After two weeks, there is more uncertainty about where teams lie in the Big Ten than when we started. Ohio State seems to be firmly seated at the top for the moment, but preseason top-tier teams Nebraska and Michigan have been under-performing while lower teams such as Maryland and Wisconsin have been far exceeding expectations.
Over the next few weeks the middle of the Big Ten will start to settle, but the main question is who can take down Ohio State? Will it be Indiana this week?
No. 14 Rutgers (1-1, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Result: Loss at #20 Iowa 0-30
Rutgers took a disappointing shutout loss to No. 20 Iowa. Of course, Iowa is one of the better teams in the Big Ten this season, but Rutgers’ offense is one of their biggest keys to winning games this season. Their talented offensive group being shutout is something that the program has to address in the weeks to come, otherwise they will be looking at a miserable season to follow.
No. 13 Nebraska (1-1, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Result: Loss at Colorado 31-34
For all the hype surrounding Nebraska, they failed to deliver in their first real test of 2019. The Cornhuskers blew a 17-0 late 3rd quarter lead against a team projected to finish 6th out of 6 in the Pac-12 South. The next few weeks before the bye week will test Scott Frost’s bunch; the SP+ model (by ESPN’s Bill Connelly) currently has Nebraska at a 40% probability of making a bowl game.
No. 12 N’western (0-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week Result: Bye
The Wildcats’ bye week came at the right time after their season-opening loss. However, other teams in the Big Ten, such as Maryland, Minnesota, IU, and Purdue, jump above Northwestern thanks to big Week 2 performances. The Wildcats could experience a similar rise with a win over Michigan State in Week 4.
No. 11 Illinois (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Result: Win at Connecticut 31-23
The Fighting Illini improved to 2-0 on the season after 31-23 victory over UConn Saturday. This victory was the Illinois’ first non-conference road win in a dozen years with the last coming in 2007 against Syracuse. The Illini will face off against Eastern Michigan at home next week where they will be looking to start 3-0 for the first time since 2011.
No. 10 Minnesota (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Result: Win at Fresno State 38-35 (2OT)
Plenty of missed opportunities and misfires against Fresno State led to a 38-35 2OT victory. When it came to crunch time, Antoine Winfield Jr.’s interception in the end zone in double overtime sealed the victory. However, six fumbles and plenty of penalties made it a challenge that led to two overtime periods in the first place. The Golden Gophers are 2-0 after two close games and need this final tune up against Georgia Southern before traveling to West Lafayette.
No. 9 Indiana (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Result: Win against Eastern Illinois 52-0
Indiana dominated their way to a 52-0 shutout against FCS opponent Eastern Illinois last week moving their record to 2-0 on the season. This week they are hosting #6 ranked Ohio State in Bloomington and will be looking to pull off the monumental upset. If they can win it, it will be a program changing victory for the Hoosiers as they try to finally achieve that big upset they have been fighting for.
No. 8 Purdue (1-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Result: Win against Vanderbilt 42-24
Purdue bounces back from a disappointing week one loss and they turn it into an important victory over an SEC team. Vanderbilt, currently win-less on the season, kept up with the other black and gold for most of the early portions of the game, but the high octane Boilermaker offense pulled away. Purdue looks like they are back on their feet and ready for the next game where they will host TCU.
No. 7 Maryland (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Result: Win against #21 Syracuse 63-20
Maryland has put up a barrage of points during their first two games of the season. They put up 79 against Howard and then 63 this past week against #21 ranked Syracuse. The offense has been bringing it for the Terrapins and they will be looking to keep the firepower going this week in their first road game of the year against Temple.
No. 6 Iowa (2-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Result: Win against Rutgers 30-0
The Hawkeyes have outscored their first two opponents 68-14 with their most recent win being against Rutgers 30-0. Iowa’s defense held Rutgers to 125 total yards on the day and 2-for-14 on third downs. Offensively, quarterback Nate Stanley threw for 236 yards and three scores. The Hawkeyes will be on the road this week with a match-up against rival Iowa State.
No. 5 Michigan St. (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Result: Win against Western Michigan 51-17
No major surprises with the Spartans this week as they secured another easy win against Western Michigan. Michigan State has been putting together an impressive offense to pair their traditionally formidable defense. The biggest concern may be their defense that let up 17 points against WMU. Dantonio secured his 109th victory, tied for most in MSU history.
No. 4 Michigan (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Win against Army 24-21 (2OT)
Michigan needs to find some solutions to its troubles – and fast. They barely can keep up with their lesser opponents and are fast approaching a major showdown when they travel to Wisconsin. On the bright side, remember that Army was a formidable team last year only losing to a strong Duke team and No. 5 Oklahoma in Norman in an overtime thriller.
No. 3 Penn State (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Result: Win against Buffalo 45-13
The Nittany Lions had a nervy first half against the stingy Bulls, trailing 10-7 at the break. PSU turned it on after the break, as a big pick-6 by John Reid turned the tide, leading to a dominant 38-3 second half. QB Sean Clifford is off to a 6:0 QB:INT ratio in year one as a starting QB, completing nearly 70% of his passes. Next up is a home game against in-state opponent Pitt.
No. 2 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Win against Central Michigan 61-0
Wisconsin is currently outscoring opponents 110-0 this season. They are still waiting for the first opponent that can actually tally points on the scoreboard against them. The Badgers are hitting on all cylinders and they look like one of the most complete teams in the conference. However, they have yet to face any admirable competition relative to their own tier. They’ll invite a Big Ten East power Michigan in week four, but take advantage of a bye week in the immediate Saturday upcoming.
No. 1 Ohio State (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Result: Win against Cincinnati 42-0
As predicted in the 8/27 Hoosier Sound podcast football preview, Ohio State took care of business against two inferior opponents in Columbus. QB Justin Fields is off to a hot start, and RB JK Dobbins looks tougher than ever. Punter Drue Chrisman won Big Ten Special Teams Player of the Week for his punting effort against Cincinnati. The Buckeyes come to Bloomington for their first road game of the season on Saturday.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ