1. Ohio State (2-0) – 44 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)
Ryan: Despite star QB Braxton Miller exiting the game with an injury after the Buckeyes 7th offensive play, Brutus’ Boys kept their composure and flexed their collective muscle by defeating San Diego St. 42-7 behind backup QB Kenny Guiton. With a chance to shine against an Aztecs team that lost against FCS Eastern Illinois a week ago, Guiton connected on 19 of 28 passes for 152 yards, 2 TD, and 1 INT while also leading the Buckeyes in rushing with 83 yards on 9 carries and scoring 1 rushing TD.
2. Michigan (2-0) – 39 points (LW: T2)
Ryan (2nd): The Wolverines duked it out Saturday night with then #14 Notre Dame on Prime Time in front of 115,109 at the Big House in Ann Arbor and came away with a hard fought 41-30 win. Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon teamed up to put on quite a show for Michigan as Gallon hauled in 8 Gardner passes for 184 yards and 3 TD. On the night, Gardner threw for 294 yards and 4 TD while also leading the Wolverines in rushing with 82 yards on 13 carries and scoring 1 rushing TD as well.
3. Wisconsin (2-0) – 36 points (LW: T2)
Ryan (3rd): The Badgers haven’t beaten anyone of note yet, but in their 2-0 start they have yet to allow a single point while scoring 45 points in the opener against UMASS, and 48 points this past Saturday against Tennessee Tech.
It’s safe to say Wisconsin isn’t taking anyone lightly thus far, despite how their level of competition may be perceived nationally.
4. Nebraska (2-0) – 31 points (LW: 4)
Ryan (4th): The Husker Blackshirts finally made their presence felt, scoring 2 first quarter touchdowns on a pair of interceptions. They also held Southern Miss to 62 yards rushing on 27 carries for a paltry 2.3 yard per carry average. If the Huskers have finally figured out how to stop their opponents, they might suddenly be a much more dangerous team.
5. Northwestern (2-0) – 31 points (LW: 5)
Ryan (5th): The Wildcats blasted Syracuse this past Saturday 48-27, dropping 581 yards of total offense on Otto’s Orangemen in the process. Last week the Cats hung 44 on the Cal Golden Bears in their win out in Berkeley. Looking ahead, based off their next 2 opponents, the Wildcats should be 4-0 heading into their October 5th showdown with Ohio St. at Ryan Field.
6. Penn State (2-0) – 23 points (LW: 6)
Ryan (6th): The Nittany Lions did what they had to do this week by thoroughly drumming Eastern Michigan 45-7. Penn St. had 2 rushers surpass the 100 yard mark as Bill Belton and Akeel Lynch hit 108 yards a piece. Christian Hackenberg continued his transition to the college game by throwing for 311 yards with 1 TD and 1 INT while completing 69.7% of his passes. PSU will square off next week at Beaver Stadium with a 2-0 UCF Knights squad that has only allowed 7 points so far this season.
T7. Illinois (2-0) – 17 points (LW: 9)
Ricky (6th): Illinois surprised a lot of people (even Illini fans) with their victory over the Cincinnati Bearcats this week. The Illini offense was clicking on all cylinders and the team will look to a big Chicago Homecoming game against the Washington Huskies. I wouldn’t be surprised if Illinois goes 3-0 and cracks the AP Top 25 next week.
T7. Michigan State (2-0) – 17 points (LW: T7)
Ricky (8th): The defense for Michigan State looked well on Saturday. However, the offense didn’t pick things up until the second half. This will be the story line for the Spartans all year long and might kill them once we hit Big Ten play. They say defenses win championships, but your offense still needs to do something.
9. Minnesota (2-0) – 11 points (LW: 10)
Ricky (10th): Minnesota looked good, but to be honest New Mexico State doesn’t scare me. This is a game the Gophers should have won and I expect them to go 3-0 this week. In all honesty, Minnesota should be 4-0 when they play Iowa on September 28th.
10. Indiana (1-1) – 10 points (LW: T7)
Ricky (9th): I picked Navy to be the Hoosiers this past weekend, but I wasn’t expecting only 71 passing yards from the Midshipmen on offense. Navy killed Indiana with the run as they totaled 444 rushing yards in the game. The Hoosiers had their offense going as well, but their scoreless first quarter was what killed them in the end.
11. Iowa (1-1) – 7 points (LW: 11)
Ricky (11th): Just like Minnesota, the Iowa Hawkeyes looked good, but they played Missouri State. Iowa was coming off a loss to NIU in their opening game at home and needed this pick me up. The one thing I will say the Iowa needs to fix is their penalties from week two. Eleven penalties will not kill you against Missouri State, but it will against the Big Ten.
12. Purdue (1-1) – 0 points (LW: 12)
Ricky (12th): I almost picked Indiana State to upset Purdue in their game but thought better of myself. Purdue will most likely be the team to finish in last for our rankings the entire year. How do you avoid that? You beat Notre Dame in Week Three.
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