1. Ohio State (1-0) – 44 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)
Ricky: The Buckeyes will most likely be the #1 team in the Big Ten Power Rankings unless they lose, but the OSU team played on Saturday had some “learning points” to take with them into this week of preparation. Urban Meyer is a perfectionist, and his Ohio State team wasn’t perfect against Buffalo. Expect that to get better as the season goes on.
T2. Michigan (1-0) – 38 points (LW: 3)
Ricky (2nd): Yes, the Wolverines pulled off a record breaking win against the Chippewas of Central Michigan, but it’s CMU. Michigan might have been able to run the table in Week One, but next week they will play #14 Notre Dame on ABC in primetime. Also, things get hyped up once College Gameday comes to town.
T2. Wisconsin (1-0) – 38 points (LW: 4)
Ricky (3rd): Wisconsin surprised me, but, to be honest, they played UMass. Yes, I had the Badgers low in my Preseason Rankings because of their new head coach Gary Anderson, but Wisconsin could be the dark horse of the Big Ten this year. The Badgers should continue this kind of performance next week against Tennessee Tech with ease.
4. Nebraska (1-0) – 29 points (LW: 2)
Ricky (5th): Nebraska got lucky. Plain and simple. When you have a quarterback like Taylor Martinez, a team like Wyoming should be have been a cakewalk. The Cornhuskers want to finally get over the hump and win a conference title (not just get there). I’m not saying the season is over because Nebraska only beat the Cowboys by 3, but Husker nation should a little concerned heading into week two.
5. Northwestern (1-0) – 26 points (LW: 7)
Ricky (4th): I’ll be honest, I ranked the Wildcats so low in the Preseason Rankings because of my dislike of Northwestern. However, they were able to get a nice win over a fellow FBS school (while everyone was losing to FCS schools it seemed). However, if it wasn’t for Collin Ellis’ two defensive touchdowns, then NU would be 0-1 and not 1-0.
6. Penn State (1-0) – 22 points (LW: 5)
Ricky (7th): When you have a freshman as your starting quarterback, some people are going to knock you down a peg. For Penn State, Christian Hackenberg had a nice first college game, but 23 points is not going to be enough for when they play Michigan and Ohio State. In order to beat those teams, PSU will need their FGs from Saturday to be TDs instead.
T7. Indiana (1-0) – 18 points (LW: 8)
Ryan (8th): Despite dropping 73 points, 3 shy of their all time school record, in their opener against Indiana St., the Hoosiers still gave up 35 points to a team picked to finish 6th in the toughest conference in the FCS. I give them credit for the offensive outburst, but it still appears defense is a work in progress.
T7. Michigan State (1-0) – 18 points (LW: 6)
Ryan (6th): Last week, I had MSU in the 3 spot due to their soft conference schedule and rock solid defense. The defense didn’t disappoint, scoring 2 touchdowns that ultimately provided the W for the Spartans. The offense continues to be a work in progress, and until it gets figured out I am moving them down the rankings.
9. Illinois (1-0) – 11 points (LW: 11)
Ryan (11th): Illinois got out to a commanding lead showcasing it’s brand new offense, but then let SIU back into the game down the stretch, causing those who managed to remain in the stands for the conclusion of the game to collectively hold their breath in the final minute.
10. Minnesota (1-0) – 10 points (LW: 9)
Ryan (9th): The Golden Gophers had a golden start to their year, laying a 51-23 beating on the Runnin’ Rebels of UNLV. Minnesota did it behind 221 yards rushing on 38 carries, 3 rushing TDs, and only committed one penalty for 5 yards during the course of the game. Head Coach Jerry Kill has the Gophers headed in the right direction.
11. Iowa (0-1) – 9 points (LW: 10)
Ryan (10th): The Hawkeyes took the loss on their home turf to the visiting NIU Huskies on a last second field goal. While they may not be deserving of a #10 ranking in the conference considering the fight they put up against a solid Huskies squad, I can’t justify moving them above a Minnesota team that won in impressive fashion in their home opener.
12. Purdue (0-1) – 0 points (LW: 12)
Ryan (12th): Purdue gave up 42 points and only answered with 7. The Boilermaker D gave up 221 yards on 47 carries. The Boilermaker offense turned the ball over 4 times and only amassed 65 yards rushing. As a team, the Boilermakers took seven penalties for 40 yards. It’s safe to say it’s a train wreck in West Lafayette.
The Writing Illini Big Ten power rankings are a collection of votes from our staff. Commentary is provided by lead editor Ricky Widmer and staff writer Ryan Kraemer.
Topics: Football, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers