1. Ohio State (3-0) – 44 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)
Ricky: It doesn’t matter who starts at the quarterback position for Urban Meyer’s Buckeyes squad. No matter who it is looks like they are going to get the job done. Kenny Guiton started for the absent Braxton Miller against Cal and torched the Golden Bears for four passing touchdowns. Oh yea, Jordan Hall also ran for over 150 yards and three touchdowns. It’s great to have options.
2. Wisconsin (2-1) – 36 points (LW: 3)
Ricky (3rd): Wow..just wow. That’s all I can say about how Wisconsin’s game against ASU ended on Saturday. I usually do not like to blame the ref, but they got this one DEAD WRONG. Wisconsin should have got the chance to win that game, and would most likely be 3-0. Because of what happened, I’m not docking the Badgers in the rankings.
T3. Michigan (3-0) – 35 points (LW: 2)
Ricky (5th): Yea, that’s right. In my personal Big Ten Rankings, I have the Wolverines at fifth in the conference. I might be a little hard on Big Blue, but I mean really? Akron? The Wolverines play a great game against Notre Dame, but then almost pull an Appalachian State circa 2007. I’m calling my shot. Ohio State will avenge their in-state brother on November 30th when the Buckeyes come to the Big House.
T3. Northwestern (3-0) – 35 points (LW: 5)
Ryan (4th): The Wildcats sputtered in the beginning of their matchup with Western Michigan, but once they got rolling they nearly eclipsed 40 points once again despite not scoring in the first quarter at all, and despite not having the services of their starting running back, Venric Mark.
The Wildcats displayed some of their depth, however, as previously listed #3 RB Treyvon Green busted out in a big way by rushing for 158 yards and 2 TD on 20 carries. The Wildcats will look to dust Maine this Saturday, and take a 4-0 record into their bye week ahead of their big showdown with Ohio State on Oct. 5th at Ryan Field.
5. Nebraska (2-1) – 24 points (LW: 4)
Ricky (8th): Honestly, I’m not surprised that the Cornhuskers fell to Jim Mora’s UCLA Bruins on Saturday. Yes, they came out to a big lead in the game, but I feel that the Bruins were still dealing with the emotions of playing their first game since the death of their beloved teammate. After UCLA got going, everyone saw Nebraska’s biggest weakness…their defense. The Cornhuskers are very young on that side of the ball and it will be interesting to see how they fare in Big Ten play. But up next they’ll face another non-conference opponent in South Dakota State (you can find Husker tickets for $20 here.)
6. Michigan State (3-0) – 22 points (LW: T7)
Ryan (5th): The Spartans offense finally decided to show up behind QB Connor Cook who tossed 4 TD passes, albeit while playing against an FCS foe. Nevertheless, you play who’s on the schedule and the offense did what they were supposed to do racking up 547 total yards of offense and converting 10/15 3rd down chances while hanging 55 points on the Penguins.
The question all along has been whether or not their offense can produce enough to take them from a team with a great defense to an elite level team. Was this simply a case of playing an outmatched FCS squad, or was it the beginning of an offensive renaissance? We’ll find out for sure when the Spartans travel to South Bend to face the Golden Domers this Saturday.
7. Illinois (2-1) – 19 points (LW: T7)
Ryan (9th): The Illini showed a level of grit and competitiveness not seen in quite some time during their 10 point loss to a solid Washington Huskies team this past weekend. That said, there is much work to be done on the defensive side of the ball, particularly in the tackling department. The offense also misfired several times during the first half and left 17 points on the field in the process. The bye week comes at a great time, as the Illini can regroup, reflect, and correct what went wrong in Chicago and then come out refreshed and ready to dismantle Miami (OH) on Dad’s Day at Memorial Stadium on September 28th.
8. Penn State (2-1) – 17 points (LW: 6)
Ricky (10th): All offseason, I wondered whether or not the Nittany Lions could live up to their first season following the “death sentence” from the NCAA. I feel like this season might be a lot rougher for PSU fans compared to last season. This might be the season where we see the full effect of that “death sentence” issued by the NCAA.
9. Indiana (2-1) – 16 points (LW: 10)
Ryan (8th): The Hoosiers handled a veteran Bowling Green Falcon squad in a game that very easily could’ve been a trap loss if they had been caught looking ahead to their showdown with SEC member Missouri next week.
With Nate Sudfeld finally securing the starting QB gig, it appears the Hoosiers offense is going to be a force to be reckoned with as the season rolls on, but there still remains a question about the defense. We’ll know more about them after the Tigers come calling this Saturday.
10. Minnesota (3-0) – 7 points (LW: 9)
Ryan (10th): The Golden Gophers took care of WIU this past Saturday, but not without a whole lot of trouble as the Leathernecks actually took the lead 12-7 with 9:34 left in the 3rd quarter.
Minnesota kept plugging away at the run game, however, and eventually wore down Western Illinois en route to a 29-12 win behind 4 rush TDs and a total of 213 yards rushing on 49 carries. Also of note, the Gophers played this one without their HC after halftime, as Jerry Kill had yet another seizure. Here’s hoping everything is ok with Coach Kill and he makes a return to the field soon.
11. Iowa (2-1) – 6 points (LW: 11)
Ricky (12th): I’ll be honest. I’m probably being too hard on the Hawkeyes this week in the rankings. The way I saw it, I threw Purdue a bone for the way they played against a ranked Notre Dame team this week and someone needed to come last in the rankings. Iowa won by the fewest points over a team of less standard than. Purdue will most likely be 12th in my personal rankings again next week.
12. Purdue (1-2) – 3 points (LW: 12)
Ryan (12th): The Boilermakers played much better against Notre Dame, but in the end they came up short. Things are not going to get any better this week when they head to Camp Randall to face an angry bunch of Badgers.
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.
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