Apologies for not getting these up sooner but hey, better late than never, right?
It’s hard to believe that another college football regular season is about to pass us by and that I’m about to close the books on my second annual power rankings. It sure seems like yesterday that I debuted my very first set of rankings, not sure whether I would make it a recurring segment or if I would just let it rot like a lot of other “segments” this blog has had over the past year or so. I’ve had a blast putting them together and even more so have enjoyed reading the comments (no matter inflammatory some may have been) that you, the readers posted every week in response to them.
I’d also like to take this moment to announce that come January, HHV will debut its power rankings for the Big Ten basketball season. If it’s anything like the football rankings, then it too will be a recurring segment. Time will tell, of course…
Anyway, here’s the final set of rankings for you until next year. To the fans of the bowl-eligible teams: Congratulations, I’ll be rooting for your respective teams to reverse the recent trend of Big Ten bowl struggles. If your team didn’t make it, well, better luck next year…
1. Penn State (11-1, 7-1) – Guess how many media pundits projected the Nittany Lions to be sitting in this position at the end of the year? Put your hand down, Phil Grosz
2. Ohio State (10-2, 7-1) – In light of recent events, I can promise you one thing: I don’t give a damn what the rules say, you will never, EVER, see me declare PSU “Big Ten Champs” if the team that we lost head-to-head against has the same conference record as us.
I will also go ape shit if I ever see the following displayed on the Beaver Stadium scoreboard if we end up in a situation like OSU’s.
(Image courtesy of There Is No Name On My Jersey)
3. Iowa (8-4, 5-3) – I know what you MSU fans have to say: But, but, we BEAT Iowa! Actually, you beat a Hawkeye team that had yet to discover its offense which would end up complimenting their already kickass defense. If the two teams were to meet right now, I would put all my money down on the Hawkeyes knocking off Sparty. Ricky Stanzi is a better QB than Brian Hoyer, Shonn Greene is a better tailback than Javon Ringer, and Mark Dantonio only wishes he had the same caliber of defense as Iowa’s. Plus, remind me how Michigan State fared against undoubtedly the best two teams in the Big Ten…
4. Michigan State (9-3, 6-2) – As impressed as I am with how quickly Mark Dantonio has turned things around in East Lansing, I lost a ton of respect for him after those back-to-back timeouts that he called with 9 seconds left and the game long since in the bag while the freezing fans were anxiously awaiting the presentation of the Big Ten Championship trophy. There was no need to put a damper effect on the celebration of a hard-earned and well-deserved title.
Even more disgusting was the stuff I read from MSU fans on message boards arguing that Dantonio was giving PSU a little payback for running up the score by throwing the ball in the 4th quarter. What the hell did you expect PSU to do, take a knee on every play and put in the towel boys on defense so MSU could launch another comeback and make a semi-interesting game out of a thorough domination?
If you stuff 8 or 9 guys in the box to try to stop the run and continue to play as if the game is still within reach, then the other team will do whatever they can to counter it…It’s called taking your medicine like a man.
5. Northwestern (9-3, 5-3) – Imagine, if NU hadn’t inexplicably choked at Indiana, they would be sitting pretty with a 10-2 record, raise your hands if you saw that coming…That’s what I thought.
6. Wisconsin (7-5, 3-5) – Dear Bret Bielema: You owe a Christmas card to Cal Poly’s kicker because without his multiple botched extra points, your team would be inexplicably staying home for the holidays, much like Ron Zook’s crew.
7. Minnesota (7-5, 3-5) – It’s amazing what one giant FAIL in the final seconds can do a team’s fortunes…The Gophers have reverted to their 2007 selves ever since their Miracle at the Meadowlands-style disaster against Northwestern, losing four straight games, including closing out the Metrodome (i.e. “Kinnick North”) with a bang by being on the losing end of a 55-0 pasting against Iowa.
The Caddyshack Gophers are now limping into their bowl game and desperately need a win in order to build some off-season momentum and straighten the tailspin they’re currently mired in.
8. Illinois (5-7, 3-5) – The advertisements for the season finale of Illinois Football: The Journey have all the makings of “A Very Special Episode” on a sitcom. Expect plenty of tears to be jerked as the Illini lament on their lost season that was once full of hope. And please, stay away from gangs, they’re bad news…
9. Purdue (4-8, 2-6) – Nothing like a 52-point pasting of your bitter rival to send out a coach who revolutionized Big Ten football over a decade ago. It’s a shame that Joe Tiller won’t get to experience one final bowl game before he retires to Wyoming, particularly since bowl games for Purdue were about as frequent as Star Wars geeks getting laid before he arrived. Nonetheless, Yours Truly wishes Coach Tiller a happy retirement and thanks him for being a class act and representative of the Big Ten.
Assistant coach (and Tiller look-alike) Danny Hope takes over, and the biggest question now is whether he can get Purdue back to the winning ways that fans had become accustomed to under Tiller.
10. Michigan (3-9, 2-6) – Year One of the Dick Rod era is in the books. It was the worst season in the long, rich, history of Michigan Wolverine football. However, it’s hard to believe how one can worry about something so meaningless with all the bloody starvation happening in the world…Get a life.
11. Indiana (3-9, 1-7) – Look, I realize it was Joe Tiller’s last game as head coach and that emotions were running high at West Lafayette, but that’s no excuse for your team to not even show up for its annual rivalry game. The Hoosiers looked like a team that had long ago thrown in the towel and that falls on Bill Lynch and the coaching staff. It only makes one wonder where this program would be right now if Terry Hoeppner were still alive and well, because I can tell you for sure that you wouldn’t have seen this team put together as pathetic of a performance as they put on against their rivals if Hoeppner was still the coach, nor would you have seen such a collapse from the previous year occur.
Look for Lynch to be squarely on the hot seat going into 2009 and if IU doesn’t show significant improvement from this year’s fall back to the basement, then there will be a new sherriff in Bloomington for 2010. Something tells me though that 2007’s success was “lightning in a bottle.”