Week one for the Big Ten is in the books and a lot was learned about how this season is going to shake out. While it is still hard to tell for a lot of teams, we got a good read on some of how good or bad they will be this year. Overall a good week for the conference going 10-1 against other conferences (with Northwestern beating Purdue and Nebraska's game getting cancelled). With that being said there were a few teams that had scares and a few that surprised us in a good way. Here is our breakdown of the Big Ten Power Rankings following week 1:
14. Illinois - Not a great look for the fighting Illini struggling against a Kent State team that was picked to finish last in the MAC. Illinois was down by 2 scores to the Golden Flashes at one point but managed to come back and win late. Illinois fans better enjoy it because this upcoming week against Western Illinois may be their last win of the year
13. Rutgers - Rutgers handled their business against Texas State handily winning 35-7 which shows some hope but being in the tough Big Ten East won’t be easy and this team lacks talent. Rutgers does have a fairly manageable schedule to start off the season. Besides Ohio State this week the 4 games following against Kansas, Buffalo, Indiana and Illinois are all winnable. The bad news is I don’t see any wins on the schedule following those.
12. Indiana - Indiana like Rutgers has a few wins early on in their schedule but probably won’t pick up too many in conference play. The Hoosiers went on the road and beat FIU by ten which isn’t overly impressive but a win is a win and they will be hard to come by this season
11. Nebraska - Nebraska unfortunately had their first game cancelled due to weather so it’s hard to get a read on the Huskers but with Scott Frost in his first season as head coach it will be interesting to see how much he can turn around the program
10. Minnesota - PJ Fleck is in year two with Minnesota and the Gophers look to make the same kind of jump that Fleck made at Western Michigan. I’m not saying that they will go undefeated, but they should be able to improve and compete for a second or third place finish in their division.
9. Purdue - Purdue looks to make the jump in year two under Jeff Brohm but a great chance to do that week one against Northwestern on prime time TV fell short. That being said the Boilermakers could make a run at it again being in the weaker of the two divisions, a bowl game is definitely a possibility for Purdue this year.
8. Maryland - Maryland was one of the best stories from week one following a tough offseason the terrapins came out and beat Texas for a second straight year. Maryland has talent and if they can continue the momentum they have built watch out. That being said there are way too many distractions in my opinion for them to make any real noise.
7. Michigan - Michigan came into the season with high hopes and it seems like they were crushed week one already. Not all hope is lost though, while they did start the season 0-1 and Shea Patterson looked far from great, they did play a tough Notre Dame team on the road and managed to make it a one score game. There is a lot of work to be done for Michigan but they have a talented team and if Patterson can figure it out this could be the year for Harbaugh.
6. NorthWestern- Pat Fitzgerald in my opinion is one of the most underrated coaches in the nation. He continues to impress and his team came out and beat a good Purdue team on the road week one. This team could very easily finish second in the Big Ten West behind Wisconsin and with a favorable schedule 8 or 9 wins isn’t out of the question.
5. Iowa - I think Iowa is an under the radar team in the Big Ten. Most people have Wisconsin penciled in to win the west and while I think it will happen don’t sleep on Iowa. They beat a good Northern Illinois team 33-7 and after beating Ohio State last year they prove they have what it takes to hang with the big boys
4. Michigan State - Rough week one for Sparty nearly getting knocked off by Utah State at home. That being said, Utah State was a bowl team last year and a win is a win. A lot to clean up for Michigan State but they still have talent and they are 1-0 after week 1.
3. Penn State - On the 11 year anniversary of App State beating Michigan in the Big House the Mountaineers nearly did the same to Penn State. A lot has changed since then, App State has been an FBS school for a few years now and won 9 games in a good Sun Belt conference last year. People were surprised that this was close but Appalachian State is a very good team that could end up with double digit wins. That being said, Penn State needs to fix a few things especially defensively but don’t think this is the same thing as that Michigan loss, this would be the same, in my opinion to beating a team like Purdue or Minnesota by a touchdown.
2. Ohio State- Overall the Buckeyes played pretty well in the absence of Urban Meyer. The offense looked very good especially for having a QB making his first career start. It is hard to tell because Oregon State is not the most formidable opponent. My only concern is the fact that they gave up 31 points to an Oregon State team that had to put their backup QB in during the first quarter.
1. Wisconsin- the Badgers played about as well as they could week one. Western Kentucky is no slouch either so dominating them impressed me, especially holding them to just 3 points. The Badgers have an easy path to the Big Ten championship game but will need to figure out how to beat Ohio State/Michigan State/Penn State or whoever else comes out of that division .