The Big Ten had a very rough week, going 6-5 after looking like an incredible deep conference that could rival the SEC. Many teams are left reeling in the realization they will have correct these issues before conference play really starts to kick off next week. Ohio State looks to be firmly planted at the top while the next level being split between Wisconsin, Penn State, Michigan and Iowa. There is still a lot of play to decide where the dust will settle for the remainder of the Big Ten.
No. 14 Rutgers (1-1, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Result: Bye
After a rough loss at Iowa, Rutgers had a week to watch film and regroup as much as possible before wrapping up their non-conference with a game against Boston College, who themselves just lost to Kansas at home. Rutgers has one very big opportunity in front of them before they are thrown into the Big Ten East gauntlet, with their first Big Ten game on 9/28 at Michigan.
No. 13 Illinois (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Result: Loss against Eastern Michigan 34-31
The Fighting Illini fell to Eastern Michigan on a 24-yard field goal as time expired, giving Illinois their first loss of the season. This loss was a tough one for Lovie Smith’s team as they were trying to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 2011. Illinois will be looking to start conference play off with an upset as they will be hosting Nebraska next week.
No. 12 Indiana (2-1, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Result: Loss against Ohio State 51-10
Indiana displayed a big difference in their play against Ohio State than their first two opponents. The Hoosiers were overwhelmed from the start and could not keep the Buckeyes from lighting up the scoreboard, getting outscored 44-7 in the last three quarters of play. All three phases of Indiana’s game were having trouble getting anything to work against the number six team in the country. Indiana will face UConn next Saturday for their last non-conference game before Big Ten play gets into full swing.
No. 11 N’western (1-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week Result: Win against UNLV 30-14
Northwestern’s victory over UNLV today ensured every Big Ten team won at least one game this year. The running game worked to perfection, but QB Hunter Johnson had his struggles once again. The five-game-in-six-week gauntlet for Northwestern starts next Saturday. The matchups: MSU, at Wisconsin, at Nebraska, Ohio State, and Iowa.
No. 10 Purdue (1-2, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Result: Loss against TCU 34-13
Purdue already has its second loss on the season with a game that was mostly one-sided against TCU. Purdue still has a lot to prove and there is not quite a verdict on Jeff Brohm’s team. Despite having a number of star players on the roster that looked good on Saturday, there are still many outstanding questions for the Boilermakers to answer as they head straight into conference play.
No. 9 Maryland (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Result: Loss at Temple at 20-17
In their third game, the Terps could not match their offensive output displayed the first two weeks. They put up just 340 total yards and went 5-for-21 on third downs as well as 1-for-6 on fourth downs. The defense was able to acquire two safeties on the scoreboard, but the offensive rushing attack was stopped at the goal line at the end by the Temple defense. With this performance, Maryland may fall out of the Top 25 after just breaking in, and with a week off they will need to be ready for their matchup against Penn State in two weeks.
No. 7 (Tie) Minnesota (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Result: Win against Georgia Southern 35-32
Minnesota is one of four 3-0 teams in the Big Ten and one of six of the undefeated teams in the conference, but they have a lot of concerns. Another down-to-the-wire win over a vastly overmatched Georgia Southern does not inspire confidence, as Big Ten conference play starts next week with a trip to Purdue. Fortunately, they will ease into conference play with games against Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, and Rutgers before playing 4 of their last 5 weeks against ranked B1G teams.
No. 7 (Tie) Nebraska (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Result: Win against Northern Illinois 44-8
Under the lights in Lincoln, Scott Frost’s squad stomped a tough NIU team to exact a little revenge for the defeat the Huskies handed to the Huskers in 2017. Nebraska accumulated 525 total yards, and QB Adrian Martinez had his first interception-free game of the season. Next for Nebraska is a primetime tilt at Illinois, before facing the Buckeyes at home.
No. 6 Michigan St. (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Result: Loss against Arizona State 10-7
A penalty negating the game-tying field goal and a lackluster offensive performance send the Sun Devils home with a statement win against Michigan State. MSU will have to clean up their execution before playing Northwestern next week. Losing a game with almost double the total yards and first downs is going to sting.
No. 5 Iowa (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Result: Win at Iowa State 18-17
Iowa extended their winning streak over Iowa State to five games after a low scoring affair Saturday. The Hawkeyes put up just three field goals through three quarters witth their first touchdown coming with over 12 minutes to play off a Nate Stanley run. A Keith Duncan 39-yard field goal with under five minutes remaining would be enough to take the lead over the Hawkeye’s rival. Iowa will be off next week with their next matchup being Sept. 28 against Middle Tennessee.
No. 4 Michigan (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Bye
Michigan received a much needed bye this week in its preparation for its showdown against the Badgers. They need a statement win to prove they can compete with the rest of the country’s elite teams. Unfortunately, Wisconsin also had a bye this week so they will be equally prepared for the showdown in Madison.
No. 3 Penn State (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Result: Win against Pittsburgh 17-10
It wasn’t pretty, but Penn State sits at 3-0 after another home win. Once again, the Nittany Lions started slow, but their defense pitched a shutout in the second half against in-state rival Pitt. QB Sean Clifford didn’t have the best numbers, but he continued his pick-free start to the season. A bye week comes next for PSU, followed by their first road game, a Friday night affair at Maryland on 9/27.
No. 2 Wisconsin (2-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Result: Bye
With such a bad week for the Big Ten, the Badgers benefit from not playing anyone. On the season, the Badgers have not yet given up a single point on defense and they are currently averaging 55 points per game offensively. They will be immediately tested when they host a ranked Michigan team next Saturday.
No. 1 Ohio State (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Result: Win at Indiana 51-10
Ohio State passed its first road test with flying colors, routing Indiana 51-10. “There’s about eight teams in the country that look like those guys do,” IU head coach Tom Allen said. The Buckeyes have run for 237, 270, and 314 yards in each of their first three games, respectively. Ryan Day’s team looks like the team to beat in the conference.