B1G Power Rankings after Week 1
The Big Ten finally got underway this weekend and the league’s teams packed a month’s worth of controversy, upsets and great performances into the opening week.
From Indiana’s stunning win over Penn State to Rutgers’ first B1G win since 2017 to Purdue redefining the old cliche about overcoming adversity, the seven games (six on Saturday, one Friday) are sure to leave college football fans talking all week.
So let’s take a look at our B1G power rankings now that we finally have a week’s worth of games in the book.
14. Maryland (0-1, lost to Northwestern 43-3)
If Game 1 is any indication, this is a rebuilding project going nowhere. It’s one thing to lose on the road to a Northwestern team that went 3-9 in 2019 (then again, so did the Terrapins). It’s another thing to get blown out so comprehensively by the Wildcats. Yikes.
13. Michigan State (0-1, lost to Rutgers 38-27)
The Mel Tucker era got off to a pretty putrid start in East Lansing. Seven turnovers. Four rushing touchdowns allowed. Oh yeah, and losing at home to a Rutgers team that hadn’t won a B1G game since 2017. The Spartans are probably not this bad, but for one game they were.
12. Illinois (0-1, lost to Wisconsin 45-7)
The Fighting Illini didn’t show a whole lot of fight, nor did they come anywhere close to replicating their upset win over Wisconsin in 2019. Illinois should not have been expected to repeat that feat but having 87 yards passing and just 16:32 of possession is a recipe for a blowout.
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11. Nebraska (0-1, lost to Ohio State 52-17)
Perhaps it is worth remembering that there is nowhere to go but up after the Cornhuskers opened with the B1G’s best team, Ohio State. On the other hand, Wisconsin is up next on the schedule and it appears the sledding might even get rougher in Week 2.
10. Iowa (0-1, lost to Purdue 24-20)
Spencer Petras had decent passing numbers in his debut as the Hawkeyes starter, going 22-for-39 for 265 yards and no interceptions. But he didn’t have any touchdown passes either and Iowa simply could not take advantage of their 460-386 yardage advantage.
9. Rutgers (1-0, defeated Michigan State 38-27)
How about that for Greg Schiano era 2.0 at Rutgers? The program that forgot how to win remembered pretty suddenly, taking advantage of every Michigan State mistake (again, 7 turnovers) to bring a victory back to New Jersey behind transfer QB Noah Vedral.
8. Northwestern (1-0, beat Maryland 43-3)
What was the most encouraging sign for coach Pat Fitzgerald: The performance of Indiana transfer QB Peyton Ramsey (23-for-30, 212 yards, 1 TD), the Wildcats rushing for 325 yards or a defense that allowed just 207 yards? It all added up to a strong opener.
7. Purdue (1-0, defeated Iowa 24-20)
No Rondale Moore? No Jeff Brohm? No problem for the Boilermakers, who fought back from a 4th-quarter deficit with a winning touchdown drive that covered 72 yards in 12 plays, capped by David Bell’s 6-yard TD catch from Aidan O’Connell with 2:15 left.
6. Penn State (0-1, lost to Indiana 36-35 in OT)
Coach James Franklin spent last week hyping opening opponent Indiana. Turns out he was more right than he wanted to be. The controversial call on Michael Penix’s winning 2-point conversion in overtime masks the fact that PSU mostly didn’t play well enough to win.
5. Minnesota (0-1, lost to Michigan 49-24)
With several key players injured and last year’s great homefield advantage nullified, the Golden Gophers could not keep up with Michigan. No shame in that, and Minnesota showed enough flashes to make one think Saturday was a blip. But special teams is a real issue.
4. Indiana (1-0, defeated Penn State 36-35 in OT)
Tom Allen has something remarkable to hang his hat on: Indiana’s first win over an AP top-10 team since 1987. The Hoosiers recorded their biggest win in years, toppling the Nittany Lions in late comeback fashion. Two comebacks, actually. Great win for IU.
3. Michigan (1-0, beat Minnesota 49-24)
The Wolverines played old school B1G football, making a lot of great plays on defense and running the ball very well (253 yards, 5 TDs). Of course, Michigan also racked up the points like a modern-day offense, 49 against a solid Minnesota team.
2. Wisconsin (1-0, beat Illinois 45-7)
Freshman QB Graham Mertz helped Wisconsin overcome the loss of Jack Coan. Mertz, a freshman, threw for 248 yards and 5 touchdowns on a school-record 20-of-21 passing. Perhaps more amazing, another B1G QB had that exact same number of completions and attempts….
1. Ohio State (1-0, beat Nebraska 52-17)
That’s right, OSU’s Justin Fields was also 20-of-21 passing as the Buckeyes dismantled Nebraska. Coach Ryan Day’s bunch shook off an iffy first half and a so-so running game to cruise past the Cornhuskers, setting up next week’s clash with suddenly desperate Penn State.