Big Ten Football: Power Ranking Every Team After Week 1
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Even after one week, the separation between the top teams in the Big Ten and everyone else is growing.
Several teams had solid Week 1 performances and appear poised to contend for a conference championship, while a handful of others had more problems exposed than they know what to do with.
These rankings are obviously going to fluctuate throughout the season as some teams will get better and others will regress.
Here are your Big Ten power rankings after Week 1 of the 2013 college football season.
12. Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase
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Not everyone in the Big Ten lost Saturday, but few teams struggled to beat a team like Southern Illinois.
That honor belongs to Illinois, and despite winning the game 42-34, the Fighting Illini have plenty of issues as the season moves forward.
Chief among them is allowing 34 points to a non-BCS team that had just six wins last season. That kind of defense isn't going to cut it, even in a league where points appear to come at a premium.
A win is a win except for when that win is much tougher than it should be. Sure, the W-L column is grateful, and you'd probably rather be Illinois than a teams that lost, but struggling against Southern Illinois is not a good sign of things to come.
11. Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa struggled on Saturday
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The bottom few teams on the list are probably interchangeable, but Iowa actually went up against a pretty good Northern Illinois squad.
The Hawkeyes lost 30-27, but the Huskies are coming off a season in which they made a BCS game. Still, Iowa should always have more talent than Northern Illinois, and regardless of what happened last season, this was a game that Iowa needed to win.
The days of Kirk Ferentz comfortably striding along the sidelines as his teams compete for league titles appear to be long gone. Iowa has a lot of work to do if it hopes to climb out of the Big Ten cellar anytime soon.
10. Purdue Boilermakers
Cincinnati QB Munchie Legaux did everything he wanted against Purdue
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Purdue had the ugliest loss of the bottom three teams, but the Boilermakers get the benefit of the doubt after going up against a solid team in Cincinnati.
Of course, being ranked 10 out of 12 teams isn't good by any stretch of the imagination, and if Purdue can't even stay on the field with the Bearcats, you have to wonder how they'll manage against Notre Dame or Ohio State.
The final score was 42-7, and aside from a scoreless first quarter, it may have not been that close.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of changes new coach Darrell Hazel makes in the coming weeks as his team prepares to face several ranked foes.
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Minnesota QB Philip Nelson
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Minnesota lands in the nine spot simply because we haven't seen enough to put them any higher.
The Golden Gophers beat UNLV 51-23 on Thursday evening, with the offense getting a solid effort on the ground.
But they were also outgained by nearly 100 yards. So what the heck do we make of this one?
At the end of the day, it's a victory and a nice start to the season. But some major questions linger, as they do with most teams, and until some clarity is provided, the Golden Gophers will stay in the bottom half of the power rankings.
8. Indiana Hoosiers
RB Tevin Coleman
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The Indiana Hoosiers kicked off the 2013 season with a 73-35 victory over Indiana State.
The margin was 24 at halftime, and it ballooned to 38 by the end of the third quarter as the points came easy for Hoosiers running back Tevin Coleman and company.
Indiana is another great example of a team that took care of business in solid fashion, yet several questions linger.
Most notable among them is the defense, which gave up 35 points to a team that isn't even in the same stratosphere as Ohio State or Michigan in terms of offense.
But speaking of offense, the Hoosiers once again figure to boast an impressive one, and fans have to be happy with how the season began. The team will have to prove itself against better competition, however, to move up in the power rankings.
7. Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State QB Andrew Maxwell
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The Michigan State season began with a dull, 26-13 victory over Western Michigan.
With a full season under his belt, you'd like to see quarterback Andrew Maxwell take a step forward, but that just didn't happen in Game 1. He finished 11-of-21 for just 74 yards, which gives you an indication of why the offense managed only 26 points against a team that won four games last season.
While the win will make fans happy for now, it brought up some real questions about how this team is going to keep up with some of the other teams in the Big Ten.
The performance wasn't enough to drop the Spartans below teams like Indiana or Minnesota, but they'll have to improve if they hope to compete for a conference title.
6. Penn State Nittany Lions
QB Christian Hackenberg hands it off
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The Christian Hackenberg era of Penn State football began with a 23-17 road win against Syracuse.
Hackenberg completed 22-of-31 passes for 278 yards and a pair of scores, although he did throw two interceptions as well.
Somewhat disconcerting was the running game, which produced just 57 yards, although the defense made it a non-factor by holding Syracuse to just 71 yards on the ground.
It's clear that Penn State still has a lot of heart, and while the sanctions were severe, they don't appear to be crippling. The Nittany Lions aren't going to be mistaken for the Buckeyes, but they look like a team that will continue to play hard and surprise a few teams.
Now that Hackenberg has had a chance to show what he's got, it'll be interesting to see how his career plays out from here.
5. Nebraska Cornhuskers
QB Taylor Martinez
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The Nebraska Cornhuskers take the five spot in our power rankings, though whether they actually belong there is another matter.
With apologies to Wyoming, a 37-34 victory over the Cowboys probably isn't what fans had envisioned heading into the opening game.
The offense rushed for 355 yards, and Martinez was efficient through the air, but the defense has some glaring holes to fill before better offenses come to town.
If we're going off performance alone, Nebraska doesn't belong in the top five. But the talent is there, and the season is three months long. Look for the defense to improve, because if it doesn't, the Cornhuskers are in big trouble.
4. Northwestern Wildcats
QB Kain Colter
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Northwestern's 44-30 win over California is going to look better and better as the season moves forward.
Right now, it still has to look pretty good if you're a Wildcats fan. Despite losing quarterback Kain Colter early in the game, Northwestern managed to score 44 points and hold off an intriguing California team led by true freshman Jared Goff.
Running back Venric Mark was also hampered by an injury that paved the way for Treyvon Green to rush for 129 yards and two scores.
It's very early, but Cal appears to be a lot better than last season, and winning in Berkeley isn't going to be easy for anyone. But Northwestern handled its business and now gets to head back home to face Syracuse with a 1-0 record in tow.
3. Wisconsin Badgers
Wisconsin QB Joel Stave
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Wisconsin began the season as one of the top three or four teams in the Big Ten.
After a 45-0 win against Massachusetts, that placement seems about right. The Minutemen are not a very good football team, but the Badgers dominated from start to finish and looked good in the process.
The rushing attack saw three players eclipse the 100-yard mark en route to a total of 393 yards, and quarterback Joel Stave made the most of his nine completions, which went for 197 yards and two scores.
There isn't really much to harp on at this point, considering the defense posted a shutout. There are obviously still some questions about how Wisconsin stacks up with the other elite Big Ten teams, but the season if off to a nice start and Badgers fans will be happy heading into Week 2.
2. Michigan Wolverines
Michigan QB Devin Gardner
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The Michigan Wolverines had one of the more impressive performances on Saturday, beating Central Michigan 59-9.
Devin Gardner was 10-of-15 for 162 yards, and the rushing attack amassed 242 yards. But while many knew that the Wolverines' offense would be dangerous, it was the defense that really stood out.
The Chippewas managed just 210 total yards.
We'll learn a whole lot more about this team next week when it plays host to Notre Dame in a matchup of ranked teams. It may be tough to surpass Ohio State in the power rankings, but it's quite clear even after one game that the Big Game is going to be a good one.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
QB Braxton Miller practicing a zone-read
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Ohio State came out ready to send a message in the first quarter and then sort of shuffled slowly through the next three.
The result was a 40-20 win against a game Buffalo squad that may have had visions of an upset after getting within 10 points in the third quarter.
Preseason Heisman favorite Braxton Miller completed 15-of-22 passes for 178 yards while rushing for another 77. The ground attack as a whole amassed 261 yards.
But this appeared to be another sluggish start to the season for Ohio State. While it did nothing to hurt the Buckeyes' in the long run, it probably wasn't the dominating performance fans had hoped to see.
Still, this team is loaded on both sides of the ball, and it'll be interesting to see how the Buckeyes play against better competition.