B1G Week 1 Power Rankings
The Big Ten did not kick off 2015 in the fashion it could’ve. An 8-6 opening weekend saw potential contenders Nebraska and Penn State fall to unranked teams. Wisconsin couldn’t roll with the Tide and Michigan threw away its chance at a solid opening week win.
Having said that, it wasn’t all disappointment. Northwestern pulled off one of the better upsets of the opening weekend, Minnesota battled No. 2 TCU to the end and Michigan State flashed its high-powered offense in a tricky road game. And Ohio State did its thing, too.
So how do Big Ten teams rank after Week 1?
14. Indiana (prev. 12)
The Hoosiers won, but allowed 659 yards of total offense to a .500 FCS team at home. If not for a dropped two-point conversion, we’d be talking about arguably the worst loss in the country.
13. Penn State (prev. 4)
I was sipping the offseason Kool-Aid about Penn State’s improved offensive line. If allowing 10 sacks and allowing 27 unanswered to Temple is improving, then it’ll be a long year in State College.
12. Purdue (prev. 14)
All things considered, Purdue actually looked decent against a 13-win Marshall squad on the road. But the team’s biggest issue, which surfaced on Sunday, is quarterback play.
11. Maryland (prev. 11)
Speaking of shaky quarterback play, the Terps did not look solidified under center with Perry Hills. He was making his first start in three years. If not for 341 yards rushing, a one-possession halftime lead might’ve continued far too deep into the second half.
10. Illinois (prev. 10)
It was lowly Kent State, but considering the Illini was playing with a brand new coach after a rare rain out, the 52-3 drubbing was pretty impressive.
9. Rutgers (prev. 9)
Again, competition was cupcake level, but Hayden Rettig and Chris Laviano did play as well as Kyle Flood could’ve asked. Leonte Carroo’s three second-half TD’s weren’t bad, either.
8. Michigan (prev. 7)
The Wolverines went into a hostile Pac-12 environment and were in position to win in the final minutes. If not for Jake Rudock’s interceptions, Michigan would’ve been looking at one of the more impressive road victories in the country.
7. Nebraska (prev. 6)
The unfortunate thing for Nebraska is that one pass wiped away a complete defensive turnaround in the second half. The Huskers have to improve against mobile quarterbacks or the Big Ten won’t be kind.
6. Iowa (prev. 8)
Why does Iowa get more credit for beating an FCS foe than Rutgers, Illinois or Maryland? None of those teams had an athlete like Tre Roberson. Drew Ott and the Hawkeyes bottled him up and made it a frustrating day for the defending FCS runner-ups.
5. Wisconsin (prev. 3)
It was bad news once Michael Caputo went out against Alabama. The Badgers also couldn’t run the ball, especially with Corey Clement dealing with a groin injury. Still, Joel Stave looked solid against what might be the best defense in college football.
4. Minnesota (prev. 5)
One fumbled touchdown run was the only thing that separated the Gophers from the No. 2-ranked Horned Frogs. Trevone Boykin did not look like the Heisman favorite against the Minnesota defense, which showed it’ll once again be a challenge come conference play.
3. Northwestern (prev. 13)
How could someone ever have doubted the Cats? Only a fool — this fool — would do that. Northwestern’s win against No. 21 Stanford resembled last year’s Notre Dame and Wisconsin upsets. The biggest difference? This one kicked off the season, and did so with a statement.
2. Michigan State (prev. 2)
Michigan State has set the bar so high for itself that Friday’s second half was a disappointment, despite the 13-point road victory. Sparty knows it has plenty to clean up defensively before Oregon rolls into East Lansing.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
The world saw what the Buckeyes are capable of when they get click like they did in the second half against Virginia Tech. There might not be a team in the country that can stay on the same field as them, much less beat them.