Big Ten Power Rankings: After Week 2, Big Ten Has an Up-and-Down Week

Mike WehlingAnalyst ISeptember 12, 2011

Big Ten Power Rankings: After Week 2, Big Ten Has an Up-and-Down Week

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    Well that was an extremely up-and-down week for the Big Ten. 

    Iowa loses to in-state rival Iowa State, Purdue lost to Rice, Indiana lost to Virginia, Minnesota loses to lowly New Mexico State, Penn State lost to Alabama and big-name powers Nebraska and Ohio State struggled against lesser opponents that may have caught them looking to their respective big matches next week. 

    On the plus side, Michigan State and Wisconsin both pitched shutouts, Illinois and Northwestern both rolled, and Michigan pulled off a huge upset over Notre Dame.  What teams are on top of the Big Ten this week?

12. Indiana Hoosiers

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    Record: 0-2

    National Ranking: Haha, no

    Why 12th?: This is their second consecutive loss

    Indiana is now 0-2 under Kevin Wilson, and just like last week they lost to a team they probably should have beaten 31-34 to Virginia.

    The offense was not doing so well this game.  They accumulated 319 total yards, which was the third lowest offensive production amongst all Big Ten teams. Wright-Baker went 16 of 30 for 171 yards with one touchdown and one interception, he also added 48 yards rushing. 

    Roberts tied with him with 48 yards and Perez had 47 with two touchdowns. They did score 28 unanswered points, with 14 coming off turnovers forced by the defense.  They did fumble the ball which led to the game winning field goal for Virginia.

    The defense gave up 360 total yards of offense, which isn't bad. In fact, they forced four turnovers and three led to 17 points for Indiana, including  a fumble return TD. 

    The defense could just not stop the Cavaliers in the first part of the game, and they could not stop them in the final drive.  Pretty good defensive showing, and they played better than their offensive counterparts.

    Indiana Player of the Week: Lawrence Barnett 54-yard fumble return TD

    Week 2: South Carolina State

    Prediction: Win

    If they lose, Kevin Wilson will soon find himself out of a job

11. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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    Record: 0-2

    National Ranking: N/A

    Why 11th?: Another loss that could have been a win

    Minnesota lost another game they probably should have won, falling to New Mexico State 28-21.  Head Coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure during the game, I wish him a speedy recovery and hope this does not end his career.

    Minnesota lives and dies by Marqueis Gray, which isn't a bad thing.  He accounted for 320 out of 419 total yards.  Gray went 16 of 32 for 211 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions; and he also added 110 yards rushing and a score. 

    The Gophers definitely have a play-maker.  They do not have a power run game, as evidenced by their lack of ability to punch it in on the one-yard line.  McKnight is a talented wide receiver who had 146 yards in receptions.  The turnovers are an issue, and they need to work on that if they want to win a game.

    On defense, the Gophers gave up 421 yards of offense, not good considering New Mexico State is one of the worst teams in the country.  The defense did manage to pick off the Aggies twice.  Not much else to say, when you are giving up 421 yards to a team picked to finish amongst the worst teams in the country, its not good.

    Minnesota Player of the Week: Marqueis Gray, 16 of 32 for 211 yards with 2 TDs and 2 INTs, with 110 rushing yards and a score

    Week 3: Miami (Ohio)

    Prediction: Loss

    Miami (Ohio) is actually a good team, picked to win the MAC, I don't see Minnesota winning.

10. Purdue Boilermakers

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    Record: 1-1

    National Ranking: N/A

    Why 10th?: Purdue lost to Rice

    Purdue lost to Rice, a team which has not beaten a BCS team since 2001, 24-22.

    Purdue probably should have won this game, if not for the blocked field goal.  Wait that sounds familiar.  That is because that is how Purdue beat Middle Tennessee State last week.  Purdue racked up 366 total yards of offense.  TerBush went 18 of 31 for 183 yards and a touchdown; he also added 68 yards rushing with a score.  Leading the rushers was Shavers with 69.

    On the other side of the ball, Purdue gave up 352 total yards of offense.  Not bad, not great, but not bad.  The Boilermakers managed to recover a fumble that would put the Boilermakers within two.  Purdue is playing some really close games, and it will be interesting to see whether they can step up their play in the coming weeks to compete in the Big Ten.

    Purdue Player of the Week: CalebTerBush 18 of 31 for 183 yards with a touchdown and 68 yards rushing and a score

    Week 3: Southeast Missouri State

    Prediction: Win

    Another FCS team that the Big Ten team should beat

9. Iowa Hawkeyes

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    Record: 1-1

    National Ranking: N/A

    Why 10th?: Lost to in-state rival Iowa State for the first time in four years

    So who saw this coming? Iowa loses in triple overtime to Iowa State 44-41.

    The Hawkeyes put up 365 total yards of offense.  Vandenberg went 16 of 28 for 207 yards and two touchdowns with 19 yards rushing.  Star running back Marcus Coker had a much better game, though he still did fumble once leading to an Iowa State score, rushing for 140 yards and two scores. 

    Much better performance from Coker this week.  While putting up decent numbers, the Hawkeyes offense did not seem too coordinated during this game, there just seemed to be something off.

    On defense, the Hawkeyes gave up 473 total yards.  Not good, but they did manage to recover three fumbles, two led to Iowa scoring 10 points, the other led to Iowa fumbling.  The defense seemed to have issues containing Iowa State QB Steele Jantz and had more issues with the passing game giving up four touchdown scores. 

    I saw on ESPN and message blogs that Iowa fans did not think this was a rivalry, but the Cyclones played like it was and won the game.

    Iowa Player of the Week: James Vandenberg 16 of 28 for 207 yards and two touchdowns with 19 yards rushing

    Week 3: Pittsburgh

    Prediction: Win

    Pitt struggled to beat Maine last week, and Iowa is still a good football team.

8. Penn State Nittany Lions

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    Record: 1-1

    National Ranking: 33rd

    Why 8th?: Started hot, then fell flat against Alabama

    Penn State started off well against the Crimson Tide, but it fell apart as the Tide wins 27-11.

    Penn State started off great, except for the fact that they used up all three of their timeouts on the opening drive, they got a field goal, forced a punt, and that's it.  Penn State only managed 251 yards of total offense.

    The QB controversy continued.  Bolden started and went 11 of 29 for 144 yards and a pick, adding 25 rushing yards. McGloin was thrown in and went 1 of 10 for 0 yards. Redd scored the only touchdown with two minutes remaining and had 65 yards rushing. Not a great showing, granted it was against the top defense in the country.

    The defense played better, but they could not stop the Tide from rolling and putting up 359 yards of offense, in Alabama's balanced attack.  The Lions could not get any turnovers.  Defense was definitely getting tired having to stay on the field for most of the game. 

    This was one of the top teams in the country, but the offense was just sad and the team felt disorganized.  You could definitely see that just on the opening drive amongst the coaching staff.

    Penn State Player of the Week: Redd 65 yards and a score

    Week 3: @ Temple

    Prediction: Win

    As long as Penn State plays sound football, they should win.

7. Illinois Fighting Illini

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: N/A

    Why 7th?: Played an FCS team, but looked impressive heading into a big matchup next week

    Illinois started strong and never let up, dominating the Jackrabbits 56-3.

    The Illini racked up 519 total yards of offense in an attack that heavily favored the run.  Scheelhaase was 6 of 8 for 102 yards and added 92 yards rushing with two scores.  Pollard led all rushers with 101 yards and a score.  Young added 65 yards and two scores, and Ford added 48 yards and a score. 

    The rushing attack had 364 yards, which is good going against an Arizona State that was not always great against the run.

    The defense of the Illini only allowed 96 total yards of offense, very impressive.  They also had two interceptions and took one all the way back.  You have to keep in mind that this was an FCS team, but this was a very good showing by the Illini.  This should give them a good confidence boost heading into next week against Arizona State.

    Illinois Player of the Week: Nathan Scheelhaase 6 of 8 for 102 yards and 92 yards rushing with two scores

    Week 3: Arizona State

    Prediction: Win

    I am going with the upset, I think Illinois's Scheelhaase is better than Missouri's Franklin.  Also, Illinois won't have half their offensive starters missing.

6. Northwestern Wildcats

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 32nd

    Why 6th?: Played FCS, nothing special, but win over Boston College looks less impressive after Eagles get manhandled by UCF

    Northwestern played its second straight week without star quarterback Dan Persa.  They did not need him as the WIldcats cruised to a 42-21 victory over Eastern Illinois. 

    The Wildcats racked up 437 yards of total offense, with quarterback Kain Colter accounting for 213.  Colter was 10 of 13 for 104 yards and ran for 109 yards with three scores on the ground.  Green added 70 yards and a score, and Schmidt added 57 yards an a score. 

    The running game has been really impressive and could be considered Northwestern's primary strength on offense until Dan Persa returns.  No offense to Colter, but Persa is just in a whole other class right now.

    The defense had another bad game, giving up 341 yards to an FCS team.  The Wildcats gave up 21 points, but to be fair seven points came on a last-second touchdown.  The Wildcats gave up 209 yards through the air but did manage to get an interception. 

    They also gave up 132 yards on the ground.  Not great defensive play, and they will have to step up in the coming weeks.

    Northwestern Player of the Week: Kain Colter 10 of 13 for 104 yards, and 109 yards rushing with three scores

    Week 3: @Army

    Prediction: Loss

    I am going with the upset. Playing a service academy can always be considered a trap game due to their triple offense, which most teams don't have to defend.  I think the Wildcats will be upset here.

5. Ohio State Buckeyes

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 17th

    Why 5th?: Ohio State may have been looking ahead to Miami, and almost lost.

    Ohio State has not lost to a team from Ohio for 70 years, but they almost ended that streak on Saturday, barely escaping Toledo 27-22.

    Last week I said that the quarterback controversy had been solved, I'm not too sure about that now.  The Bauserman-led offense only managed 301 total yards versus a MAC defense.  Bauserman went 16 of 30 for 189 yards and a touchdown.  The running game was not great for the Buckeyes, as they are still without Herron and Hall, who are both suspended due to ineligibility. 

    Hyde led all rushers with 76 yards and scored twice.  Freshman running back Smith had 24 yards and had the fumble that led to Toledo getting the ball back in the final minutes.  Not very good offense production from the Buckeyes.

    On defense, the Buckeyes 338 yards of total offense.  Which is pretty good.  Ohio State stuffed the run, only allowing 42 yards rushing, but they got torched through the air with 292 yards passing.  The defense did manged a pick and stepped up in the red zone in the final seconds. 

    The special teams also added a 69-yard punt return.  The defense will need more big stops to beat Miami, who gets all of their suspended players back for their huge showdown.

    Ohio State Player of the Week: Chris Fields 69-yard punt return for a touchdown

    Week 3: @Miami

    Prediction: Loss

    Ohio State is a talented team that may end up winning this one, but they do not feel like an organized team and Fickell will need to get them into shape.  This could have been a case of overlooking an opponent, so I would not be shocked if the Buckeyes win in Miami.

4. Michigan Wolverines

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 26th

    Why 4th?: Comeback win over Notre Dame and showed resilience in the face of adversity

    Michigan trailed big going into the fourth quarter, but managed to beat their rivals Notre Dame 35-31.

    All right Michigan fans you were right.  I said last week I was not impressed with Michigan's offense and you tore into me.  Well in the first half I was right, the Wolverines only managed 89 total yards, but in the second half they exploded going for 379 yards just in that half! Very impressive resiliency and adjustments by the Wolverines. 

    Denard Robinson went 11 of 24 for 338 yards and four touchdowns with three interceptions, he also added 106 yards rushing and a score.  Robinson accounted for all but 13 yards.  Hemingway had a big night catching three passes for 165 yards and a score. 

    Robinson showed they are still very reliant on Robinson, which isn't bad, considering how big of a playmaker he is, but if he ever gets injured or has a bad game, Michigan is going to suffer.

    Defense was not good for the Wolverines.  They gave up 513 total yards of offense, in a defense that seemed reminiscent to last year's defense.  The biggest difference is that they forced five turnovers, two interceptions and three fumbles. 

    The defense did step up when they needed to in the second half and helped save the game.  However, they did not look the greatest out there, and will definitely need to play better in the rest of the season.

    Michigan Player of the Week: Denard Robinson 11 of 24 for 338 yards with four touchdowns and three interceptions, and added 106 yards rushing with a score.

    Week 3: Eastern Michigan

    Prediction: Win

    Eastern Michigan is one of the worst teams in the country with four wins over three years, and two came against FCS schools

3. Nebraska

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 10th

    Why 3rd?: Uncharacteristically bad defense, but offense showed resiliency and new weapons

    Nebraska, like Ohio State, may have been looking ahead to their match up with Washington and almost blew it against Fresno State 42-29.

    Nebraska's offense showed a new wrinkle, in that they can actually pass the ball.  They racked up 448 yards of total offense and had their first game since Oklahoma State where they passed for over 200 yards passing. 

    Taylor Martinez went 10 of 21 for 219 yards passing with a touchdown and two interceptions, he also added 166 yards on the ground with two scores.  Rex Burkhead added 55 yards rushing with two scores.  Ameer Abdullah also had a 100-yard kickoff return for a touchdown.  The offense did not do well in the first half, but like Michigan made key adjustments and was able to move the ball and win the game.

    The defense was bad.  It is obvious that the Blackshirts missed the injured Alfonzo Dennard, who is set to return for Washington.  Carr, whose brother is in the NFL, threw for 254 yards.  The defense also gave up 190 yards rushing on the ground. 

    Like I said, the defense is definitely missing their All-American cornerback, but the defense had no sacks and no turnovers.  Very poor showing from a defense that severely underestimated their opponent.  They will need to play better next week.

    Nebraska Player of the Week: Ameer Abdullah 100-yard kickoff return TD, 228 total return yards, which broke Nebraska's record

    Week 3: Washington

    Prediction: Win

    Nebraska has shown they can play offense, plus they get Dennard back.  Washington also does not play much defense.

2. Michigan State Spartans

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 15th

    Why 2nd:? Dominant defensive showing, offense looks good

    Michigan State only allowed 48 yards on offense, dominating Florida Atlantic 44-0

    Michigan State's offense looked a lot better this week, racking up 434 total yards of offense.  Kirk Cousins went 16 of 21 for 183 yards passing and two scores.  Bell led all rushers with 69 yards rushing and a score, Baker had 50 yards and one score. 

    B.J. Cunningham also set a new school record for most receptions.  Good offensive showing by the Spartans that led to an impressive win.

    The defense was even more impressive than the offense.  Only allowing one first down and 48 yards of offense, 26 passing and 22 rushing.  Very impressive, but don't expect them to repeat this great feat soon. 

    Another impressive stat is that Florida Atlantic only had 17:34 in time of possession.  The Spartans had the ball for almost three quarters of the game.

    Michigan State Player of the Week: B.J. Cunningham five catches for 73 yards and broke the school record for receptions

    Week 3: @ Notre Dame

    Prediction: Win

    Notre Dame will be Michigan State's biggest challenge yet.  However, the Fighting Irish have shown they are overrated once again.

1. Wisconsin Badgers

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    Record: 2-0

    National Ranking: 7th

    Why 1st?: Oregon State moved the ball, but Wisconsin pitched a shutout and rolled

    Wisconsin showed they are still the top team in the Big Ten, dispatching Oregon State 35-0.

    Wisconsin had 397 yards of total offense, which is less than last week, but that's because of the great field position from the defense and terrible Oregon State punts, seriously, one went negative four yards. 

    Russell Wilson went 17 of 21 for 189 yards and three touchdowns, he added 11 yards on the ground.  ball led all rushers with 118 yards and two scores.  This offense is rolling, and it will be tough to stop.

    The defense managed six punts, three turnover on downs and a fumble.  The defense allowed 284 total yards of offense.  They did only allow 23 total yards on the ground. 

    They did allow 261 passing yards, which is not a good number, but they did not allow Oregon State to do anything with it, so that's impressive.  They got a bigger challenge this week from Oregon State, but the Badgers got it done and remain on top of the league.

    Wisconsin Player of the Week: Russell Wilson 17 of 21 for 189 yards and three touchdowns, and 11 yards rushing

    Week 3: Northern Illinois @ Soldier Field in Chicago

    Prediction: Win

    Northern Illinois is actually a decent team, but it would take a massive letdown by the Badgers to lose this one.