Meet your Big Ten front runners of the week.
Starting next week, there'll be a change with the Big Ten recaps/power rankings. On Sunday I'll be writing short recaps of each Big Ten game the previous week, and on Tuesday afternoons/evenings I'll have my Big Ten power rankings. This'll mean more content for you, but more importantly keep me sane. For this one week though, I'm going to combine the recaps and power rankings. Now let's watch me pull my hair out as I attempt to figure out the basement of the Big Ten this week.
1. Ohio State: Won against California, 35-28.
Meet your new Big Ten standard bearer y'all. Ohio State looked impressive in the first half, then let backup Cal running back Brendan Bigelow run for 160 yards and two touchdowns...on four carries. Nevertheless, Braxton Miller looks to have made the jump in his second year, and the defense is very good. The clear #1.
2. Northwestern: Won against Boston College, 22-13.
The clear #2, if only because so many teams have fallen back. They've beaten three BCS teams, but those teams were Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College; none of those wins were impressive either. Resume don't lie though, and the 'Cats have the second-best one in the Big Ten.
3. Nebraska: Won against Arkansas State, 42-13.
Teams 3-6 are in a pack of sorts currently, and I'm giving Nebraska the bump because they've had two wins against inferior foes plus a forgivable close loss out on the west coast. Granted this spot is dependent on UCLA, and they've been a paragon of stability over the years. Or not.
4. Purdue: Won against Eastern Michigan 54-16.
Gets the nod over Michigan State because their loss to Notre Dame was on the road and much, much closer. No big wins yet, but given the state of the Leaders division this year the Boilermakers could easily make the conference title game.
5. Michigan State: Lost against Notre Dame, 20-3.
Blllleeeeccchhh. Ahead of Michigan because the win over Boise State is still worth something, but that could change this week. You may be asking why I didn't include Purdue in the BlogPoll and ranked Nebraska under MSU. My answer *points, runs*.
6. Michigan: Won against Massachusetts 63-13.
Blewout a team, got blown out, beat a Mountain West team by six at home. I still don't know what to make of the Wolverines, but I'll know after Saturday.
7. Illinois: Won against Charleston Southern 44-0.
Seven may seem high for the Illini, but I think the Arizona State game was a bit of a fluke due to travel to Tempe, and their win over Western Michigan was much more decisive than Minnesota's.
8. Minnesota: Won against Western Michigan 28-23.
Like Michigan, I still have no idea what to do with a Golden Gopher team who hasn't had an impressive performance yet. I kind of want to put Penn State ahead of them, but 3-0 vs. 1-2 should count for something, thus the number eight ranking.
9. Penn State: Won against Navy 34-7.
Hey, a win for Penn State! They've really looked better than their 1-2 record this season, and a reminder that contrary to popular opinion, the Nittany Lions play defense AND offense.
10. Iowa: Won against Northern Iowa 27-16.
Iowa boosted its touchdown output from one to four in their win over Northern Iowa, but Angry Iowa Running Back Hating God is real, and Damon Bullock was his latest victim. AIRBHG: crushing dreams of very specific people since 2008.
11. Wisconsin: Won against Utah State 16-14.
If you need one thought to get you to Saturday, just use the one I had last week -- no matter how dumpster-firey the Spartans' offense looked Saturday night, they're not the Badgers, who needed Utah State to miss a 37-yard field goal with less than 30 seconds left to pull out the victory.
12. Indiana: Lost to Ball State 41-39.
Last week I thought I was going to have trouble ranking the Hoosiers due to their pillowy soft schedule, but this week they did me a solid and lost to Ball State. That makes them an easy choice for the cellar, and saves me precious brain power that I'll probably use to write Landry-Lyla fan fiction. That would've been awesome, Friday Night Lights writers.