Big Ten power rankings after Week 2: Sifting through the top teams

Big Ten power rankings after Week 2: Sifting through the top teams

There weren’t many top matchups for Big Ten teams in Week 2.

Four of the 14 teams played FCS-level teams, while five played Group of Five programs. Five others played Power Five programs.

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The most visible was Nebraska‘s road game at Colorado, where the Huskers did not keep it a one-score game as we’re used to seeing. On Fox’s premier noon time slot, the Buffaloes proved they are for real by dominating the hapless Huskers. Iowa bested Iowa State, Purdue got into the win column vs. Virginia Tech, and Illinois got embarrassed on Friday night by Kansas in a game that wasn’t as close as the score indicates.

Ohio State and Michigan both beat their opponents 35-7 in games that were somehow wildly different. Penn State manhandled Delaware, Indiana did the same with Indiana State, Northwestern surprisingly blew out UTEP, and MSU did the same to Richmond.

With all that said, here are our latest Big Ten power rankings following Week 2.

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Previous: 12

After narrowly beating Toledo in Week 1, Illinois got embarrassed by Kansas on the road on Friday night. The score wasn’t nearly as close as indicated, the defense was not good, and nor was the offense. This is a shell of the team we saw last yar and it wouldn’t surprise to see the Illini win only a few more games — if that.

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Previous: 11

Week 1 was a hard-fought loss, Week 2, not so much. Colorado proved it’s at least kind of for real by taking away the Huskers’ manhood, no longer letting Nebraska slide by losing a one-score game. The defense didn’t hold up except in the run game, and the offense’s 14 points was too little, too late.

This is likely set to be a long year in Lincoln as Matt Rhule puts the pieces back together.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Previous: 14

Northwestern beat UTEP, 38-7, and looked better than it has in over a year. Credit where credit’s due there, but the Wildcats have to string together a few wins before they’re out of the Big Ten cellar.

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Previous: 13

Ryan Walters gets his first win as the Boilermakers’ head coach, and he did so on the road against a Power Five opponent. However, Virginia Tech has some massive problems of its own as of late. Credit to Purdue, however, for managing both a competent passing and run game. These were steps in the right direction after losing to Fresno State ( in Week 1.

Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports

Previous: 10

It still seems as if something is missing in Minneapolis. While the defense was stellar, and so was the run game, Minnesota was in a halftime fight with Eastern Michigan — a good MAC-level opponent. Athan Kaliakmanis still appeared to be pedestrian and it’s unclear what the Gophers will do when they face a worthwhile opponent.

Rick Janzaruk-Herald-Times

Previous: 9

Don’t start breaking out the ‘9Windiana’ banners just yet, but Indiana looked a heckuva lot better playing against FCS school Indiana State on Friday night. While there were a handful of plays that the Hoosiers certainly want back, they mostly dominated the lesser school, as a Big Ten team should.

It was a step in the right direction, at least. And quarterback Brendan Sorsby looked a lot more competent.

Photo: Lansing State Journal

Previous: 8

Noah Kim might look like the answer for MSU at quarterback as he threw for 292 yards and three touchdowns. The defense, long thought to be a weakness, held Richmond to under 200 yards of total offense. The big caveat: Richmond is a not-so-good FCS squad.

We’ll have more answers when it comes to the Spartans next week when they host Washington.

Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Previous: 7

Is Rutgers…fun? It certainly seems like that may be the case.

For the second straight week, the Scarlet Knights looked beyond competent, perhaps like a Big Ten team. Gavin Wimsatt excelled at quarterback, but it was the run game that really took off. Kyle Monangai had 165 yards and a touchdown on the ground as part of the 254 yards amassed through rushing. This may not be an easy team to take down.

Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

Previous: 4

Wisconsin gets some credit for going on the road to face a decent Power Five team in Washington State, but it did lose, 31-22. Tanner Mordecai managed 278 yards but the run game was abysmal and very un-Wisconsin-like, with only 90 yards total. With three fumbles between Mordecai and running back Chez Mellusi, turnovers were the story of the game.

Still, Wisconsin is still probably an upper-tier Big Ten team, though it’s going to have some growing pains with a new coaching staff and new identity.

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Previous: 5

It wasn’t pretty, but Maryland ultimately hung on after coming back from a 14-0 deficit to Biff Poggi’s Charlotte. The run game was the star and while Taulia Tagovailoa threw for nearly 300 yards, he also threw two costly interceptions.

This team doesn’t seem much different than previous iterations, but it found a way to win, no matter the opponent.

Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Previous: 6

In typical Iowa fashion, the Hawkeyes didn’t amass a staggering amount of points, but they got the job done against a rival. Cade McNamara managed only 123 yards through the air while the run game got 112 yards. But it was the defensive performance that, once again, carried Iowa to victory over Iowa State.

This is how Iowa has tended to win and it’s firing on the cylinders it’s known to have.

Adam Cairns-Columbus Dispatch

Previous: 4

The Buckeyes move up a spot after Wisconsin fell, but they overall looked better, albeit against an FCS opponent. Don’t get us wrong, the game was 14-7 after the first quarter and the run game was still wanting. But the long touchdowns through the air returned with Marvin Harrison Jr. looking like the star he is once again after a horrid Week 1.

There are still a lot of questions about this team with quarterback still being one of them.

Dan Rainville-York Daily Record

Previous: 2

The run game was the feature of Penn State’s second win of the year, as the overmatched FCS opponent, Delaware, did manage an early 66-yard touchdown to cut the lead to 14-7, before getting eviscerated. Drew Allar had an efficient outing, but with pedestrian numbers, because Kaytron Allen proved to be the best weapon on the field, amassing 103 yards on 19 carries.

Penn State warranted strong consideration to move into the top spot, but given the level of opponent, it remains at No. 2.

Photo: Isaiah Hole

Previous: 1

In a game not too dissimilar from Week 1, Michigan jumped out to a commanding lead thanks to an incredibly accurate day from QB J.J. McCarthy while the ground game was just OK and the defense was stellar. Blake Corum did get three touchdowns while Roman Wilson managed two. UNLV didn’t score until late when the Wolverine reserves were in.

Michigan did nothing to lose its top spot no matter what other teams around it did.

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