Michigan

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 10/27

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…

  1. Michigan State.  With big brother soundly thumped, the Spartans can all but wrap up the East with a win over Ohio State.
  2. Ohio State.  The Buckeyes were up comfortably at Penn State.  So how did they end up squeaking out an overtime win?  Did they fall asleep at the wheel or were they looking ahead to Michigan State?
  3. Nebraska.  If not for a late touchdown by Rutgers, a case could be made that Ameer Abdullah beat the Scarlet Knights all by himself.  The Huskers need to avoid the temptation to look ahead to their bye week (or Wisconsin) with Purdue coming to town.
  4. Wisconsin.  Hello Wisconsin!  The Badger beatdown of Maryland drew a clear line between the top four teams and the rest of the conference.
  5. Maryland.  I’m not sure the Terps are the best of the rest – especially after getting waxed by Wisconsin.  But how can I put Iowa (lost to Maryland) or Minnesota (lost to Illinois) ahead of them?  The Terrapins need a strong victory over Penn State to keep this spot.
  6. Minnesota.  What the hell was that?  I knew that the Gophers weren’t likely to maintain their winning ways all season, but I figured they’d make it another two or even three weeks before they lost.
  7. Iowa.  The Hawkeyes start their stretch run primed to climb back up the rankings.  Or they could continue to be inconsistent…

    Alex, I’ll take “Horrible Ideas” for $1,000.

  8. Northwestern.  Technically, the Wildcats could still win the West by winning out (and Minnesota and Nebraska each picking up two losses).  Northwestern has a pillow soft schedule the rest of the way – Iowa is by far their toughest remaining conference game.
  9. Penn State.  I like the resiliency shown by Penn State in battling back against the Buckeyes (and overcoming some horrible calls).  They have the front line talent to beat Maryland, but depth will be an issue for the rest of the season.
  10. Rutgers.  The Scarlet Knights got whipped by Ohio State, thumped by Nebraska, and are a week away from a much-needed bye.  But first, they have to face the red-hot Badgers who must be licking their chops at Rutgers’s paper-thin run defense.
  11. Purdue.  The Boilers have shown they can score some points.  If they can play some defense too, they may be able to give Husker Nation a quality scare.
  12. Illinois.  The best I can figure, Illinois put on their alternative “grey ghost” uniforms, forgot they were Illinois, and managed to beat a superior Minnesota team.  I’m guessing Ohio State will remind the Illini who they really are.
  13. Michigan.  Memo to the Wolverines:  If you drive a literal stake into the heart of Spartan’s field, do it in a year where you have the talent (and coaching) to back it up.  Otherwise, it will end badly.
  14. Indiana.  Bad news:  An Illinois upset win means the Hoosiers fall into the cellar.  Good news:  Indiana’s next game is against Michigan, so they could dump the maize and blue into the basement.

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 10/20

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…

  1. Michigan State.  Another week, another convincing win.  It will be interesting to see if the Spartans overlook “big brother” Michigan for Ohio State.
  2. Ohio State.  For those keeping score at home, in Ohio State’s first games against Rutgers and Maryland, the Buckeyes won by a combined 108 – 41.  Welcome to the neighborhood!
  3. Minnesota.  The Gophers needed a late field goal to survive the game with Purdue.  Husker fans would probably like to see me punish Minnesota for that, but let’s wait and see what Nebraska does with Purdue first.
  4. Nebraska.  So much for the history of close games in the Battle for NU.  The red NU (wearing all white) overcame a slow first half to completely dominate the purple NU (wearing all black) in the second half.
  5. Wisconsin.  I was tempted to put Maryland in the #5 spot, but I can’t punish the Badgers for being idle.  That said, Wisconsin will need to take care of the Terps to keep this post (or more higher).
  6. Maryland.  The Terps beat Iowa in a classic “not as close as the final score indicates” game.  I’m not sure they’re the sixth best team in this league, but I’m also not sure they’re worse than anybody below them.
  7. English: Big Ten Conference logo since 2010.

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

    Iowa.  Are the Hawkeyes a contender for the West title?  They’re off this week before starting a five week tour of the West where 5-0 (or possibly 4-1) could get them to Indy.

  8. Northwestern.  As the second half of the Nebraska game proved, Northwestern doesn’t have upper tier talent.  But as the first half showed, the Wildcats can play good against anybody.  Their remaining conference road is probably the easiest of any West school.
  9. Rutgers.  After getting smacked around by Ohio State, Rutgers faces Nebraska for the first time since the 1920’s.  Clearly revenge will be on the Scarlet Knights’ minds when they roll into Lincoln.
  10. Purdue.  Their 1-3 conference record doesn’t show it, but the Boilermakers are likely the most improved team in the conference.  After playing 3-0 Minnesota to a one point loss, it will be interesting to see what they do with an extra week to prepare for Nebraska.
  11. Penn State.  Ohio State is putting up big points against everybody in October.  Can Penn State avoid the blowout – or possibly pull off a home upset?  Probably not, but I’ve been wrong before.
  12. Michigan.  Can the wounded Wolverines regain some lost pride and upset their little brother?  This is one of the two games left on the schedule that can save Brady Hoke’s job.
  13. Indiana.  Can the Hoosiers get to a bowl game?  They need to find three wins against a schedule of Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State, and Purdue.  It’s doable, they’ll need to get hot.
  14. Illinois.  The best sign that you’re the bottom of the league?  It’s October and speculation on your next coach has already started.

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 10/13

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…

  1. Michigan State.  The Spartans did what the top team is supposed to do:  win.  I’m not real sure what to make of Purdue hanging 31 on Michigan State, but we’ll let that slide.
  2. Ohio State.  It’s really too bad that Ohio State was off this week.  If they would have traded bye weeks with Penn State, the weekend’s Big Ten schedule would have been composed only of “original” Big Ten teams as Nebraska, Maryland, and Rutgers were all off.  But since the conference struggles with scheduling, I’m not that surprised.
  3. Minnesota.  By knocking off the Wildcats, Minnesota has claimed the title of “Surprise team in the West”.  I expect the Gophers to hold that title for the rest of the month (Purdue this week and at Illinois), before a grueling November schedule hits.  Until then, let’s reward the Gophers with the #3 spot.
  4. Nebraska.  This is a critical game in Nebraska’s season.  Coming off of a loss and a bye week, Nebraska needs to beat Northwestern to stay in the hunt for the division title.  But this series is known for close, competitive games (a cumulative difference of 1 point in the last three meetings).  The edge might be if Nebraska has home field advantage in Evanston like they did in 2012.
  5. Wisconsin.  The Badgers took care of Illinois and are rewarded with a week off before welcoming both of the new schools to the league.  This is about the time where Wisconsin really starts to hit stride.

    English: Big Ten Conference logo since 2010.

    (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  6. Northwestern.  Admittedly, I am probably punishing Northwestern a little too much for a seven point loss to Minnesota, but I’m just not sure what to make of Northwestern.  The “Battle for NU” should be a close, competitive game.
  7. Rutgers.  Rutgers enters into the hazing portion of their Big Ten initiation tour with their next three games at Ohio State, at Nebraska, and against Wisconsin.  This is where Rutgers can validate this relatively high ranking or watch it plummet.
  8. Iowa.  I still maintain that Iowa v. Maryland sounds more like a December 30th bowl game than a Big Ten Conference clash.  The Hawkeyes are in need of a good challenge, and I think the Terps could provide it.
  9. Maryland.  Let’s see how Maryland reacts to their first conference smack down as they host Iowa.  This is one of those games that helps provide clarity in the middle of the pack.
  10. Purdue.  It may seem strange to promote the Boilermakers after giving up 45 in a loss, but in a head-to-head match up with any of the schools below, I’d probably pick Purdue.
  11. Penn State.  A loss to Michigan really hurts.  Yeah, Penn State probably got screwed by the refs on another call.  (That sound you hear is Husker fans still bitter over 1982 muttering “karma”).  Regardless, these are the games that Penn State needs to win.
  12. Indiana.  Bad news: the Hoosiers get beat up by Iowa.  Worse news:  they play Michigan State this weekend.  Worst news:  on Monday, they lost their starting QB for the season.  How long until basketball season?
  13. Michigan.  A much-needed win should calm the fires over the bye week (until Sparty drops gasoline over everything).  Although I’m not a fan of the show, I appreciated Michigan’s QB corps showing their excitement for the return of “The Walking Dead”, by limping around for three hours Saturday night.
  14. Illinois.  Simply put, the Illini are the worst team in this league.  For my money, it’s not even close.


B1G Power Rankings – Week of 10/6

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…

  1. Michigan State.  The Spartans had an excellent game plan against Nebraska and executed it very well for two or three quarters before they got bored and almost lost the game.  Still, I didn’t any reason to knock them from the top spot.  Sparty probably won’t be challenged for the rest of the month.
  2. Ohio State.  Hello, Maryland.  To welcome you to the league, we’d like to light up your scoreboard with 52 points.  The Bucks get a week off to prepare for the other B1G newbies.
  3. Nebraska.  It seems odd to move a team up in the rankings when they a) lost and b) looked poor for most of the game in doing so.  In theory, I agree, but it helps that the team in front of them (Wisconsin) lost to a team that is not as good at Michigan State.  The Huskers also get a week off to prepare for the NU-NU grudge match.
  4. Minnesota.  Minnesota’s lone loss (a 30-7 beating at TCU) looks a lot better after TCU knocked off Oklahoma.  The game with Northwestern should provide some clarity as to which West division upstart is a legitimate threat.
  5. Northwestern.  So let’s get this straight:  the Wildcats allow Melvin Gordon to rush for 259 and a touchdown, and they still win?  If Northwestern is going to contend for the West title, they’ll earn it in their next three games (at Minnesota, Nebraska, at Iowa).  Get past those and they can coast to Indy.
  6. Rutgers.  I’m still not real sure what to make of Rutgers.  Four of their six games have been decided by a touchdown or less, which means they are a few bounces away from 6-0 or 2-4.  The game with Ohio State in two weeks should provide some answers.
  7. Maryland.  TheTerps got thumpedgood by Ohio State – probably out of anger inspired by Maryland’s ugly uniforms.  They get to lick their wounds for a week before taking on the Hawkeyes.

    Maryland, the Big Ten has a strict dress code. These things are clearly in violation. (image via Washington Post)

  8. Wisconsin.  So let’s get this straight:  Melvin Gordon rushes for 259 yards and a touchdown and they lose?  Look for the Badgers to take out some frustrations against Illinois.  And considering how bad the Illini rush defense is, don’t be surprised to see Gordon put up 300 yards.
  9. Iowa.  Having successfully defeated the bye week, Iowa turns their attention towards the Hoosiers.  The loser will definitely find themselves in the double digits of these rankings.
  10. Penn State.  For a team with the depth issues that Penn State has, a bye week is a welcome chance to rest and heal.  Unfortunately, their schedule has them off, at Michigan, and off again before six straight games to end the season.  That is rough.
  11. Purdue.  Look at you, Purdue!  Last year you had to wait until late November before you won a conference game.  If you could play Illinois every week you’d make the Rose Bowl!
  12. Indiana.  It’s Hoosiers v. Hawkeyes in the battle of “which team is a potential cellar dweller”.
  13. Michigan.  I’m not sure what is more surprising:  that Michigan almost won, that Brady Hoke is still employed, or that the Wolverines made it through a game without any scandals.
  14. Illinois.  Having lost to Purdue, Illinois’ best chance for a conference win will be hoping that Penn State is so beat up on Nov. 22 that they can steal a W.  Until then, I’m not seeing much hope for the Illini.

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 9/29

We’re back for another B1G season!  Throughout the 2014 season, I’ll be ranking the Big Ten schools 1-14.  In case you missed my pre-conference season predictions, click here.  As always, if you think I’m right, wrong, or clinically insane, let me know in the comments.

Prepare to disagree…

  1. Michigan State.  The Spartans crushed three inferior non-conference opponents and lost to a top 5 team by 19 points.  That really doesn’t tell me how good they are, but I still think they are the class of the conference.
  2. Ohio State.  I’ll admit that the Buckeyes are ranked this high partially based on reputation.  Another part is the sweet take down of a fan by their strength coach.  But since that former Buckeye linebacker has exhausted his eligibility, we should learn a lot about this team when they travel to Maryland to officially welcome the Terps to the league.
  3. Wisconsin.  Much like Michigan State, we really don’t know too much about the Badgers.  They too have beaten up the non-con opponents they should beat and barely lost to a top 15 team.  But with Wisconsin, they may not be tested until the end of October.
  4. Nebraska.  Yeah, the Huskers are probably too low, but I’ve been underwhelmed with the teams they have played.  Don’t worry, the Huskers will have every opportunity to make a big jump Saturday night in East Lansing.
  5. Maryland.  Kudos to the Terrapins on being the first B1G expansion team to win their debut since Penn State.  Granted, it was against Indiana, but it still counts.  To go 2-0, they’ll need to beat Ohio State at home.
  6. Minnesota.  A lot of attention has been paid to Michigan practically giving away tickets to watch the Gophers, as well as the tire fire surround that program.  Meanwhile, few are giving credit to Minnesota for going into Ann Arbor and taking care of business.  That is what teams in the upper half of the conference are supposed to do.

    “You are looking live at the Big House in Ann Arbor, MI”

  7. Iowa.  Like the Gophers, Iowa faced a struggling team on the road in a stadium that was below capacity.  But beating Purdue by two touchdowns is not as impressive to me.
  8. Northwestern.  Raise your hand if you saw the 29-6 win over Penn State coming.  No, seriously.  Are the Wildcats going to rally from a 1-2 start to put together a strong season?  Well…let’s wait until after they play Wisconsin before making any declarations.
  9. Penn State.  Bad news:  with a bye week coming up, the Nitany Lions have to chew on that Northwestern loss for two weeks.  Good news:  Penn State’s next opponent is Michigan, so they probably can take most of this week off.
  10. Rutgers.  I feel like I have Rutgers too low as their only loss was by three points at Penn State in their conference debut.  We probably won’t learn too much until October 18 (at Ohio State) as the Scarlet Knights do not play anybody the next two weeks.  Oops…my bad.  Rutgers hosts Michigan this week.  Same difference.
  11. Indiana.  Who is this team?  Are they the ones who beat a ranked SEC team (even if it was Missouri)?  Or are they the ones who lost their conference opener by three touchdowns?
  12. Purdue.  Once again, the Boilermakers again find themselves in their familiar 12th place slot.  The good news is there are now 14 teams in the conference.  So they’ve got that going for them.  Of course, losing to Illinois next week will change that in a hurry.
  13. Michigan.  What a rough week for the Wolverines.  First the buy two Cokes, get two tickets promotion made the program a national laughingstock.  Then, they look bad at home against Minnesota.  Now, there are big questions about Brady Hoke putting his players in risk.  If Hoke is still employed on November 1, (they host Michigan State on 10/25) it will be a minor miracle.
  14. Illinois.  With all that said, why aren’t the Wolverines in last place?  Like Michigan, Illinois is a bad team with a coach unlikely to be employed in 2015.  But here is the key difference:  Michigan has enough talent on their roster to squeak out a win on athleticism alone.  Illinois is rather devoid of talent – especially at the skill positions – and their defense is giving up an average of 35 points a game.

2014 Big Ten Predictions

The Big Ten conference season kicks off in full today.  It’s time to predict how the teams will finish in each division.

This is an exciting year for the conference.  Not because of the two new teams (I want to say Maryland and Rutabaga?), but because we are finally done with the very pompous – and incredibly unhelpful – Legends and Leaders divisions.  Giving in to common sense at last, Jim Delaney has gone with simple, geographic divisions.  Let’s start in the West.

West Division

  1. Wisconsin.  I don’t necessarily think the Badgers are the best team in the division, but they do have some good talent led by RB Melvin Gordon.  Most importantly, the de facto division championship game against Nebraska is in Madison.  That game will likely decide who gets to go to Indianapolis.
  2. Nebraska.  The Cornhuskers have strong candidates for Big Ten Offensive and Defensive Player of the Year (RB Ameer Abdullah and DE Randy Gregory, respectively).  They have strong talent as most of the other positions, and Bo Pelini appears to be turning a corner as a coach.  So why is NU not in the top spot?  There are concerns about depth (the defense looked rather ordinary without Gregory), but mostly it is about Big Red’s schedule.  Road games at Michigan State, Wisconsin, and Iowa all will prove challenging.
  3. Iowa.  Speaking of schedules, the Hawkeyes likely have the easiest path to the title.  The concern with the Hawkeyes is they may not have the arsenal to match Wisconsin and Nebraska.  That said, Iowa tends to be a much better team in November than they are in September.
  4. Minnesota.  The Gophers took some big strides in 2013, including an impressive win over Nebraska and bowl appearance.  The next step is to finish in the top half of the division.  I don’t know if Minnesota has the pieces to do that, but they are capable of beating anybody in the division.
  5. Northwestern.  Admittedly, the last three spots are a bit like picking the prettiest wart on a frog.  I’m not sure that Northwestern is the prettiest, but I think Pat Fitzgerald is the best coach of the bottom three.  That counts for something, right?
  6. Illinois.  The Illini have not been very impressive so far in 2014, and their 3-1 record has been done largely with smoke and mirrors.  Yet, they get the benefit of the doubt for not  being Purdue.
  7. Purdue.  This team was the worst of the Leaders, and I feel confident in saying that they will be the lest of the West – unless Illinois is really, really bad.

East Division

  1. Michigan State.  The Spartans are easily the best team in the conference, and despite the loss to Oregon, they should not be ruled out of the CFB playoff – especially if they dominate the conference offensively and defensively.
  2. Ohio State.  Truth be told, I’d really like to put Penn State here, but Urban Meyer and the Buckeyes have a stellar conference record the last few years.  Until it’s proven they cannot keep winning Big Ten games, I’m giving them the benefit of the doubt.
  3. Penn State.  New coach James Franklin is the rock star of the conference, and his team is playing with his confidence and swagger.  QB Christian Hackenberg is developing into a top flite quarterback, but the sanctions will hurt depth over the long haul of a season.
  4. Rutgers.  Admittedly, I know very little about the new kids on the block.  But Rutgers (I want to say they are the Scarlet Pumpernickels?) has played well in their first four games, including a narrow loss to Penn State.
  5. Indiana.  Here’s something you don’t see every day:  The Hoosiers easily have the best win in the B1G non-conference season (a victory over a ranked SEC team, no less).  Even if that SEC team is Mizzou, it’s still a big feather for a conference that needs all the positive praise it can get.  Now, will that translate into conference success?  I’d like the Hoosiers’ chances much more if they were in the West.
  6. Maryland.  Like Rutgers, I’m not very familiar with Maryland (if only I had done that ACC power ranking last year…).  Like Rutgers, Maryland has also played well in their first four games, although losing to West Virginia may be telling.
  7. Michigan.  The good news from Michigan’s non-conference slate:  they did not lose to FCS Appalachian State.  The bad news:  pretty much everything else.  Things are going to get much worse in Ann Arbor before they get better.  Big Ten fans outside of Ann Arbor should try to stifle their smiles.

Big Ten Championship:  If these predictions hold to form, we’re looking at Michigan State and Wisconsin matching up in Indy.  I like the Spartans to win by 17 points.

Dark horse prediction:  Nebraska and Ohio State face off in an epic battle ending in a heartbreaking loss for Husker fans.

B1G Power Rankings – Final

Throughout the 2013 season, I’ll be ranking the Big Ten schools 1-12.  Click here to see where your team was ranked last week.

Prepare to disagree…

  1. Michigan State.  (High: 2, Low: 4).  Personally, I don’t think the Spartans are the best team in the Big Ten (I think Ohio State would beat them six or seven times out of ten), but give credit to Sparty for making it through the B1G slate unscathed and winning the game that mattered most.
  2. Ohio State.  (High: 1, Low: 2).  It is hard to feel bad for the Buckeyes, but consider that in the non-expanded Big Ten (i.e. before Nebraska and the championship game) Ohio State is preparing for the BCS title game.  Hopefully Urb got to enjoy the garlic butter sauce with that leftover Papa John’s pizza.

    Mmm…tastes like losing.

  3. Wisconsin.  (High: 2, Low: 3).  Even with that head-scratching home loss to Penn State on Senior Day, the Badgers finish third.  The Badgers have to be licking their chops for their new home in the B1G West.
  4. Iowa.  (High: 4, Low: 9).  I’ve taken my fair share of shots at the Hawkeyes for being mediocre, and I’m man enough to admit that I was wrong.  Yes, the Hawks are 8-4 (and at 5-3, a distant second in the Legends), but consider:  Iowa’s four losses are to teams that are a combined 45 – 6 on the year.  Had Northern Illinois not lost in the MAC title game, three of Iowa’s losses would have been to BCS bowl schools.
  5. Nebraska.  (High: 4, Low: 7).  8-4 ties Iowa for the fourth best record in the conference.  Given the number of key injuries, self-inflicted miscues, and first year defensive starters, 8-4 isn’t bad.  Heck most of the schools on this list would gladly 8-4.  But in Nebraska, 8-4, almost got Bo Pelini fired.
  6. Minnesota.  (High: 4, Low: 12).  The Golden Gophers should be proud of their season – how they fought through adversity and put together a solid 8-win season.  I’m curious to see if this is the start of something or a flash in the pan.
  7. Penn State.  (High: 5 Low: 9).  While we’re giving credit, let’s be sure to recognize Penn State.  Despite being shorthanded due to sanctions, the Nittany Lions put together another strong season.  If they can hold onto coach O’Brien, PSU should be in great strength when they are back to full strength.
  8. Michigan.  (High: 2, Low: 8).  Part of the negative national image surrounding the Big Ten is the underwhelming performances of some of their marquee teams.  Nebraska had four double-digit losses.  Penn State is still fighting through the Sandusky sanctions.  And then, there is Michigan.  Five losses (and that near miss with Akron).  Don’t read too much into the near miss against OSU – rivalry games produce strange results.
  9. Indiana.  (High: 6, Low: 10).  The Hoosiers showed some signs of life at times.  They aren’t ready to contend yet (unless Michigan State’s defense decides to transfer), but they are moving in the right direction.
  10. Northwestern.  (High: 3, Low: 11).  He’d never say it publicly, but you know Pat Fitzgerald would love to know where his team would finish had they avoided injuries to so many key players.
  11. Illinois.  (High: 9, Low: 11).  This is one of those schools (like Missouri in the 80s and 90s) that really should be doing more with what they have.
  12. Purdue.  (High: 11, Low: 12).  If this was European soccer, the Boilermakers would be relegated to the MAC, and Northern Illinois would move up.

How did I do on my predictions at the start of conference play?  The good news is that I nailed the Leaders Division, 1 through 6.  Nostra-freaking-damous.

The bad news?  Aside from Michigan State and Nebraska, I completely flip-flopped the rest of the division as my 5th and 6th place teams (Iowa and Minnesota) finished 2nd and 4th, and my 2nd and 4th place teams (Michigan and Northwestern) finished 5th and 6th.

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 11/18

Throughout the 2013 season, I’ll be ranking the Big Ten schools 1-12.  Click here to see where your team was ranked last week.

Prepare to disagree…

  1. Ohio State.  Buckeye kicker Drew Basil should be icing his leg now in preparation for all of the kickoffs and extra points he’ll attempt against Indiana’s horrific defense.
  2. Wisconsin.  This year’s battle for Paul Bunyan’s Axe might be one of the most evenly matched contested in 10-20 years.

    Adrenaline fueled 20 year olds and axes. What could possibly go wrong?

  3. Michigan State.  Why is the (presumptive) Legends champ third?  Having just watched Sparty in person, I’m not terribly impressed with them.  Put it this way:  if Nebraska reduces their five turnovers down to say, three, the Huskers are sitting in the #3 slot.
  4. Minnesota.  Here’s a sentence I never thought I’d type in late November:  the Gophers are still alive to win the division.  Granted they must beat Wisconsin and Michigan State (and have Sparty lose to Northwestern), but stranger things have happened – like Minnesota having the third best record in the league.
  5. Nebraska.  It’s 2003 all over again as Husker Nation is divided on if Bo Pelini should stay or go.  But if the team isn’t ready to play against Penn State or Iowa (or has another five turnover game) the decision A.D. Shawn Eichort faces becomes a lot easier.
  6. Penn State.  The home finale for the Nittany Lions and arguably their best chance to finish the season with a winning record.
  7. Michigan.  Who is this team, and what have they done with Michigan Football?
  8. Iowa.  In a normal year, Iowa’s best chance of beating Michigan would be to hope the Wolverines were looking ahead to Ohio State.  This year it is more about whichever team shows up.
  9. Indiana.  A fun two week stretch as the Hoosiers will see the best team in the conference (Ohio State) and arguably the worst (Purdue).
  10. Northwestern.  At what point does the Northwestern narrative switch from being “unbelievably unlucky” to “just not that good”?  The craziest part is with two wins (over Michigan State and Illinois) they could make the entire Legends Division bowl eligible.
  11. Illinois.  Brace yourselves and avert your eyes as Illinois and Purdue clash in the Bottom Feeder Bowl.  Personally, I’ll be rooting for Purdue just for the sake of preserving 0-7 Illinois vs. 0-7 Northwestern next week.
  12. Purdue.  Okay Boilers, I’ve had you in the cellar all year long.  Here is your chance to escape.  Try not to trip, get lost, or walk into the wall.

B1G Power Rankings – Week of 11/11

Throughout the 2013 season, I’ll be ranking the Big Ten schools 1-12.  Click here to see where your team was ranked last week.

Prepare to disagree…

  1. Ohio State.  I’m pretty sure the game of “how many style points will Urban try to score” will be more interesting than the game of “Ohio State vs. Illinois”.  Anything under 50 is likely a disappointment.
  2. Wisconsin.  The Badgers move back up to #2 after winning one of the best non-conference games by a B1G school.  (Other finalists, btw:  Michigan 41, Notre Dame 30; Illinois 45, Cincy 17; Ohio State 40, Buffalo 20)
  3. Michigan State.  If MSU can win in Lincoln, they win the Legends.  But a loss doesn’t put them out of the running.  Fortunately Sparty got an extra week to get ready.
  4. Minnesota.  Give the Gophers a week off to savor and enjoy their four game run and national ranking.  They may will not win again until their bowl game.
  5. Nebraska.  Yes, the Huskers did not beat your father’s Michigan, but that is a game the Big Red would have lost a month ago. Now, can they find a way to beat Sparty to take control of the division?  Or will they need to recruit healthy offensive linemen from the crowd?
  6. Iowa.  Since beating Purdue tells us nothing about how good (or not good) Iowa is, the Mendoza line climbs up to #6 this week.

    Purdue is best known for: a) World’s largest drum, b) Being my largest punchline?

  7. Penn State.  The Nittany Lions have a Purdue walk-thru to help them get ready for two big games with Nebraska and Wisconsin.
  8. Michigan.  Have the Wolverines really lost three of their last four conference games?  If Michigan played Minnesota again tomorrow, the score would still be 42-13, just with Michigan on the losing side.
  9. Northwestern.  The Wildcats must beat Michigan to have any hope of not finishing last in the Legends.  There is a good chance that might happen.
  10. Indiana.  It’s rare to see such separation between the #10 and #11 teams in a twelve team conference.  But a 52-35 win by the Hoosiers does just that.
  11. Illinois.  If I’m Illinois, I completely look past the Ohio State game and focus on beating Purdue for the right to finish 5th in the Leaders.
  12. Purdue.  I’m tempted to include Rutgers and Maryland in the rankings this year, just so I can put Purdue even lower than 12th.

Big House, Big Win

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Feit Can Write

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