Every week during the college football season, Brent Yarina posts his latest Big Ten Power Rankings. It was a rough Week 2 for the Big Ten, as the conference struggled to a 7-5 record. As for the power rankings, they are not meant to mimic the Big Ten standings. What fun would that be? They aren’t scientific, either. They’re simply Brent’s thoughts on where each Big Ten team stands after its latest game and entering its next contest. Agree? Disagree? Tweet @BTNBrentYarina.
1. Wisconsin (2-0) – Take away the Rose Bowl, and the Badgers have won their last six games, dating back to last season, by a combined score of 321-101. That’s an average score of 53.5-16.8 per game. While Wisconsin has yet to be challenged in 2011, it sure seems like this team is carrying over last year’s dominance that led to a share of the Big Ten title.
Last week: No. 1
Next game: vs. Northern Illinois
2. Michigan State (2-0) – That’s more like it. One week after a lackluster season-opening win, the Spartans were dominant on both ends of the ball against overmatched Florida Atlantic. The defense was most impressive, with Jerel Worthy and company allowing just one first down and 48 total yards. The only worry after this victory is kicker Dan Conroy, who missed a short field goal for the second straight week.
Last week: No. 4
Next game: at Notre Dame
3. Nebraska (2-0) – Bo Pelini wasn’t very happy with the Huskers play Saturday, and for good reason. Despite several big plays, the Nebraska offense struggled – at least when Taylor Martinez wasn’t running the ball – and fumbled three times. The stout defense wasn’t so stout, either, allowing Fresno State to pile up 444 total yards.
Last week: No. 2
Next game: vs. Washington
4. Ohio State (2-0) – Toledo nearly sent Ohio State to its first loss to an instate foe since 1921. In the end, the Buckeyes fended off upstart Toledo, 27-22, to continue their Ohio dominance. But it was almost more a case of Toledo losing the game than Ohio State winning it, as the Rockets had 102 yards in penalties, failed on two field goals and gave up a special teams score. It’ll be interesting to see how Braxton Miller fits into things after getting no action Saturday.
Last week: No. 3
Next game: at Miami (FL)
5. Illinois (2-0) – One week, Illinois beats its opponent with its passing game; the next, it goes with its running game. The Illini ran for 364 yards and six touchdowns and averaged 7.3 yards per pop Saturday against South Dakota State, of the FCS. Four Illini scored on the ground, including two from freshman Donovonn Young. We’ll find out just how good this offense is when it gets it first real test against Arizona State.
Last week: No. 6
Next game: vs. Arizona State
6. Michigan (2-0) – If Denard Robinson faced Notre Dame 12 times a year, he’d win the Heisman Trophy in a landslide every time. A year after torching the Fighting Irish for 502 yards, Robinson accounted for 446 of Michigan’s 452 yards and five touchdowns. Four of the five scores came in the fourth quarter, including the game-winning touchdown pass to Roy Roundtree with two seconds left.
Last week: No. 7
Next game: vs. Eastern Michigan
T-7. Iowa (1-1) – Marcus Coker bounced back with 140 yards and two scores in Iowa’s triple-overtime defeat at Iowa State, but the sophomore back put the ball on the turf again. Considering the Hawkeyes’ lack of depth at running back, they need to cure Coker’s case of fumble-itis – even if it means having him pull a Darnell Jefferson from The Program.
Last week: No. 5
Next game: vs. Pittsburgh
T-7. Northwestern (2-0) – No Dan Persa, no problem. Backup quarterback Kain Colter is doing his best Persa impersonation, getting it done on the ground (180 rushing yards, 4 TDs) and being accurate through the air (27 for 37) in the season’s first two games.
Last week: T-8
Next game: at Army
9. Penn State (1-1) – It might be time to feed Silas Redd a lot more than the 17 carries he’s averaged in the first two weeks, because Rob Bolden and Matt McGloin are struggling to figure things out. The two combined to complete just 12 of 29 passes, including McGloin’s 1 of 10, against loaded Alabama. Both guys are capable – we saw it at times last year – so maybe we just need to give them time and more of an opportunity against a non-Alabama unit.
Last week: T-8
Next game: at Temple
10. Purdue (1-1) – The Boilermakers are 1-1 and have only outscored their two opponents, Middle Tennessee State and Rice, 49-48. Both games came down to last-second field goals that were blocked, but neither should have been close contests. Worse than the final scores, however, has been the Purdue defense, which has allowed 413 yards per game.
Last week: No. 10
Next game: vs. Southeast Missouri State
11. Minnesota (0-2) – The Gophers’ 28-21 home-opening loss to New Mexico State didn’t mean much in the grand scheme of things. All the attention goes to Minnesota coach Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure on the sideline with 20 seconds left and is reported to be in stable condition. Let’s hope Kill can come back soon.
Last week: No. 11
Next game: vs. Miami (OH)
12. Indiana (0-2) – The second-half surge of 28 unanswered points Saturday night was promising, but Indiana won’t be able to pull out many games this season if it doesn’t get any production out of the backfield (no running back has run for more than 48 yards) or if the defense doesn’t start stopping people (allowing 30.5 ppg against Ball State and Virginia).
Last week: No. 12
Next game: vs. South Carolina State