Well, the first slate of Big Ten conference matchups start this week for most teams, time to break out my first set of power rankings. I’ll try and make this a weekly segment that will occur on Mondays or Tuesdays.
1. Ohio State – The only undefeated Big10 team that has gone on the road against a legitimate opponent in Washington, and walked away with a convincing win. That alone, earns them the #1 spot for now
2. Penn State – Michigan is the “make-or-break” game of the season: If PSU wins in Ann Arbor on Saturday and gets the 11-year-old, 600-pound gorilla off its back, I feel they could ride a wave of momentum all the way to Pasadena.
3. Wisconsin – The defense is very vulnerable and will likely be Wisky’s achilles’ heel against the Big10’s best. However, they still sport a very dangerous offense.
4. Michigan – The hangover from the App State and Oregon debacles are gone and this team knows it’s starting with a clean slate. A win over PSU on Saturday could lead them to riding a wave of momentum of their own…until OSU comes riding into town.
5. Purdue – Yeah, they haven’t played anybody but like PSU and Wisconsin they have been beating up on their weak opponents.
6. Michigan St. – The lingering effects of John L. Smith were present against Pitt this past Saturday as the Spartans shot themselves in the foot numerous times with penalties, blocked FGs, and turnovers. Fortunately for MSU, Mark Dantonio is now the coach…and Dave Wannstedt is still the coach at Pitt.
7. Iowa – Nice going Hawkeyes, do you really expect us to take you seriously as a sleeper pick to win the conference when you can’t beat an Iowa State team that lost to Kent State and a DI-AA team not named Appalachian State?
8. Illinois – A very impressive beat-down of Syracuse, even though the ‘Cuse are a team that would be in danger of relegation to DI-AA if the NCAA ran things like European soccer leagues. Now, it’s crunch-time for the Illini and for coach Ron Zook if he wants to shed the great recruiter/mediocre coach image.
9. Indiana – Jury’s still out…on where in the bottom three they will end up.
10. Minnesota – Florida Atlantic? Florida Effing Atlantic?!! I don’t care if the game was played in Boca Raton and the coaches were distracted by the happy hours with the old geezers, you don’t lose to a freakin’ Sun Belt team and not end up in the bottom of the barrel in my book. Unless of course, you’re….
11. Northwestern – New Rule: If you’re on the losing end of the other team’s futility streak-ending win, you automatically get dropped to dead last in your conference. Perhaps Jim Delaney should lend out an invite allowing Duke to become the Big Ten’s 12th team.