SP+ says 3 of the nation's top 4 defenses are in the Big Ten
According to ESPN’s SP+ metric, the Big Ten has a few of the strongest defenses in the country.
Bill Connelly’s forward-thinking model says Georgia has the No. 1 defense in the country. But after that, it’s loaded with Big Ten powers: No. 2 Wisconsin, No. 3 Northwestern and No. 4 Ohio State.
SP+ is heavily-weighted with preseason projections early in the year, but it’s still a good indicator for team strength. So far, the Badgers, Wildcats and Buckeyes have all proven to have top-tier defenses.
Wisconsin has only played one game, but held Illinois to just seven points and 218 total yards.
Northwestern’s defense has been outstanding through two weeks, limiting Maryland to just three points and Northwestern to just 20 (14 of those points came off short fields via turnovers from the offense). When the Terps faced a more-vulnerable defense in Week 2, they hung 46 points on Minnesota.
Ohio State has also been dominant on both sides of the ball. The Buckeyes held Nebraska to just 17 points and kept Penn State without a touchdown for the first half in Happy Valley on Saturday night.
SP+ also rates Ohio State as the No. 2 offense and the No. 1 overall team through two weeks, although Alabama isn’t far behind. The Badgers are the No. 3 overall team, per Connelly’s model.
Here’s the full SP+ rankings after Week 9 of the college football season:
NEW SP+ RANKINGS
* Unbeaten Ohio State remains No. 1
* Top-10 Cincy
* Okla State moves up after a strong [checks notes] loss
* Georgia = Florida
* WHY DOES SP+ HATE WAKE FOREST('S OFFENSE)?https://t.co/Lx4J0EQ0Ye
— Bill Connelly (@ESPN_BillC) November 1, 2020