College Football Rankings: Ranking the Big Ten RBs Going Into Week 3

Sean StebnerContributor ISeptember 13, 2010

College Football Rankings: Ranking the Big Ten RBs Going Into Week 3

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines runs against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. Michigan defeated Notre Dame 28-24. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Gett
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Another week, another batch of wins for the Big Ten. Nevermind one futile schoolyard-style, hand-in-your-face-as-you-punch-wildly drubbing in Tuscaloosa and a surprising flurry of points from South Dakota (they have a football team?) and all is well in the world.

    And again, the conference's running backs stood out, battering opposing defenses into submission. Especially ones from the state of Illinois.

    As for the power rankings, there wasn't too much drastic movement, just some quick position changes at the top and the bottom. 

    The biggest news is that, so far, not only is the best back in the conference a quarterback, but he just may be the second coming of Michael Vick.

11. Evan Royster & Stephfon Green, Penn State

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    STATE COLLEGE, PA - SEPTEMBER 26:  Evan Royster #22 of the Penn State Nittnay Lions is tackled by Karl Klug #95, Tyler Sash #9, and Broderick Binns #91 of the Iowa Hawkeye's on September 26, 2009 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pennsylvania. Iowa won
    Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

    Team Result: 24-3 loss to Alabama

    I didn't have the patience to photoshop those Iowa uniforms into Alabama crimson, but this was the basic scene Saturday.

    Combined the two feature Nittany Lion backs totaled 45 yards on 14 carries and zero touchdowns. There were others involved in the running game as well, but none worth mentioning.

    Honestly, I don't care to elaborate much further, but Royster and Green, against SEC players or not, have been thoroughly unimpressive through two weeks. Someone needs to pick up this offense soon or Penn State is in for a disappointing season.

    Change From Week One: Down 3

10. Arby Fields, Northwestern

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    Team Result: 37-3 win over Illinois State

    Northwestern brought a new name into the mix against Illinois State in Week Two, and he did not disappoint.

    Arby Fields, the little guy scampering around up there, rushed for 96 yards and one touchdown on 22 carries. Considering his newfound inclusion in the power rankings and the fairly modest numbers against a modest opponent, he'll have to continue to produce into the conference schedule to climb higher than 10th.

    Change From Week One: Even

9. Dan Dierking, Purdue

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    WEST LAFAYETTE, IN - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back Dan Dierking #25 the Purdue Boilermakers during play against the Central Michigan Chippewas at Ross-Ade Stadium on September 20, 2008 in West Lafayette, Indiana.  (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
    Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

    Team Result: 31-21 over Western Illinois

    Mr. Dierking's performance in Week One was lackluster at best, earning him a basement spot in the first edition of the rankings.

    To remedy the situation, he decided to bring his A-game in Week Two against Western Illinois (noticing a trend?). He rushed for 102 yards and two big touchdowns on 14 carries. Considering Purdue pulled out a tough win against a lesser opponent, Dierking's performance is even more important. He begins his ascent.

    Change From Week One: Up 2

8. Mikel Leshoure, Illinois

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    ST. LOUIS - SEPTEMBER 4: Mikel Leshoure #5 of the University of Illinois Fighting Illini is tackled against the University of Missouri Tigers during the State Farm Arch Rivalry game on September 4, 2010 at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, Missouri. The
    Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images

    Team Result: 35-3 win over Southern Illinois

    It's kind of a cruel picture considering the game Leshoure had against Southern Illinois (the Big Ten really had something against that poor state last weekend), but it's the best we got.

    Leshoure punished the Salukis for 115 yards and two scores on just 15 carries. Given the precipitous drop of the Penn State backfield, he finds himself climbing the ladder.

    Change From Week One: Up 1

7. Duane Bennett, Minnesota

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    TEMPE, AZ - DECEMBER 31:  Runningback Duane Bennett #22 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers rushes the football against the Iowa State Cyclones during the Insight Bowl at Arizona Stadium on December 31, 2009 in Tempe, Arizona. The Cyclones defeated the Golden
    Christian Petersen/Getty Images

    Team Result: 41-38 loss to South Dakota

    He's really good. His team is really bad.

    I see this being a major problem for Bennett this season, at least in terms of the Power Rankings.

    A 41 point explosion against the Golden Gophers defense is in no way Bennett's fault, but I had to dock him for something. Otherwise his 18 carries for 102 yards and two touchdowns is very impressive. If he can lead his team to a win he'll be able to claw into the top-six. Maybe next week.

    Change From Week One: Even

6. Darius Willis, Indiana

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    Team Result: Bye Week

    It's unfair to drop a guy who had a great Week One just because he didn't have a Week Two. Let's see how he bounces back against Western Kentucky. Oh, those Hilltoppers.

    Change From Week One: Even

5. Terrelle Pryor & Dan Herron, OSU

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    COLUMBUS, OH - SEPTEMBER 11:  Quarterback Terrelle Pryor #2 of the Ohio State Buckeyes is tackled by Marcus Robinson #56 of the Miami Hurricanes at Ohio Stadium on September 11, 2010 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Team Result: 36-24 win over The U

    I struggled mightily with this one. Pryor had an unbelievable game in the first marquee matchup of his assault on the Heisman ceremony. Dan Herron even pitched in with 66 yards and a touchdown. But their premiere back, Brandon Saine, was inconsequential against Miami.

    Even against a difficult opponent like 'Canes, 113 yards from a quarterback wasn't enough to bump this backfield up in the standings, rushing touchdown or no. Pryor has plenty more chances, as do Saine and Herron, to impress me enough to move them up. This week wasn't it.

    Also, I'm prepared for the onslaught of hollering I will receive for this. It's fine.

    Change From Week One: Even 

4. John Clay, Wisconsin

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    COLUMBUS, OH - OCTOBER 10:  Running back John Clay #32 of the Wisconsin Badgers runs with the ball against the Ohio State Buckeyes at Ohio Stadium on October 10, 2009 in Columbus, Ohio.  (Photo by Jamie Sabau/Getty Images)
    Jamie Sabau/Getty Images

    Team Result: 27-14 over San Jose State

    Clay was impressive yet again against SJSU. 137 yards and 2 TDs on 23 carries. The reason he's dropping a spot this week is the absence of Montee Ball.

    Ball had a killer game in Week One complimenting Clay's Mack truck approach. He was seemingly nonexistent in Week Two. If they get him involved again next week, their climb to the top will begin again.

    Change From Week One: Down 1

3. Adam Robinson, Iowa

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    MIAMI GARDENS, FL - JANUARY 05:  Adam Robinson #32 of the Iowa Hawkeyes runs the ball against the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets during the FedEx Orange Bowl at Land Shark Stadium on January 5, 2010 in Miami Gardens, Florida. Iowa won 24-14. (Photo by Doug B
    Doug Benc/Getty Images

    Team Result: 35-7 win over Iowa State

    In the battle for Iowa, the Hawkeyes brought the opposite approach to the Badgers of Wisconsin. Rather than phasing one of their impressive backs out, Kirk Ferentz added another to his already dangerous ground attack. Adam Robinson followed up his killer Week One with a 156 yard. one TD game. His running-mate, Jewel Hampton, besides having a great name, ran the heck out of the ball as well. He amassed another 84 yards and a touchdown.

    This one-two punch definitely has the ability to vault the Michigan cartel out of the one-two spots in the Rankings, potentially starting next week.

    Change From Week One: Up 1

2. Edwin Baker & Le'veon Bell, Michigan State

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    Team Result: 30-17 win over Florida Atlantic University

    Yes, there's a new sheriff in town. Le'veon Bell and Edwin Baker fought valiantly to keep their top spot, but it wasn't enough.

    That's right, 183 and a TD from Baker and 49 and a TD on just 10 carries from Bell wasn't enough. And there's one reason why...

    Change From Week One: Down 1

1. Denard Robinson, Michigan

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    SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 11: Denard Robinson #16 of the Michigan Wolverines takes off on an 87 yard touchdown run against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish at Notre Dame Stadium on September 11, 2010 in South Bend, Indiana. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty I
    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Team Result: 28-24 win over Notre Dame

    The people of South Bend and Irish Alums everywhere are probably having nightmares about this guy right now. I was surprised when I found out that Rich Rodriguez chose Denard Robinson over Tate Forcier to start the season, but man does that seem like a genius move right now.

    Rodriguez and the Wolverines might have Mike Vick 2.0 on their hands. Robinson rushed 28 times for 258 yards. Two-hundred-and-fifty-eight. No big deal. Oh and two touchdowns, including a game-sealing trot in the fourth quarter. Yikes.

    I don't think Robinson will be giving up his No. 1 rank any time soon.

    Change From Week One: Up 1