weeks into play, it's getting pretty clear who stacks up at the top and bottom of the Big Ten. The middle? Way less settled. We'll try and sort things out, but hey, no promises.
To quote the great Operation Ivy, all I know is that I don't know nothin'.
Well, that's not quite true. I know Ohio State's pretty damn good, and that Illinois is, well, the exact opposite of that. But two weeks of Big Ten play have generated about as many questions as answers. Some call it parity, others depth, and some a lack of talent, but in a league where just about anyone can beat just about anyone else, we're sure to get some damn fun football in the next few months.
|1||(6-0, 2-0; Last week: #1) After putting up 63 points (and 371 rushing yards) on the Cornhuskers on Saturday, Ohio State's offense has rightly been the focal point of the Big Ten's best team. Ohio State's defense, on the other hand, was more of a mixed back. This wouldn't have been a 25-point blowout if it weren't for forcing Taylor Martinez into four turnovers, but the Buckeyes had a whole lot of trouble getting off the field early. Ohio State can be beat, but it'll take a team playing nearly mistake-free football.|
(3-2, 1-0; Last week: #7)
Is this an overreaction based on one win? Oh, almost certainly. But for the first time all season, Michigan played like we thought they would, and for the first time in a long time, a dominant win at Purdue actually says something about a team. This was a preseason top-10 team for a reason, and if they can reach that potential, as they did Saturday in West Lafayett, there's no doubt they're the second best team in the Big Ten.
|3||(4-2, 2-0; Last week: #5) This is, of course, a Penn State blog, and so we're all well-versed in the rise of the Nittany Lions. It's a testament to the heart and balls of this team that they'll go into every game the rest of the way thinking they can win, but there's not a single game the rest of the way, save for Indiana, that's not equally losable. Hopefully, all this momentum and all these good vibes don't wear off during the bye week.|
|4||(4-2, 1-1; Last week: #2) There's no shame in losing to Ohio State in Columbus. There is shame in completely collapsing after a promising start, on both sides of the ball, and especially when these road meltdowns are so easy to see coming. The good news for Nebraska is that they get Penn State and Michigan at home, where they've been infinitely better the last few years. And it would be a mistake to write the Huskers off this early.|
|5||(5-1, 1-1; Last week: #3) No matter how crushing Penn State's come-from-behind win has to be, the takeaway from Saturday is more of a mixed bag. For one, we know Northwestern has the pieces to be a dominant offense--Kain Colter and Venric Mark are special players--but the onus is going to be on the coaching staff to use them more efficiently. Defensively, the front seven held up and the secondary took away Penn State's downfield passing game, but the line failed to generate much of a pass rush. Still, this team very well could have come away from Happy Valley still undefeated, so let's not sell just yet.|
|6||(4-2, 1-1; Last week: #6) In the wake of its narrow victory over Indiana, it's very easy to be down on Michigan State. But sandwiching that game between the heartbreaking loss to Ohio State (which looks a whole lot better now) and a game against a resurgent Iowa team, that one had trap game written all over it. The positives? An impressive second half comeback, and a complete stifling of the Indiana run game. The negatives? Another 37 carries for LeVeon Bell--37 more than any other Spartan back got--and only 121 on them.|
|7||(3-2, 1-0; Last week: #9) By virtue of not playing Saturday, Iowa moves up in the rankings. Yes, Purdue was so bad and Wisconsin so underwhelming that, what the hell, the Hawkeyes have to be better. Right? Mark Weisman 4 Lyfe|
|8||(4-2, 1-1; Last week: #8) On one hand, Wisconsin won fairly comfortably for the first time all year on Saturday. On the other hand, it came against Illinois, and the Badgers led just 10-7 heading into the fourth quarter. Montee Ball finally played well, but again: Illinois. The terrifying thing about what's sure to be a derpfest Saturday when Wisconsin travels to Purdue? One of this teams is almost assured of making the Big Ten Championship Game.|
|9||(3-2, 0-1; Last week: #4) Coming off a surprisingly impressive non-conference slate, Purdue had a chance to prove that it could be competitive in the Big Ten, that it could take the gaping hole in the Leaders division left by the ineligibilities of Ohio State and Penn State and run with it. Instead, it laid the mother of all eggs against a Michigan team with just as much to prove. It's starting to look like the Boilermakers' biggest fluke this season was playing Notre Dame close. Oh well, Purdue. Maybe next year.|
|10||(2-3, 0-2; Last week: #11) I'll throw you a bone, Indiana, for giving Michigan State a scare and nearly coming away with its first big win since...uh...yeah. The Hoosiers aren't a good football team--though Cameron Coffman looked great Saturday--but you can't say that the players haven't showed up.|
|11||(4-1, 0-1; Last week: 10) I feel bad dropping a 4-1 Minnesota team that didn't play last week, but...wait, no, I don't feel bad at all. For whoever loses Saturday's matchup with Purdue, this is going to be a looooooong season. For the winner? Only long.|
|12||(2-4, 0-2; Last week: #12)|