Big Ten Power Rankings Heading Into Week Two

Kevin LindseyAnalyst ISeptember 5, 2011

Northwestern and Big 10 had a good weekend
Northwestern and Big 10 had a good weekendElsa/Getty Images

While it is too early to tell how good the season will be for the Big Ten, the future looks bright—as the Big Ten went 10-2 in the first week.  Yes, that means calm down Wisconsin and Nebraska fans as there is a lot of football left to be played.

The best win of the week belonged to Northwestern, while the worst loss belonged to Indiana. Here is a breakdown of the past week and a quick look ahead at week two.

Leaders Division

No. 6 Indiana Hoosiers—The Hoosiers are going to be in for a long season after dropping their opening game to Ball State 27-20. Edward Wright-Baker played well in his first start at quarterback throwing for 272 yards and a touchdown.  Next up: Virginia Cavaliers (1-0).  Hoosiers likely start the season 0-2.

No. 5 Purdue Boilermakers—Quarterback Caleb TerBush stepped in and played well in Rob Henry’s absence rallying the Boilermakers for a late 27-24 win over Middle Tennessee.  Purdue gained 192 yards and scored 17 points in the final quarter.  Next up: Purdue travels to Rice (0-1). If the Boilermakers are to get to six wins this season, they need to avoid an upset at the hands of Rice.

No. 4 Illinois Fighting Illini—The best kept quarterback secret in the Big Ten is the Illini’s Nathan Scheelchaase.  Scheelchaase looked more comfortable the second half of last season and he has picked up where he left off from last year throwing 16 completions on 23 attempts, 267 yards and two touchdowns in the Fighting Illini 33-15 thumping of Arkansas State.  Next up: The Illini host South Dakota State (1-0) which struggled to beat Southern Utah.

No. 3 Penn State Nittany Lions—Week one of the dual headed quarterback experiment was largely a success in Happy Valley as Matt McGloin and Rob Bolden led the Nittany Lions up and down the field against Indiana State in beating them 41-7. The kicking game needs work, as Evan Lewis missed two field goals and an extra point attempt.  Next up: Penn State hosts No. 2 Alabama (1-0); this game will answer the question as to whether the Nittany Lions are back among the elite.

No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes—The Buckeyes were merciless in their 42-0 win over Akron as they continued to blitz well into the fourth quarter.  The offense was not as smooth, but then again Ohio State doesn’t need to do much when its defense is this good.  Next up: Toledo (1-0) travels to Columbus, the Rockets will put up more of a fight and things could be interesting at halftime.

Paterno looks for revenge against Alabama
Paterno looks for revenge against AlabamaAl Messerschmidt/Getty Images

No. 1 Wisconsin Badgers—The Badgers new quarterback Russell Wilson had a great debut as he had 317 yards of total offense on just two rushing attempts and 10 completions.  Montee Ball, after losing 15 pounds from last year, looked considerably faster as he scampered for three touchdowns against UNLV.  Next up: Oregon State (0-1) comes to Madison after losing to Sacramento State 29-28 in overtime.  The Badgers have to avoid getting over confident.

 Legends Division

No. 6 Minnesota Golden Gophers—Despite losing 19-17 to USC, Gopher fans had to be impressed at how Jerry Kill rallied his team in the second half by keeping the Trojans scoreless while scoring two touchdowns.  Next up: New Mexico State (0-1) comes to TCF Bank Stadium.  Coach Jerry Kill should get his first victory as the Aggies were blown out at home by Ohio last week.

No. 5 Michigan Wolverines—The Wolverines season started on an odd note as the game was called with 1:27 left in the third quarter on account of the inclement weather and several delays.  Despite the shortened game, Michigan had enough time to beat Western Michigan 34-10.  Next up:  Notre Dame (0-1) comes to Ann Arbor for the first night game in the history of the Big House.  Good spot for Robinson to put himself in the Heisman discussion.

No. 4 Iowa Hawkeyes—The Hawkeyes throttled Tennessee Tech 34-7 despite a torrential downpour.  Marvin McNutt continues his quest to become the best wide receiver in Iowa history with two more touchdowns and 140 yards.  All the news was not good for Iowa as freshman running back Mika’il McCall was lost for the season with a broken ankle.  Next up:  The Hawks travel to Ames for the inaugural Cy-Hawk trophy game.  Iowa has won the last three games and six of the last eight against the Cyclones.

No. 3 Northwestern Wildcats—Boston College was supposed to beat the Wildcats with quarterback Dan Persa unable to play.  Sophomore Kain Colter however filled in admirably generating 268 yards of total offense in leading Northwestern to a 24-17 win over the Eagles.  Next up:  Eastern Illinois (1-0) travels to Evanston.  Hopefully, Colter’s nicks and injuries will not sideline him and Persa will get another week to recuperate.

No. 2 Michigan State—The Spartans were slow out of the gate against Youngstown State, but they were never really threatened as they went on to win 28-6.  Nice gesture by Spartan Captain Joel Foreman to allow teammate and cancer survivor Arthur Ray Jr. to take his place to start the game. Next up: Florida Atlantic (0-1) comes to East Lansing.  The Owls should be a tasty treat for the Spartans.

No. 1 Nebraska—The Cornhuskers easily beat Chattanooga 40-7, but Coach Bo Pelini should have a few teachable moments as Big Red was sloppy in its execution.  Quarterback Taylor Martinez was effective running the ball as he rushed for 135 yards and three touchdowns.  Next up: Fresno State (0-1) travels to Lincoln.  The Bulldogs will hang around but should not be able to stay with the Cornhuskers in the second half.