Week 2 B1G Power Rankings: Serious reshuffling follows the first weekend of the season
There’s finally some logic behind the B1G power rankings. We’re no longer basing it off of spring games, fall camp and word of mouth.
It was the first weekend of B1G football, with the league finishing 12-2, a convincing start for a league that can often be criticized for ill-timed losses in non-conference play. For the most part, though, the league was pretty solid after three-straight days of football.
Following the first week of the season, the Week 2 power rankings replicate the look of a Chutes and Ladders game from the rankings heading into Week 1. Some teams took some significant leaps while others stumbled near the bottom.
Here’s a look at the B1G power rankings heading into Week 2 following the first week performances across the conference:
14. Purdue (L, 34-31 vs. Nevada)
Last week: No. 12
Do I actually think Purdue is the worst team in the B1G? No. But you know what? The Boilermakers blew a 17-point second half lead to a team with a freshman quarterback who hadn’t thrown a collegiate pass yet and a freshman kicker. There’s no reason Purdue shouldn’t have sealed the win much earlier in the contest. Life doesn’t get any easier for the Boilermakers, playing two Power Five opponents at home to round out the non-conference schedule.
Up next: vs. Vanderbilt
13. Rutgers (W, 48-21 vs. UMass)
Last week: No. 13
We were halfway through the first quarter and I was convinced Rutgers was going to fall back to the No. 14 spot and may not win a game this season. Then the Scarlet Knights totally redeemed themselves. Chris Ash’s team still has a long way to go, but Isaih Pacheco and Raheem Blackshear sure looked good once the offense was clicking. Outscoring UMass 41-0 after a 21-7 deficit was a nice way to finish, as well.
Up next: at #20 Iowa
12. Minnesota (W, 28-21 vs. South Dakota State)
Last week: No. 6
All that hype about Minnesota vanished pretty quickly after a lackluster performance against South Dakota State in the season opener. Despite having the talent and size advantage everywhere on the field, the Gophers needed a late gift from the Jackrabbits to start the year 1-0. There’s still a lot to like about this team, but good grief was that an ugly performance to kickstart P.J. Fleck’s third season.
Up next: at Fresno State
11. Northwestern (L, 17-7, vs. #25 Stanford)
Last week: No. 8
Former five-star quarterback Hunter Johnson is going to lead Northwestern to a B1G champio…wait, maybe not. Actually, I’m getting a little ahead of myself, because Northwestern looked horrendous in non-conference play last and wound up winning the division. But the Wildcats were certainly awful offensively against Stanford, gaining just 210 yards in the loss. To make matters worse, quarterback TJ Green and running back Isaiah Bowser left the contest early with injuries. The only thing saving Northwestern from being lower is the fact that Stanford is pretty darn good. Who would’ve thought Pat Fitzgerald would be happy to have a free Saturday in the second week of the season?
Up next: OFF
10. Indiana (W, 34-24 vs. Ball State)
Last week: No. 10
Yeah, this is probably the best spot for the Hoosiers after a 10-point in over an in-state rival to start the year. Indiana didn’t play terrible, but it was far from extravagant. Tackling was an issue and the offense had plenty of hiccups. Fortunately, the Hoosiers get Eastern Illinois at home next week to work out some of the kinks before taking on some of the big boys in the B1G East. After the first weekend of the season, you’re kind of getting a “meh” feeling about the Hoosiers.
Up next: vs. Eastern Illinois
9. Nebraska (W, 35-21 vs. South Alabama)
Last week: No. 9
Remember when we were talking about how explosive Nebraska’s offense was going to be this season? How Adrian Martinez might be the B1G’s best shot to win the Heisman Trophy? Not so much. Nebraska’s defense had as many points as its offense, both units accounting for 14 points, while JD Spielman scored on a punt return to reach the 35-point total. On the bright side, the defense looked really solid for most of the contest, with a few mishaps here and there. If the Huskers can get the offense rolling, this team will be just fine.
Up next: at Colorado
8. Maryland (W, 79-0 vs. Howard)
Last week: No. 14
OK, so I was wrong about Maryland. Maybe. A convincing win over an FCS team doesn’t necessarily change my mind completely about the Terrapins, but scoring 79 points in a game against anyone is one heck of an accomplishment. To do it in Mike Locksley’s debut is even more impressive. The addition of Josh Jackson under center gives the Terps one more playmaker on the field offensively. Defensive, they didn’t surrender much, either. Not a bad way to start the new job for Locksley.
Up next: vs. #22 Syracuse
7. Illinois (W, 42-3 vs. Akron)
Last week: No. 11
Isn’t it amazing the difference a quarterback can make? I know it’s Akron, but Brandon Peters looks like the missing puzzle piece to Illinois’ offensive woes. He wasn’t just effective as a passer, Peters showed off some mobility and the ability to tuck the football and run, something we didn’t expect to see. The Illini defense forced two turnovers and only surrendered 192 yards, too. An all around solid performance from Lovie Smith’s bunch.
Up next: at UConn
6. Michigan State (W, 28-7 vs. Tulsa)
Last week: No. 2
You might be asking yourself, “how can a team that held an opponent to -73 rushing yards at No. 6 in the power rankings?” Well, unfortunately, Michigan State’s offense didn’t show much promise. Things started off well, with the Spartans finding the end zone less than four minutes into the game. After that, the only other touchdown was a Kenny Willekes strip-sack fumble recovery in the end zone. We won’t write off Brian Lewerke and the offense just yet, but it looked eerily similar to 2018 in Week 1.
Up next: vs. Western Michigan
5. Iowa (W, 38-14 vs. Miami (OH))
Last week: No. 5
Does Iowa just like messing with us? The Hawkeyes were ahead just 10-7 at halftime, making us think there were some major issues in Iowa City. But they poured it on thick in the second half, eventually posting a convincing, three-touchdown victory. The Hawkeyes were balanced offensively, as Nate Stanley threw for 252 yards and the team rushed for 213 yards, led by Mekhi Sargent who tallied 91. As always, the defense was solid throughout. Iowa never really hammers on teams early in the season, so this was about as good a result as you could ask for.
Up next: vs. Rutgers
4. Michigan (W, 40-21 vs. Middle Tennessee)
Last week: No. 1
Let’s be honest, that’s not what we expected to see from the preseason favorite to win the B1G. Michigan went on to win by three touchdowns, but it did so in ugly fashion. I guess there’s some promise there, knowing you could play a lot better and still won a game by 19 points. You just expected to see an electrifying offense and it just wasn’t there. Jordan Glasgow does look like the next monster on the defensive line, registering two sacks in the victory. But we’d like to see a little more from the Wolverines next week against a talented Army squad.
Up next: vs. Army
3. Ohio State (W, 45-21 vs. FAU)
Last week: No. 3
After that first quarter, you thought Ohio State might drop a cool 100 on Lane Kiffin and the Owls. The offense slowed up after those first 15 minutes, though, and the Buckeyes appeared somewhat human the rest of the way. Justin Fields was as advertised, throwing for four touchdown passes and rushing for another one. It’s easy to see why he was such a coveted prospect. FAU only gained 22 yards on the ground, which was another positive in Ryan Day’s debut. The win sets up a fun showdown next week with Cincinnati and longtime OSU assistant Luke Fickell.
Up next: vs. Cincinnati
2. Penn State (W, 79-7 vs. Idaho)
Last week: No. 4
Talent, talent, talent. Did I mention Penn State has talent? Yes, this was a dominant performance over an FCS opponent, similar to what Maryland was able to do. But Penn State showed off its arsenal of weapons on Saturday, which includes and absolutely loaded backfield with Ricky Slade, Devyn Ford, Journey Brown and Noah Cain. Having Justin Shorter and KJ Hamler at receiver is pretty nice, too. The question about this team is still experience, but the Nittany Lions showed they have the talent and athleticism to compete with anyone. Idaho wasn’t the best test, but PSU certainly passed the eye test.
Up next: vs. Buffalo
1. Wisconsin (W, 49-0 vs. USF)
Last week: No. 7
Wisconsin went from quiet to contender to loud favorite essentially overnight. Jonathan Taylor’s four-touchdown performance and improved pass-catching skills really puts the rest of the B1G on notice, not just the West. To walk into an FBS opponent’s home stadium in the opening week and crush their will to play is quite an impressive feat. The Badgers did that on both sides of the ball, steamrolling USF on the way to 234 rushing yards. Defensively, Wisconsin forced three turnovers and held the Bulls to just nine first downs. It’s safe to say the Badgers are back.
Up next: vs. Central Michigan