Big Ten Power Rankings (Week 5)

Before I get to this week’s power rankings, let’s take a slight detour to the topic of BCS rankings: If there is a single person out there who came even close to predicting that South Florida (#2), Boston College(#3), South Carolina(#6), Kentucky(#7), and Arizona State(#8) would all be holding up the Top 10 at some point in the BCS rankings, he/she should volunteer their brain to medical research. This week’s rankings only goes to show that hands-down, this has been the most parity-filled college football season in recent memory, perhaps even more parity-filled than March Madness was a couple years back when George Mason made the Final Four and you had several double-seeded mid-majors reach the Sweet 16 and beyond.

Heck, we even have a George Mason-caliber team in South Florida, whom if they win out, will be doing the unthinkable: playing for a BCS national title after barely a decade of existence as a football program. We’re talking about a program that when it first formed in 1995, had its coaches’ offices in a trailer and used the headlights for the coaches’ cars for lighting when it was necessary. The Bulls also started out playing in NCAA Division 2 in 1997 (after only practicing for two years), moved up to 1-AA in 1999, and only as recently as 2001, began playing Division 1 football. Now, in 2007, the Bulls are owning a spot that in another day and age, belonged to storied programs like Nebraska, Florida State, Florida, Ohio State, Oklahoma, LSU, USC, etc., they are the real-life version of a created team in EA Sports’ NCAA Football video game series being taken from relative sucktitude to grabbing 5-star players and winning a national championship in a few short years.

Now, Da Bulls (South Florida’ mascot) will find themselves in a very unfamiliar position: having a huge target on their backs. There couldn’t be a worse time for them to be going on the road in a nationally televised Thursday Night game at Rutgers. Time will tell if the Bulls are up for the challenge.

And now, the stuff you really wanted to read:

1. Ohio State (1) – Pop SAT Analogy question: Kent State is to Ohio State as ______ is to Penn State (I’ll give you a hint: they’re our interstate whipping boy)

2. Michigan (3) – Well, looky here! The Wolverines actually got up for an opponent not named Penn State or Ohio State…

3. Penn State (5) – In just two short weeks, the mood around the program has dramatically changed for the better. The flames in the Valley have long been extinguished and suddenly talks of upsetting Ohio State are filling everyone’s heads. Unfortunately, that dreaded “R” word is also rearing its head for the first time in a few weeks: Road Game.  Not to mention the fact that D-line/linebacker Jerome Hayes is out for the year with a torn ACL.  

4. Illinois (2) – One thing we now know about the Illini: They’re not so hot on the road either in Big Ten play. 6 points against Iowa? After we tore them up on the ground the week before? So much for potential talk about the Illini being a legitimate threat to win the conference…

5. Wisconsin (3) – Like PSU, the Badgers would just love to return to their friendly confines of Camp Randall where they can perhaps regain their swagger.

6. Purdue (6) – Still overrated.

TOOT! TOOT! Boiler Up!

7. Northwestern (8) – Survive and advance. Wildcats got their second straight Big Ten win in an OT thriller against Minny-sota.

8. Michigan State (9) – Good rebound of a blowout win against Indiana this past weekend, but it’s back to your regularly scheduled Sparty Collapse…and it starts back up in Columbus.

9. Indiana (7) – So much for my plans of calling up Kelvin Sampson and asking him what he thought of the Hoosiers’ chances against us this Saturday.

10. Iowa (10) – Until they can show me they have an offense (putting up 10 points in a win doesn’t cut it), the Hawkeyes are not going to move very far up.

11. Minnesota (11) – With the Golden Goofers clearly the Big Ten’s cellar dwellers and with the Vikings sucking almost as much, the Metrodome has become the most depressing football stadium in America right now.

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