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Big Ten Power Rankings - Preseason (Redux)

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Will we actually get football this weekend? Who knows! But we’ll rank the teams anyway

Photo by Elsa/Getty Images

Okay, so it looks like this may actually be happening. Since last we visited the power rankings, a whole bunch of players opted out of the season, and then opted back in. Not all, mind you (plz Micah, come back), but enough that there’s been some slight wiggling in these power rankings. Before the season actually starts on Saturday, let’s see how the conference stacks up.

1. Ohio State

You knew it, I knew it, everyone knew it. The Buckeyes are the best team in the B1G. The fact that they got back checks notes literally everyone that could have opted out is irritating, but realistically, OSU would still have been good without them. The week 2 showdown between PSU and OSU looms.

2. Penn State

I really waffled on dropping PSU a spot, but tried to keep the big picture in perspective. In the immortal words of Coach Boone, “there is no replacing a [Micah Parsons]”, but the reality is PSU is really well off at LB. I’d still put PSU at #2 in the conference, despite Parsons’ loss.

3. Wisconsin

The Badgers intrigue me. They’re a team that’s always good, and coming out of the West they’re usually in the running for the CCG until late in the season. That’s no different this year, But it feels like the Badgers could be in for a rougher than usual season. No crazy RB for once, though I imagine Wisconsin will still be a solid run team. I’ll leave them at #3 for now.

4. Michigan

To me, there’s a bit of a drop off after the top 3. There’s a second tier here, led by Michigan, who - not unlike PSU - did lost a few star players. They’re still tremendously talented, and will be a solid team in 2020.

5. Minnesota

Our first change from the last rankings has Minnesota moving up. They did lose Kirk Ciarrocca, but PJ Fleck is a good coach, and the Gophers return Rashod Bateman. Minnesota should be a good, and could be a darkhorse for the West title.

6. Iowa

What can you say about Iowa? They’re Iowa. They’ll play good defense, okay offense, and generally be annoying to most teams they play. Will they push Minnesota and Wisconsin this season? Who knows!

7. Nebraska

The next tier starts here I think, though if you want to move Nebraska up a tier, I’d listen. They’ll be pretty good on offense, but I’m not so sure on their defense. Scott Frost seems to talk a lot and is very quick to cast aspersions on coaches/players/refs, which frankly just grinds my gears. But with a not-untalented Nebraska team, can he start to put some wins together?

8. Michigan State

Actually, here’s where the next tier starts, and it’s very much a “sure that team can go there, why not?” tier. MSU was #bad last season, and may continue to be #bad this season. Will they be the best #bad team? I think they could be, as they should continue to be solid on defense. Can the offense, y’know, actually do anything? If they can, they’ll make this tier a bit more entertaining.

9. Indiana

I had Indiana way down at #11 thanks to some coaching losses, but gosh dangit, I like the Hoosiers. Not enough to root for them against PSU, but they just seem like one of those thorn in the side teams year in and year out. While teams like Iowa murder you with good defense and shoddy offense, Indiana has taken to scoring points and holding on for dear life. Gimme some excitement in this tier plz.

10. Purdue

Rondale Moore is back, and the college football gods granted us at least one small mercy. Moore is dynamite, and I can’t wait to watch him this season.

11. Maryland

I mean sure, why not? The worst of the #bad teams, but not the best of the #verybad teams?

12. Northwestern

Once again, sure why not. At this point, the season is getting a huge ol’ asterisk next to it, and I think these power rankings are subject to the same.

13. Illinois

The Illini had some fun in 2019, can they recapture the magic and upset some teams along the way? With Lovie Smith back, they’ll sure give it a go.

14. Rutgers

Aaaaaand Rutgers. Due to Greg Schiano’s return, the Scarlet Knights were seeing some uptick in recruiting. They may have had the best outcome if the 2020 season had stayed canceled. Alas, they must play, and their recruits must flee. Tis the circle of life.


One last look back from the end of 2019 until now, then we’ll start fresh as we carry these rankings through the 2020 season.

The top four remain steady, while Minnesota and Iowa switch places. Nebraska and MSU hang out, while Indiana climbs again. Purdue and Maryland drop a bit, and Northwestern jockeys with Illinois.

Rutgers.

Let’s see what the 2020 season brings us!