|FRED SQUILLANTE | DISPATCH|
Literally the only thing keeping Ohio State atop this list, and ranked #1 in the country right now.
|FRED SQUILLANTE | DISPATCH|
|1. Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) / Even
Regardless of where they're ranked nationally, which I think is still too high, but nonetheless, until they lose to a Big Ten team, I'm still comfortable ranking them atop the league. The win against Indiana was ugly, but it was a win...which is exactly what the Buckeyes are good at finding a way to do. Are they as good as they've been hyped? No. Can they be? Of course. Having Ezekiel Elliott sure doesn't hurt. I don't know what else is standing in their way other than themselves at this point.
|2. Michigan (4-1, 1-0) / +1
Is Michigan really this good? Are they the 2nd best team in the Big Ten? I find it harder and harder to justify it any other way. Their only loss, by 7 at Utah, hardly looks like a bad loss anymore. And since then they've outscored opponents 122-14, with two shutouts in the last two games. The offense is a little sloppy at times, but I would argue it's no sloppier than the team ranked ahead of them on this list.
|3. Michigan State (5-0, 1-0) / -1
Well, when you have your foot on Purdue's neck and you let them slip out of it, that's on you Sparty. Purdue is an awful team, and they had a legit chance at winning this game, in your house, in front of whatever was left of your fans who decided to stick around to watch. Injuries are going to catch up to Michigan State sooner or later. They almost did versus the worst team in the conference.
|4. Northwestern (5-0, 1-0) / Even
Hard not to rank Northwestern above Michigan State, but usually when I start to give the Wildcats their due respect, it always comes back to bite me. Is NW's defense good? Yes. Can they easily fall off the map like they usually do after good starts? Sure. The 24-19 win vs Ball State is a little worrisome if you're an NW fan. But until they lose, I'll buy into the hype. Their D is fantastic and while their offense is not very great, their running game is at least serviceable (sound familiar?). Hard to argue that. Biggest test of the year this week in Ann Arbor.
|5. Iowa (5-0, 1-0) / +1
In a division that is just ripe for the picking, here comes Iowa. An impressive win against a Wisconsin team that doesn't really resemble past Wisconsin teams, but that's still a huge road win for the Hawkeyes. If they can waltz into Evanston and steal a win in 2 weeks, that might be enough to take the B1G west. Beat the Wildcats, and 12-0 is a real possibility. Wait...did I just type that?!?!
|6. Indiana (4-1, 0-1) / +2
A 21-point underdog, the Hoosiers gave #1 Ohio State all they could handle, and almost won the damn thing with their backup QB and RB! If that last play wasn't a botched snap, a miracle might've just happened. But as usual, the Buckeyes survived. The test now for the Hoosiers is whether they can sustain that level of play. They have some big injuries to deal with and a tough schedule ahead.
|7. Wisconsin (4-1, 0-1) / -2
Tough to win when you turn the ball over 4 times. Even though Iowa gave it back to you twice, that's still pretty bad. Wisconsin should've beat Iowa. They outgained them, had more first downs, moved the ball more effectively...but turnovers are killers both in the game and mentally. Wisconsin can and should rebound with a favorable schedule ahead.
|8. Penn State (4-1, 1-0) / +1
I don't know Penn State. When you beat Army (who turned the ball over 3 times) by 6 points but were outgained (Army ran for 261 yards) and gave up more first downs than you got, yeah, there's probably a good reason your head coach was lashing out and visibly upset in the post-game presser. Even if Penn State was in the wide-open west division, they'd still be in trouble. But they're in the loaded east division.
|9. Illinois (4-1, 1-0) / +2
Got to love what Bill Cubit is doing in Champaign right now. That was one of the biggest wins this program has seen in years last weekend. Aside from the fact that Mike Riley probably isn't the right guy for NU, Bill Cubit just might, might, be the right guy for Illinois. I really wish I could watch them take on Iowa this weekend.
|10. Nebraska (2-3, 0-1) / -3
Welp, probably shouldn't have fired Bo Pelini. I know I'm not the first one to say that. Say what you will, but no was he loses to Illinois. This is going to be a long year in Lincoln.
|11. Minnesota (3-2, 0-1) / -1
Speaking of long years, if teams like Iowa and Northwestern are going to surge, there needs to be a fall guy...and that's you Minnesota. The issues masked by wins against bad MAC teams were finally exposed by a brutal shutout at Northwestern. The funny thing about preseason hype...sometimes it's just hype.
|12. Rutgers (2-2, 0-1) / Even
Didn't play last week, mercifully.
|13. Purdue (1-4, 0-1) / +1
HEY! Almost shocked the world in East Lansing last weekend. Down by 21 and left for dead by halftime, apparently you had an overrated Michigan State team (let's be honest) right where you wanted them. This weekend the Gophers come to town in a very winnable game. No one will be watching, but could happen.
|14. Maryland (2-3, 0-1) / -1
Just terrible. 12 of their 16 drives against Michigan were 3 and outs. The ONLY thing Maryland had going for them was Michigan coughing the ball up early on keeping this thing close at halftime. Once Michigan realized they can't keep turning the ball over, Maryland was done. Rowe was another in a long line of QB's that probably questioned his love for the game after playing this Wolverine defense.
|Date||Opponent||Time - TV||Result|
|9/3||Hawaii||12:00 - ESPN||63-3|
|9/10||UCF||12:00 - ABC||51-14|
|9/17||Colorado||3:30 - BTN||45-28|
|9/24||PENN ST.||3:30 - ABC||49-10|
|10/1||#8 WISCONSIN||3:30 - ABC||14-7|
|10/8||@ RUTGERS||7:00 - ESPN2||78-0|
|10/22||ILLINOIS (HC)||3:30 - BTN||41-8|
|10/29||@ MICHIGAN ST.||12:00 - ESPN||32-23|
|11/5||MARYLAND||3:30 - ESPN
|11/12||@ IOWA||8:00 - ABC
|11/19||INDIANA||3:30 - ESPN
|11/26||@ #2 OHIO ST.||12:00 - ABC
|12/30||#11 Florida St||8:00 - ESPN||32-33|