We’re back for another B1G season! Throughout the 2014 season, I’ll be ranking the Big Ten schools 1-14. To see where your team was ranked last week, click here. As always, if you think I’m right, wrong, or clinically insane, let me know in the comments.
Prepare to disagree…
- Ohio State. With a big of scare against lowly Indiana, the Buckeyes get to play their hated rivals with the knowledge that a big win can only help them in the eyes of the playoff committee. In other words – look for Urban to run it up if he gets the chance.
- Michigan State. The Spartans are still the second best team in this league – although a game against the Badgers or Gophers would sure be entertaining in a Big Ten kind of way..
- Wisconsin. After eliminating Iowa from contention, the Badgers get to play Minnesota for the West Division crown. And the game is in Madison. Have we mentioned how well Wisconsin’s schedule (both teams and locations) has played out this year?
- Minnesota. The Gophers aren’tjaw-droppingly good at any position, but they error free, fundamentally sound football. They beat you, not themselves. If anybody is going to steal the division on the road, it’s Jerry Kill’s bunch.
- Nebraska. Are the wheels falling off in Lincoln? There is a part of me that feels 5th is too high for where the Huskers are at mentally and physically. A repeat of last year’s Iowa game (and antics) will have Bo looking for a new job.
- Maryland. A win over fellow newbie Rutgers would give Maryland a very impressive 8-4 mark in their first Big Ten season, and could signify the start of something big out east.
- Iowa. Iowa’s Jekyll & Hawkeye season rolls on with a tough home loss to the hated Badgers. They will be ready and willing to take out their frustrations on a Nebraska team that is reeling.
- Penn State. It is a good thing that Penn State is already bowl eligible, because I don’t think they will win against Michigan State.
- Michigan. A year ago before the Michigan-Ohio State game I said “As bad as Michigan has looked this month, I don’t see them getting blasted by their rivals. Heck, I wouldn’t be shocked if the Wolverines pull the upset.” That probably won’t happen, but wouldn’t be fun if Michigan wrecks Ohio State’s playoff hopes (and gets bowl eligible in the process)?
- Northwestern. The stakes are high when Northwestern plays in-state rivalry Illinois this week. The winner gets to go to a bowl game. The loser may be conducting a coaching search. Okay…those may not exactly be “high” stakes, but as big as a battle for 5th place in the Big Ten West can be.
- Illinois. When I saw the Fighting Illini play in person back in September, I would have said it will take two or more years for that program to get to six wins. But they can go bowling with a win over Northwestern. Give credit for the improvement this team has shown.
- Rutgers. I’m all for conference pride and having teams represent the B1G in bowl games, but I really hope Rutgers does not get an invite. The six teams they have beaten so far are a combined 23-42. Should they beat Maryland this weekend, it will be their only win over a team with a winning record.
- Purdue. Yes, the Boilermakers have a head-to-head win over Illinois, but that is Purdue’s only conference win. They haven’t been within 18 points of anybody since a 39-38 loss to Minnesota in mid-October.
- Indiana. I was really, really hoping the Hoosiers would have held on for the upset over Ohio State (they led in the 3rd quarter) if for no other reason than to say that they beat the champs of the Big Ten East and SEC East. Oh well. But they’ll always have Mizzou…