1. Ohio State (4-0, 1-0)
And here we go. OSU has solidly put away all four of its opponents to date, and with Urban Meyer back on the sidelines, looks to be the team to beat in the conference. The fate of the Big Ten may very well rest on the results of this week’s game against number two . . .
2. Penn State (4-0, 1-0)
. . . Your Penn State Nittany Lions. The Lions have looked sloppy at times, but when the offense gets going, very few teams in the country will be able to keep pace. The defense may be the Achilles heel of this team, and only time will tell how many teams will be able to take advantage of that.
3. Michigan (3-1, 1-0)
Every week Michigan looks more solid, and the opening week loss to Notre Dame is getting shinier and shinier. The Wolverines will continue to contend throughout the season.
4. Wisconsin (3-1, 1-0)
After stumbling against BYU, the Badgers rebounded with a solid win against an upset-minded Iowa squad at Kinnick. Like Michigan, Wisconsin will continue to contend, and is still the favorite for the West.
5. Michigan State (2-1, 1-0)
The early season bye is always weird to me, but Michigan State is still a solid team. They have their flaws, but I think they have enough in the tank to challenge the top teams.
6. Maryland (3-1, 1-0)
A week after losing to Temple, Maryland hosted Minnesota and throttled them. The Terrapins are a dangerous team, but may be too inconsistent to vie for the top spots in the conference.
7. Iowa (3-1, 0-1)
The Hawkeyes gave their best shot against Wisconsin, but couldn’t quite seal the deal. Under Ferentz, Iowa will always be obnoxious, but will struggle to get over the 8-win mark.
8. Indiana (3-1, 0-1)
After starting 3-0, the Hoosiers were defeated by Michigan State. Still, Indiana is a solid enough team that bowl eligibility should be pretty likely. The better teams would do well not to overlook this team.
9. Purdue (1-3, 0-1)
College football is fun. After starting out defeated (thrice!), Purdue somehow took down #23 Boston College. Good times. The Boilermakers are firmly in the middle of the pack, and will float in this area all season.
10. Minnesota (3-1, 0-1)
I really thought the Golden Gophers had it in them to beat a wounded Maryland team, but no. Like other teams in this area, they’ll float up and down throughout the year, but won’t rise to the top - or sink to the bottom.
11. Northwestern (1-2, 1-0)
The Wildcats got a much-needed bye week after starting 1-2, and will now get to face . . . oh boy, Michigan!
12. Illinois (2-2, 0-1)
The Fightin’ Lovie Smith’s Beards gave Penn State their best shot, but in the end it wasn’t enough. Still, if things go right, Illinois may push for a bowl.
13. Nebraska (0-3, 0-1)
First, weather canceled the season opener. Then a former Big 8 rival beat Big Red. Then TROY took down Nebraska. Last week the Cornhuskers faced an actually good team, and got boatraced by Michigan. This is going to be a long year in Lincoln.
14. Rutgers (1-3, 0-1)
How do you do worse than Nebraska’s 46 point loss to #19 Michigan? How about a 29 point loss to Buffalo! Yikes.