College Football Rankings 2011: Should the Big Ten Be Embarrassed?

Jayson LoveCorrespondent ISeptember 18, 2011

a struggling Joe Bauserman was replaced by freshman, Braxton Miller last night
a struggling Joe Bauserman was replaced by freshman, Braxton Miller last nightJoel Auerbach/Getty Images

When the polls come out later today, there is a pretty good chance that only Wisconsin and new member, Nebraska will be ranked in the top 25. 

No. 17 Ohio State and No. 15 Michigan State both took losses to unranked teams.  

Ohio State was handed a loss by Miami 24-6 in a game that exposed Ohio State's new-look offense.  Without Terrelle Pryor, the Bucks only managed four total completions between Joe Bauserman and freshman Braxton Miller.  

The signs were there when Ohio State struggled with Toledo last week, winning 27-22.

MSU had a 2-0 record heading into its showdown with Notre Dame.  Although, the record was misleading as the Spartans struggled in their season opener against Youngstown State followed by a blowout win against FAU of the Sun Belt last week.  

Notre Dame blew out Sparty 31-13 in a game that MSU never led. Michigan State never came closer than four points of the Irish.  For much of the game, MSU was down double-digits and looked overmatched against a winless Notre Dame squad.

The conference may be able to sneak a third team into the top 25.

Michigan was the leading vote-getter outside of the top 25 last week and they handled their matchup with Eastern Michigan.   Illinois also improved to 3-0 with an impressive 17-14 win over No. 22 Arizona State.  

However, another team that was knocking on the door of the top 25, Penn State, struggled mightily in a road win over Temple. The Nittany Lions barely escaped Philadelphia with a 14-10 win.  

Will voters look into the score, or just see—Penn State, Big Ten, Joe Paterno, 2-1?

However, if none of those three sneak in, it is very realistic that the Big Ten will have just two programs in the top 25.  

The Big East (a conference which is obviously facing bigger problems this week), the Pac-12, and the ACC all receive criticism when they only have a pair of teams in the top 25, it's only fair for the Big Ten to receive heat as well—especially when you consider that Nebraska isn't really an established member of the Big Ten, in just its first year out of the Big 12.

If this goes on all year, will one of the nation's historic and proudest conferences receive the overrated tag?  It is a conference that is already cited for decline in basketball, is football lagging behind?

Adding Nebraska helps.  Wisconsin and Nebraska must carry the flag for the conference this year, and remain in national championship contention in order for this conference to be seen as big time this year.