Week 2 Big Ten Power Rankings

The opening weekend of the 2016 College Football Season is in the history books. Several storylines from week one including No. 1 Alabama’s dominance of USC and the downfall of No. 3 Oklahoma and No. 5 LSU took center stage. There were a total of seven ranked teams losing, which is a new College Football opening weekend record.

It’s time to rank every Big Ten team based on their week one performance and outcome. With the season just starting, it’s too early to tell who the top tier teams are. So be on the lookout for the power rankings to moderately change every week. So without further ado, let’s get started.

1. Ohio State

 

Ohio State doesn’t rebuild. They reload year after year.

The Buckeyes responded to adversity right off the bat by putting up ten touchdowns after a pick-six on their opening drive, demolishing Bowling Green 77-10.

Heisman candidate quarterback J.T. Barrett made his way into the Ohio State record books, as he accounted for seven total touchdowns. That wasn’t the only shattered achievement, as the Buckeyes racked up 776 total yards, also a new school record.

The defense showcased their stacked raw potential, holding the Falcons to just 244 total yards. Ohio State’s Rodjay Burns returned the favor by recording a pick-six of his own.

The Buckeyes climbed to No. 4 in the AP Poll, looking to continue their commanding play on saturday against Tulsa.

2. Michigan

 

Lights. Camera. Harbaugh.

After participating in satellite camps in SEC country along with making unique recruiting tactics during the off-season, coach Jim Harbaugh hopes to pick up where the Wolverines left off last year by dominating on the field while embracing the spotlight off the field. It was a win-win for the second year Michigan head honcho, as the Wolverines cruised to an easy 63-3 victory over Hawaii.

Junior Wilton Speight got the nod at quarterback. Just like Barrett, Speight got off on the wrong foot by throwing a pick on his first possession. He shook it off like it was nothing en route to a solid debut by throwing for 145 yards with three touchdowns.

The Michigan defense looked like it was in midseason form, with seniors Channing Stribling and Delano Hill each recording a pick-six.

The No. 5 Wolverines look to keep on rolling as they take on UCF this weekend.
3. Wisconsin

 

The Badgers undoubtedly made the biggest statement in all of College Football in week one, slamming the door on SEC foe No. 5 LSU, 16-14.

The biggest storyline was the exceptional containment of Tigers running back Leonard Fournette. Wisconsin’s lights out defense held the heisman hopeful barely over 30 yards in the first half. Fournette did finish with 138 yards on the ground, but he could never firmly establish a consistent rhythm.

Junior kicker Rafael Gaglianone, who changed his uniform number to 27 to carry on the legacy of Nebraska punter Sam Foltz, booted the go-ahead, 47-yard field goal with just under four minutes remaining. As they’ve been doing all game long, Wisconsin’s defense rose to the occasion and forced yet another takeaway to seal the deal.

The Badgers soared up all the way to No. 10 in the AP Poll. The nation will find out soon enough if UW is worthy of being a top 10 team. The Badgers have their home opener against Akron in week two.

4. Iowa

 

Iowa is seeking to verify itself as an elite program after a stellar 12-2 season in 2015. The Hawkeyes got off to the start they were looking for, as they defeated Miami of Ohio, 45-21.

Senior quarterback C.J. Beathard looks for his Hawks to bounce back after a rough 2015 postseason. He did exactly that, tossing nearly 200 passing yards and one score in week one. Akrum Wadley carried the load for the running backs with 121 yards and two touchdowns.

Surprisingly, the RedHawks outgained Iowa in total yards, time of possession and first downs. But Miami shot themselves in the foot by coughing up the ball three times.

Let’s see how Iowa answers after their subpar scorecard against Miami, as in-state rival Iowa State marches into Iowa City.

5. Michigan State

 

Michigan State received a minor scare from Furman, as they slipped by the Paladins, 28-13.

No player on the Spartans really stood out from a statistics standpoint. New starting quarterback Tyler O’Connor had a nice outing, slinging for 190 yards and three touchdowns. Receivers Monty Madaris and Felton Davis were pleasant surprises in the passing game, while Andrew Dowell shined at linebacker with his unbelievable one handed interception.

The Spartans are not shying away from their lofty national championship goals. MSU gets a break this weekend with a bye, before colliding with rival Notre Dame the week after.

6. Penn State

 

Unlike in last year’s season opener loss against Temple, Penn State was able to take care of business this time around, downing Kent State 33-13.

Despite the departure of the all-time Penn State passing leader in Christian Hackenberg, the aerial attack didn’t miss a beat with quarterback Trace McSorley at the helm. The sophomore threw for over 200 yards with a pair of touchdowns.

The Nittany Lion defense had an overall strong showing, gathering three takeaways. They also held Kent State to five-of-17 third down conversions.

A rivalry will be renewed with Saquon Barkley and company clashing with Pittsburgh, saturday at high noon.

7. Nebraska

 

Fresno State gave Nebraska a good fight in the first half, but the Huskers pulled away in the 2nd half with a 43-10 win.

It was a very emotional season opener for the Cornhuskers, as they mourned the death of punter Sam Foltz, who was tragically killed in a car accident along with former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler in late July. He would have been the starting punter this year.

The Huskers came up just shy of the 300 yard mark on the ground, with Devine Ozigbo leading the charge with 103 yards and a pair of touchdowns. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong completed only five passes, but threw a touchdown with no turnovers.

The Huskers host Wyoming for the second time in four years this weekend.

8. Minnesota

 

Minnesota was in a much closer contest than they would have liked, surviving 30-23 against Oregon State.

Down 23-17 at the end of the third quarter, the Gopher offense saved the day by going on a 13-0 scoring run. Quarterback Mitch Leidner posted 130 passing yards and Rodney Smith added 125 yards and two scores on the ground.

The defense came up big by forcing two fumbles. They were able to stop the bleeding after a safety by holding the Beavers scoreless in the entire fourth quarter.

Minnesota looks to improve to 2-0 as Indiana State makes the trip to the twin cities.

9. Northwestern

 

Expect the unexpected in College Football.

Despite the 22-21 upset loss at home against Western Michigan, I decided not to drop the Wildcats below Illinois and Purdue. Northwestern lost to an underrated Broncos squad, with quarterback Zach Terrell eclipsing 200 passing yards.

Western Michigan overpowered the Cats in total yards, time of possession and first downs without yielding a single turnover.

Northwestern tailback Justin Jackson had yet another impressive performance by racking up 124 rushing yards and a trio of touchdowns, while also contributing towards the passing game with 47 receiving yards. But it wasn’t enough to get the W.

The Wildcats must be able to put this loss behind them with Illinois State coming to town.

10. Illinois

 

Can former Chicago Bears and first year Illinois coach Lovie Smith put the Fighting Illini back on the map? The 52-3 drubbing of Murray State is a very convincing start for this Illinois squad.

Senior quarterback Wes Lunt got off to a hot start, tossing for 226 yards and three touchdown passes. The Illini were also effective with their rushing attack, as Kendrick Foster crossed the century mark with a pair of scores.

The Illini’s energetic defense only allowed 165 total yards while forcing three turnovers. U of I also pushed the Racers backwards on the ground, as they had negative ten rushing yards.

Illinois will be seeking vengeance after a 48-14 blowout in 2015 with a rematch against North Carolina in Champaign.

11. Purdue

 

Purdue will be looking to become bowl eligible for the first time in four years this season. A 45-24 triumph over Eastern Kentucky and a bunch of star potential can only help their case.

Quarterback David Blough and running back Markell Jones paved the way to victory with 251 yards throwing and 261 yards rushing. The balanced approach made the play calling unpredictable for the Eastern Kentucky defense.

The Boilermakers defense will need to be on their A game this weekend as they take on pass happy quarterback Gunner Kiel and his Cincinnati Bearcats at Ross-Ade Stadium.

12. Maryland

 

Maryland is looking to rebound after last year’s atrocious 3-9 campaign. The Terrapins  smacked Howard 52-13, which should add a boost of confidence to this ball club.

Dual-threat quarterback Perry Hills threw for 126 yards, while the Terps ground game exploded onto the scene with 315 rushing yards.

Maryland will seek to advance to 2-0, traveling to play Florida International on Friday Night.

13. Indiana

 

Indiana just beat the FIU Golden Panthers last weekend in a decisive 34-13 win.

The Hoosiers lost several playmakers on offense from a year ago, but they have no plans on slowing down. Devine Redding carved up the Panthers defense for 135 yards on the ground.

Just like Purdue, the Hoosiers had a corresponding proportional passing attack of 240 yards, and ground game of 246 yards.

The defense was able to equal the offense’s two touchdowns with two of scores of their own. They had two pick-sixes coming from Rashard Fant and Tegray Scales.

Indiana hopes to carry their momentum into their battle with Ball State.

14. Rutgers

 

Rutgers first year coach Chris Ash didn’t exactly find the ideal start that he was looking for, as No. 14 Washington put on a clinic over the Scarlet Knights, 48-13

Rutgers surrendered three turnovers as well as only converting 25 percent of their third down situations. The Scarlet Knight pass defense was nowhere to be found as Huskies quarterback Jake Browning tossed for nearly 300 yards and three scores.

We’ll see how resilient Rutgers can be as they welcome Howard this saturday.