Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 2

SOUTH BEND, IN - SEPTEMBER 08: Theo Riddick #6 of the Notre Dame Fighting Irish is hit and upended by Will Lucas #45 (below) and Kawann Short #93 of the Purdue Boilermakers at Notre Dame Stadium on September 8, 2012 in South Bend, Indiana. Notre Dame defeated Purdue 20-17. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

It was a poor show for almost every team in The Big Ten this weekend. I spent the majority of my Saturday watching Big Ten football on my buddy's couch in Chicago/screaming at the TV while watching Purdue play. The big dawgs in this conference did not come to play this weekend, that's for sure.

However, there were a couple really good games that I managed to catch: Northwestern played very well, MSU was fun to watch, and, I can't believe I'm saying this, but I enjoyed watching the Ohio State game. These are going to be some interesting rankings this week with a lot of big shifts.

Now, let's get down to the nitty gritty of this week's rankings.

1. Michigan State (2-0. Week 1 ranking: 1)
  • The Spartans had an incredibly strong outing in their first road game of the season. Le'Veon Bell didn't run wild like he did against Boise State, but he still managed to get 70 yards and two touchdowns with only 18 carries. Junior quarterback Andrew Maxwell led the offensive charge through the passing game with 275 yards, 2 touchdowns, while going 21/30. And then there was the MSU defense, which didn't give up an offensive score the whole game. Central Michigan's only touchdown came from a pick-6 that was thrown by freshmen QB Connor Cook. The Spartan defense only allowed 245 total yards while forcing 3 turnovers and keeping the Chippewas to just 5-13 on 3rd down conversions. This weekend the Fighting Irish are coming to town. Look for MSU to put a hurting on ND in their biggest game of the season thus far. Do it for Purdue and the Big Ten, Spartans.
2. Ohio State (2-0. Week 1 ranking: 5)
  • This game had upset written all over it in the first half. UCF's defense was keeping them in the game with the Buckeyes and quarterback Braxton Miller was having trouble getting into a rhythm. The upset feeling didn't last very long, though. Miller took the game over and scored four touchdowns (3 rushing 1 passing) and finished with 296 total yards. The Buckeye secondary took a big role in keeping them in the game as well with three interceptions. OSU's defense leads the Big Ten in interceptions with 5. If their defense can keep up the work and Braxton Miller keeps thriving under Urban Meyer's scheme, then this team will be able to go places (next year).
3. Nebraska (1-1. Week 1 ranking: 2)
  • After having the game of his life against Southern Miss, Taylor Martinez was brought back to earth against the UCLA Bruin's defense. Martinez finished 17/31 for 179 yards and a pick. He did manage to rush for a touchdown and 112, but that wasn't enough to get the win in Los Angeles. Martinez shouldn't be the one to take the blame for the loss, as Nebraska's defense gave up a whopping 653 total yards to the Bruins; in their week 1 victory they held Southern Miss to only 260 yards. The Cornhuskers had trouble stopping UCLA on the ground and in the air; they have only forced two turnovers this season and have given up 913 total offensive yards. Nebraska has the talent at offense, but their defense will need to step it up if this team wants to compete at a high level.

4. Northwestern (2-0. Week 1 ranking: 10)

  • The Wildcats have jumped up tremendously in this week's power rankings after a great win against Vanderbilt. My good friend Matt Smith, who's house I was at over the weekend, is a former Boilermaker and current graduate student at Northwestern University. Matt had this to say about NU's dual-quarterback system: "They're two guys that do two completely different things, but each knows their role. Kain Colter is the athlete who starts and gives us the best chance to win overall and is a badass. But when you need to pass Trevor Siemian comes in and throws bullets all day long. Neither bitch about it and both accept their roles". The dual-quarterback system is working for the Wildcats so far. Like Nebraska, their defense will need to start holding their own against oppents if Northwestern wants to keep winning.

5. Michigan (1-1. Week 1 ranking: 4)

  • Michigan's defense struggle against the triple-option, but Heisman hopeful Denard Robinson kept the Wolverines in the game with over 400 yards of offense and 4 total touchdowns (2 running, 2 passing) while only turning the ball over once. Many thought Michigan would dominate Air Force, but obviously that was not the case. Michigan was unable to force a single turnover against the Falcons while allowing 26 points and over 400 yards of total offense. Red flags are flying everywhere for coach Brady Hoke's team. Denard Robinson showed that he is great against a lesser team; the same can't be said about Michigan's defense. Robinson will be asked to do a lot of heavy lifting for this team throughout the season to keep them in games.

6. Purdue (1-1. Week 1 ranking: 6)

  • Oh Purdue, why must you constantly break my heart? After an extremely close loss against Notre Dame where we had a few opportunities to win, Purdue remains strong at the six spot. The Boilers showed that they can go on the road to compete in a hostile environment. However, it looks like quarterback Robert Marve is going to miss some time due to an ACL injury. Despite the loss, Purdue looked good on both ends of the field; especially defense. Purdue recorded 5 sacks against the Irish while holding them to 52 yards rushing on 36 carries. Our pass defense had it's ups and downs. There was a clear mismatch with Josh Johnson covering Tyler Eifert, but Johnson did his best against the monster man. Caleb TerBush came in during the 4th quarter and led us to a comeback, but unfortunately our defense wasn't able to hold in crunch time. Next to IU, Notre Dame is my most hated school in CFB. However, the Boilers showed that they can hang on the road with a tough opponent, and with the Big Ten such a mess right now things are looking good for Purdue. It will be interesting to see how things look with TerBush taking over.

7. Minnesota (2-0. Week 1 ranking: 8)

  • The Golden Gophers had a strong outing against FCS oppenent New Hampshire. Quartberack MarQueis Gray had himself a nice game with 4 total touchdowns and 209 total yards. His most exciting play of the day came on a 75 yard TD run. With many questions surrounding their defense at the beginning of the season, the Gophers are beginning to silence some critics with the help from defensive linemen D.L. Wilhite and Ra'Shede Hageman as well as cornerback Derrick Wells. Minnesota is looking like they've improved greatly from the 3-9 team we say last year. But that's not hard to do. The next few weeks will give us a better idea of what this Minnesota team is capable of.

8. Wisconsin (1-1. Week 1 ranking: 3)

  • If you would've told me before the season started that Wisconsin would almost be shut out by a sub-par Oregon State, I would've laughed in your face. But now you would have the full right to call me an ass-hole. Wisconsin had a piss-poor outing against the Beavers with no one standing out. Heisman runner-up Montee Ball finished the game with only 61 yards on 15 carries while the Badgers as a whole could only muster up 207 yards of total offense. The Badgers did manage to hold Oregon State to only 10 points, but then again the Beavers are a mid-level Pac-10 team whereas Wisconsin is supposed to be a powerhouse. I don't think it's time for Bret Bielema and Wisconsin to hit the panic button, but they should keep it close by. Wisconsin looks to bounce back this week when Utah State comes to town.

9. Illinois (1-1. Week 1 ranking: 7)

  • The Illini had a tough challenge when they went into Arizona without starting quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase, and were inevitable outgunned. Scheelhaase is looking to return this Saturday when Charleston Southern comes to town. The Illini didn't have a lot of good come from this game, but freshman runningback Josh Ferguson looks like he may have a bright future. If Scheelhaase comes back, this team will be in a better situation. But don't get too excited about the Illini this season.

10. Iowa (1-1. Week 1 ranking:9)

  • With the Hawkeyes only scoring 6 points in their home opener loss, red flags need to be posted all over this team. Senior quarterback James Vandeberg was thought to be one of the better quarterbacks in the Big Ten at the beginning of the season, but only 365 passing yards, 2 picks, and zero touchdowns in two games. Vandenberg needs to turn this team around and start putting points on the board. On a positive note, Iowa only allowed the Cyclones to score 9 points.

11. Indiana (2-0. Week 1 ranking: 12)

  • Indiana recorded its first FBS win under new head coach Kevin Wilson, but it came with the price of starting quarterback Tre Robinson's leg. Robinson broke his leg and will be out 5-6 months. Although IU got the win, it was against sub-par competition. The Hoosiers host Ball State this Saturday, and the Cardinals always seem to give Indiana trouble. IU's win streak will be challenged over the next few weeks, and I highly doubt it will keep going.

12. Penn State (0-2. Week 1 ranking: 11)

  • What an awful year this has been for PSU and it just keeps going. Kicker Sam Ficken missed four out of his five field goals on Saturday and one of his PATs. If he had hit all these Penn State might have a win. Matt McGloin looked OK with 197 yards and two touchdowns; he was about the only one on the offense who could do anything though. The good news: Penn State forced 4 turnovers. This defense is still one of the better ones in the Big Ten. The Nittany Lions will look for their first victory as Navy comes to Beaver Stadium this Saturday.

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