Dienhart: Bell, Spartans top Big Ten Power Rankings

It’s Sunday, and that means it’s time for my weekly Big Ten Power Rankings. Where does your Big Ten team fall on my list following Week 1 action? See in this post. Disagree with my rankings? Leave your thoughts in the comment box at the bottom of the post or tweet me @BTNTomDienhart. Read all my Big Ten coverage here, and don’t forget to send me any questions you may have for my weekly Big Ten Mailbag.

[BTN.com: See Brent Yarina’s Week 2 Big Ten Player Rankings]

1. Michigan State. No, the 17-13 victory over Boise State wasn’t pretty. But the Spartans found a way pull out a workmanlike victory over a quality foe. The defense looks to be as good as I thought, and Le’Veon Bell may be the top running back in the Big Ten. But if this team is going to be as good as I think it can be, the passing game needs to develop. And, I think it will behind Andrew Maxwell now that he has a game under his belt.
Up next: at Central Michigan

2. Ohio State. After a slow start, the Buckeyes got rolling in a 56-10 triumph over Miami (Ohio). QB Braxton Miller remains a dynamic runner, setting a single-game rushing mark for a Buckeye quarterback with 161 yards. But his passing still has something to prove. However, it looks like this receiving corps has potential with guys like Philly Brown and Devin Smith. And the defense? Simply dominating.
Up next: Central Florida

[VIDEO: Watch Devin Smith’s one-handed TD grab | Braxton Miller’s stutter-step TD run]

3. Wisconsin. It wasn’t pretty, but the Badgers held on to knock off FCS Northern Iowa, 26-21. Better days surely are ahead for what has been the top program in the Big Ten the past two seasons. The offense has to get back to its 40-point-per-game performances of recent vintage. A problem: This team doesn’t figure to be challenged in the non-conference. Will it stay interested?
Up next: at Oregon State

4. Michigan. The 41-14 loss to Alabama was demoralizing. The Wolverines were overmatched the moment they came out of the tunnel vs. a Crimson Tide team that was deeper and more talented. Still, Michigan can use this is a building tool, knowing all of its goals are still within reach for a program that is on the rise. Better days are ahead.
Next: vs. Air Force

[BTN.com: Dienhart on Michigan: ‘All good things take time’]

5. Nebraska. The Huskers tested themselves by playing a tough Southern Miss team and claiming a 49-20 victory. And, Nebraska responded. The defense showed flashes, but more big plays (sacks and tackles for loss) are needed. The offense looked strong, especially the passing of QB Taylor Martinez. RB Rex Burkhead is expected back healthy after leaving the game with injury. Great news.
Up next: at UCLA

6. Iowa. The Hawkeyes had to go down to the wire to dump a rugged Northern Illinois squad, 18-17, in Chicago’s Soldier Field. The offense didn’t score a touchdown until late in the fourth quarter; and it proved to be the game-winner. To rise up this list, Iowa must improve on offense; I’m looking at you, offensive line. At least it looks like the Hawkeyes have found a running back in Damon Bullock.
Up next: Iowa State

[BTN.com: See who took home Brent Yarina’s Week 1 game balls]

7. Northwestern. The Wildcats squandered a 35-13 third-quarter lead, falling behind Syracuse, 41-35, with under three minutes to play. But that’s when backup QB Trevor Siemian came in to save the day, engineering a game-winning touchdown drive after Kain Colter was banged up. RB Venric Mark looks like a star, becoming the first Wildcat to run back a punt for a score since 2005 in the 42-41 win. But the defense? It may have issues—again.
Up next: Vanderbilt

8. Illinois. By all accounts, it was a successful debut for Tim Beckman. The Fighting Illini beat Western Michigan, showing a strong brand of defense that figures to be the backbone of this year’s team and even scored an insurance touchdown late in the 24-7 triumph. The offense? Work needs to be done, especially along the line. The attack had little consistency and bogged down after QB Nathan Scheelhaase was banged up and left the game in the second half.
Up next: at Arizona State

9. Purdue. The Boilermakers turned in a dominating effort over FCS Eastern Kentucky with a 48-6 victory. The defense at time looks suffocating. That wasn’t a shock. But the performance of the offense was a surprise, especially QB Robert Marve. He hit 31-of-38 passes for 307 yards and three touchdowns starting for suspended Caleb TerBush.
Up next: at Notre Dame

[BTN.com: Gerry DiNardo tweets Week 1 Sunday Ruminations]

10. Minnesota. A nice, gutsy opening win at UNLV, with the team showing moxie in toughing out a triple-overtime 30-27 victory. Yes, much work remains, but I love the direction of this program. And, don’t look now, but there’s a chance the Golden Gophers could be 4-0 when they head to Iowa for the Big Ten opener on Sept. 29. And this is a Hawkeye program Minnesota has beaten two years in a row.
Up next: New Hampshire

11. Penn State. The opener couldn’t have gone much worse in a 24-14 loss to Ohio. Things started well, with the Nittany Lions taking a 14-3 halftime lead. But the offense bogged down in the second half. And that put the defense on the field too long and too often, which played a big part in the unit’s inability to make key stops and get off the field. QB Matt McGloin had 178 yards passing in the first half. But the second half wasn’t as fruitful, as the offense totaled just 115 yards in the final 30 minutes. How will the team respond? And, how bad could this season get?
Up next: at Virginia

12. Indiana. The program already has matched last year’s win total. The Hoosier defense had to make a late stand to turn back a pesky Indiana State squad to notch a 24-17 win. That’s a nice sign. And QB Tre Roberson had his moments running the new offense, hitting 26-of-36 passes for 281 yards with a touchdown. But, more points are needed for Indiana to be as good as it want to be.
Up next: at UMass

BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (67 Comments)
aroznowski on 9/2/2012 @ 3:14pm EDT Said:

Nebraska at #5!? Michigan State, Nebraska, and Ohio State all showed that they are the top three teams in the conference right now in some order.

NebraskaGuy on 9/2/2012 @ 3:37pm EDT Said:

The results at the top of this list are laughable and obviously performance in games this weekend was not a factor when determining ranking order. The lackluster performances by both Michigan St and Wisconsin are evidence that replacing a dynamic QB is not always a simple plug-and-play transition. Andrew Maxwell will get shut down and picked off when the Spartans reach B1G play. The top 3 of this list should be (1) Ohio St, (2) Michigan, (3) Nebraska, which will all be led by dynamic playmakers at the QB spot. These clearly top 3 teams (at this point) should be followed by (4) Michigan St and (5) Wisconsin. This order could (and probably will) change as the season progresses, but rankings should reflect performance on the field up to this point and Dienhart’s list does not.

Grafter man on 9/2/2012 @ 4:21pm EDT Said:

I would agree on most of the list. I think I would flip Michigan and Nebraska . As far as nebraskaguy’s comments, I would have to ask if he saw any football this weekend. I had heard that, at one time, Michigan was down 31-0. He thinks this is the second best team in the big ten. I hope not.

Stephen Bird on 9/2/2012 @ 4:26pm EDT Said:

Are we sending flowers or reporting the sports news?

This makes more sense: http://msn.foxsports.com/collegefootball/standings/Expanded?year=2012&division=Bowl&stat=strk&dir=descending&conf=Big-Ten.

Robert Hanley on 9/2/2012 @ 4:29pm EDT Said:

NebraskaGuy’s observation about the difficulty of replacing QB’s at Wisconsin and Michigan State is well-taken. He should have stopped there, but when he places Michigan at #2 he loses his credibility.

The Goods on 9/2/2012 @ 4:37pm EDT Said:

I’m not sure if this guy watched the Michigan St or Wisconsin games. Michigan St has one FBS level player on offense. Wisconsin’s defense was torched by a freshmen who happens to play for a FCS school. Nebraska clearly showed it is one of the 3 best teams in the conference. No way should Michigan St be considered the best team after that peformance. It was ugly, awful, and boring.

Nathan on 9/2/2012 @ 4:39pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin No. 3? And an “eve” arrow to boot? Based on what? Last year? They barely squeezed by a 1-AA team. If that doesn’t merit a down arrow, I don’t know what does.
Maybe they will prove to be better later on, but what’s the point of having a power rankings after week one if you’re not going to take week one performances into consideration? What else do you have to go on?

Faygo on 9/2/2012 @ 4:43pm EDT Said:

NebraskaGuy has Michigan at #2? That’s beyond laughable. MSU is rightly 1 given who they played and Maxwell’s improvement in the second half. Plus that Bell guy and that defense. Lots or room for improvement, and they will do so. But Michigan ahead of Nebraska? C’mon, Tom. MSU, Ohio State and Nebraska, in that order as the clear top 3, then it doesn’t matter.

NebraskaGuy on 9/2/2012 @ 4:55pm EDT Said:

I would put Michigan at #2, because they played the defending national champion. There are only a few teams in the country that could match up with Bama. Neither Michigan St nor Wisconsin are one of the few. Plus, Michigan played that game against the defending national champion without multiple starters. There are no teams in the Big Ten that would have done any better than Michigan did against Bama. There are programs that are building and may be at that level in a year, or two having made considerable progress, but there is a reason why the SEC has won 6 straight titles. Its because the teams at the top of that conference are on another level than the rest of the teams in college football. Im not talking trash. I’m obviously a Nebraska fan and the Huskers are among those who can’t match up with the teams at the top of the SEC. I think that is in the process of changing for schools like Ohio St, Michigan, and Nebraska, as they seem to be building and taking their programs in the right direction and they also have large enough fan bases that can afford to write the checks needed to address issues to improve recruiting. As for now, the SEC is bigger, stronger, and faster than the B1G and any B1G team would’ve been embarrassed the way Michigan was (especially without multiple starters).

Husker Hank on 9/2/2012 @ 5:24pm EDT Said:

I like Nebraska at 5. Keep us under the radar.

Colorado Scooter on 9/2/2012 @ 5:35pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin No. 3???? What were you watching yesterday? Also, did you watch Nebraska? Looked pretty impressive…Southern Miss was much better than Northern Iowa. My assessment is as follows based on watching each of the games via live or BTN…1. Michigan St., 2. Nebraska, 3. Ohio State, 4. Michigan, 5. Wisconsin, 6. Northwestern, 7. Illinois, 8. Purdue, 9. Iowa, 10. Penn State, 11. Minnesota, 12. Indiana

Universalmike on 9/2/2012 @ 5:53pm EDT Said:

If Michigan is truly #2 in the B1G, after Satuday night the rest of the league should just mail it in this year. While i don’t think Michigan is near as bad as they showed last night, I don’t think they will win 9 games this season either. Based on results against level of competition, Michigan State is #1, followed by Nebraska. Nobody else really played anyone, so I don’t put much weight in OSUs or Purdue’s blowout victories. Northwestern, Minnesota, Iowa and Wisconsin each almost embarrassed the league more than Michigan, with embarrassingly tight wins against average to poor competition. Indiana and Penn State can’t do any more to emabarras the league any further. Power rankings will shape into form better after this week. Right now, I’d still say its a three-way race in the Legends, with Mich St. getting a slight edge at this point. In the legends, it’s Wisconsin or Purdue. Discussion about tOSU is laughable because all they can do is muddy the water for teams still eligible for the title game.

Sparty Fan on 9/2/2012 @ 5:56pm EDT Said:

Nebraska Guy must not have watched the MSU game. Bell had more yards rushing than the entire Boise offense and that defense is nothing to look down at. Just wait your turn and good luck in Spartan Stadium.

Matt on 9/2/2012 @ 6:04pm EDT Said:

Must be a Michigan fan……… Michigan st. played a top 25 team……. Ok that’s fine. Ohio st. looked pretty good. Ok cool. Wisconsin almost lost to a team they should have rolled, and Michigan lost an embarrassing match that makes the entire big ten look bad. This is not power ranking. This is someone’s bias opinion.

Matthew Milko on 9/2/2012 @ 6:12pm EDT Said:

Make sure to visit http://theb1gcast.com for the most informative and entertaining podcast on Big Ten College Football. We will be releasing our Week One recap discussing all of this weeks games, tomorrow morning.

Live B1G!

Robert A. Funk on 9/2/2012 @ 6:38pm EDT Said:

I disagree with NebraskaGuy, MSU could play Bama better than Michigan. We will have the best defense in the league this year. Just ask Michigan, who has lost to us for the last 4 years. Who else can say that? Maybe OSU. And yeah we made some pretty stupid fouls that kept the game close, if not then a blowout?

Doug on 9/2/2012 @ 6:49pm EDT Said:

yep nebraska guy didn’t watch the game. MSU’s D gave up 3 pts and had several stops. Maxwell was fine, the receivers did have too many drops but they’ll get better over time. Boise St. may not lose another game all season long. The Goods got excited about Neb beating a crappy south miss team, boise would rock them. Michigan was overrated last year and they are this year, they will finish behind MSU and Neb.

Scott Jackson on 9/2/2012 @ 7:33pm EDT Said:

I think it’s pretty hard to justify ranking Michigan ahead of Nebraska at this point.

Agreed, though, that Michigan State and Ohio State have to be considered the class of the Big Ten this year until proven otherwise.

Notre Dame and Purdue is the big game, next week. I hope that the BTN is all over that game.

dremeteam on 9/2/2012 @ 7:39pm EDT Said:

Sparty Fan – Nebraska will give you all you can handle in Spartan Stadium. Having a great runner and a great defense at home is likely enough. I think you have a 50-50 chance to win. But can you really do it with a new QB against their extremely improved secondary? You might have to. In that case, your team is screwed. And, let’s face it: has MSU EVER beaten Nebraska in the history of football? (I believe the answer to that is: “no”.) If RB Burkhead is healthy by that game, it will be a 3-year starting QB, that looks much improved as a thrower, versus a first-year starter that is no Kirk Cousins. RB’s will be a toss up as to who is really better. Last year, MSU was better and lost by 3 TD’s. I’m not liking your chances. The real power rankings should be based on: COACHING, TALENT, GAME PERFORMANCES, OUTLOOK. Based on those, I think the ratings are pretty simple: 1) Ohio State, 2) Nebraska, 3) Michigan State, 4) Michigan, 5) Wisconsin, 6) Purdue, 7) Northwestern, 8) Illinois, 9) Iowa, 10) Penn State, 11) Minnesota, 12) Indiana. The sad truth is that the Legends division has the Top 3 teams that could show up in the conference championship. Wisconsin will go by default, but they are going to get blown out by whomever shows up from Legends. Michigan had a “perfect season” for a 1st year coach. This year, they are 3rd best and likely 9-3 or 8-4 before the bowl. Be happy with that.

Zach on 9/2/2012 @ 7:47pm EDT Said:

I think it’s crazy to have Nebraska at 5 after the games this week. Michigan should probably be ahead of Wisconsin AND Iowa. MSU can stay # 1. And OSU did look impressive. So even with that logic Nebraska should be 3??!!

Mary Brennan on 9/2/2012 @ 8:05pm EDT Said:

Taylor Martinez led the Nebraska team to its best offensive showing in 4 years, record # of yards, 5 td passes, no interceptions, why does the media still ignore and disrespect us? Nebraska looked tons better than Michigan, Wisconsin and Michigan State yet you still put us behind them

NebraskaGuy on 9/2/2012 @ 8:11pm EDT Said:

Wow, Michigan St fan needs to settle down and realize that I’m not saying that the Spartans are a bad team. I’m just saying that Michigan St beating #24 Boise St at home by 4 points doesn’t mean that they would be able to hang with Bama on a neutral site (or anywhere for that matter). Boise St isn’t the same team at this point that they have been over the last couple of years, as they are replacing Kellen Moore who has become a school legend at Boise St. Michigan didn’t squeak out a 4 point win over LSU, they beat a rebuilding #24 Boise St by 4 at home. As for Sparty Fan talking trash, I think you need to take off your Sparty-Goggles and look at things without your Sparty-Slant. I hear this Michigan St hype every year. “This is the year that Michigan St is going to take that next step”. “This is the year they will make it over the hump.” And on and on… But Michigan St perennially does something to keep themselves from achieving elite status. I heard last year how Michigan St was going to come into Lincoln and the Blackshirts weren’t going to be able to stop that offense and how the Spartan defense was so big and bad. It was (and is) all just hype, because what really happened? Nebraska beat Michigan St 24-3. Again, I don’t think Michigan St would have done any better than Michigan did against Bama, nor do I think Nebraska would have done any better. Like I said, the elite teams of the SEC are in a league of their own. Nobody in the B1G would have done any better. Beating a rebuilding #24 Boise St team by 4 points at home doesn’t prove otherwise. Boise St is not the defending national champion, Boise St isn’t one of the elite teams of the SEC, Boise St isn’t coached by Nick Saban, and Boise St definately isn’t Alabama. Feel free to take off the Sparty-Goggles to see things without the green tint.

ukeone on 9/2/2012 @ 8:16pm EDT Said:


derrick on 9/2/2012 @ 8:22pm EDT Said:

Hahaha this list is such a joke. Nebraska #5!? It really seems like analysts have something against them. Always have.

huskerfaithful1 on 9/2/2012 @ 8:42pm EDT Said:

I agree with dremeteam completely. I might switch Minnesota with Iowa but other than that I think I would agree. And how is Nebraska arrow even after beating the spread by 9 and playing BETTER than expected? How is Wisconsin even after playing worse than expected? Yes, Michigan played a tough SEC team but they looked horrendous. Does anyone really believe that they played as the 3rd strongest team in the B1G? Yes, Michigan is probably a better team than what they played like but they did not do anything at this time that deserves 3rd on the list. Ohio St looked fantastic against Miami of Ohio but that is what it is. My top three: Ohio St, Nebraska and Michigan St. Nebraska and Michigan St looked pretty even with each team having something better than the other. I liked the Michigan St O-Line and they made Bell look fantastic but Nebraska’s Offense looks better and more explosive. The D for Michigan St looked a little better than what Nebraska looked like at times but I like Nebraska’s chances against them. Final thought….Tom…say no to drugs.

ukeone on 9/2/2012 @ 9:19pm EDT Said:

Derrick: That’s my opinion exactly…but, I have been ‘analyzed and summarily censored’ by these Husker-Bashers! Did someone say ‘drugs?’ LOL!

jeff on 9/2/2012 @ 9:28pm EDT Said:

You all are blind Mich @8 in the country should have been done better Ohio state played a no one Neb was by far the best team on saturday you are all husker haters. wait till the end of the year Polls shouldn’t come out till one month in martineze played better than Barkley ,Robinson no love for the new guys right

Brett Samson on 9/2/2012 @ 9:35pm EDT Said:

The power rankings are a complete joke. Seriously, this guy should be fired, his rationales don’t make sense, and it truly is like he didn’t watch a single game. I probably will never visit this website again. I could get a better analysis from a 4 year old girl. The fact that Michigan was in the top 5 in these rankings after that embarrassment is why the Big Ten is not taken seriously by anyone else in the country. They looked like a D-III school. BTN fire this guy for this, he can’t be taken seriously anymore.

Jamie on 9/2/2012 @ 10:02pm EDT Said:

Tom D. – This is a pathetic attempt at a power ranking. Did you even watch the games?
By final scores alone, you could do a better job than this (aside from actually watching the play on the field). Nebraska at #5? Wisconsin at #3?
This isn’t your pre-season list. This is supposed to be a ranking based on 2012 games.
If you won’t be reasonable in your assessments, why should anyone listen to what you have to say?

Brent Yarina, BTN.com on 9/2/2012 @ 10:12pm EDT Said:

Easy, guys. Everybody sees things differently – it’s what makes these lists fun and popular. And track records/preseason expectations play a role here. It’s the reason why if Indiana cards a big win to open the season it doesn’t jump as high as Iowa would for a similar win. It’s the same with NFL power rankings. If the Patriots barely beat, say, the Cardinals to open the season, it doesn’t mean the Pats fall way down in NFL power rankings. At the same time, if the Colts nip the Ravens, it doesn’t mean they will ascend to the top of the rankings.

huskerfred on 9/2/2012 @ 10:19pm EDT Said:

A lot of weapons for The Big Red. Burkhead went down, and the 3 guys behind him picked up the slack, big time. When I see Abdullah, I think of a guy a few years ago at WV named Noel Devine, very similar. The bottom line, after seeing Nebraska Saturday, they can and will do anything and everything they want to this season. Last year Martinez couldn’t throw the ball to save his life. He can this year, and I’ll just bet most of you Nebraska haters, are very displeased with that. No defense in the B1G will stop this offense, last year opposing defenses could load the box, knowing NU could only run. Not this year boys, get ready to be overwhelmed.

Tmac on 9/2/2012 @ 11:05pm EDT Said:

Why is anyone getting sideways about a pole after week 1? I’m a Husker fan, was happy with the way they played, mostly, but I’m not losing any sleep over a subjective article. How about waiting for at least a month before losing your minds? Nebraska fans, our team plays the teams you’re complaining about. Let’s let the players play the game, and wait to pass judgement.

Go B1G and GBR!

ukeone on 9/2/2012 @ 11:18pm EDT Said:

Brett: I made comments very similar to that, and they ‘censored’ me….now, all of a sudden, they are posting EVERYONE else’s. It is very true that the rest of the country will ‘never’ take the B1G seriously, that is, until someone can take-on the SEC. If Michigan had won (or just made a really good, watchable game out of the evening), I wouldn’t have had to go to bed so soon (no tranquilizer needed) and would be ‘giving respect where respect is due.’

Nebraska #1 (great game, 630+ yards with T-Magic and ‘without their top RB weapon’)
Ohio St #2 (great game too, but not competing for a conference championship)
Michigan St. #3 (one-man offense, very sloppy win)
Purdue #4 (convincing win…could be a ‘serious’ Leaders Division contender)
Illinois #5 (good overall win…could join Purdue in that path)
Iowa #6 (slow game, come-from behind win)
Wisconsin #7(sloppy ‘unconvincing’ win with a 1-AA team, but ‘potential’ is a ‘wait ‘n see’)
Minnesota #8 (glad to see them winning again!)
Indiana #9 (a win is a win!)
Northwestern #10 (it was still a ‘watchable’ game)
Michigan #11 (I was going to give it to Penn St., but they did play a #2 team ‘horribly’)
Penn State #12 (actually played a ‘better overall game’ than Michigan did)…Good Luck!

These are my picks. I hope Purdue and Illinois can make a ‘real’ competition happen in the Leaders Division because Wisconsin looks beatable, so far. Here’s to a good season, and get serious, guys!

Jmali on 9/3/2012 @ 12:18am EDT Said:

Nebraska easily looked #2 best in the big ten. I would put OSU #1, Nebraska #2, MSU #3, Wisconsin #4, Michigan #5… then the rest doesn’t really matter.

Mary Brennan on 9/3/2012 @ 12:46am EDT Said:

I’d just like to see a list like this based on something real, like game day performance. After Saturday, how could anyone but a Michigan fan rank the Wolverines so high after their performance? Same with Wisconsin they played a very pedestrian game for a team expected to win the Big 10. And last year maybe Nebraska didn’t perform power consistently. But this is a new year and if you watched Saturdays games it makes no sense at all to rank Nebraska lower than Michigan, Michigan state and Wisconsin. Nebraska will be better than most if not all Big 10 teams this year.

Luke on 9/3/2012 @ 12:48am EDT Said:

Cmon Tom, really? Isn’t the point of these “week to week” power polls to grade teams based on their performances? This is why I hate pre-season polls/power rankings. That they are given any weight at all once play starts is just stupid. Rate them based on the concrete measures you have, which is the play on the field. Adjustments will inevitably come later, but you have to pay a little attention to whats going on on the field.

1. Ohio State
2. Nebraska
3. Michigan State
4. Michigan
5. Illinois
6. Purdue
7. Northwestern
8. Iowa
9. Wisconsin
10. Minnesota
11. Penn State
12. Indiana

No, I don’t think this is how things will end up, but I firmly believe in basing power polls off of available evidence. In this case, the evidence consists of first game performance. I fully expect Wisconsin, for example, to look much better in short order. That said, you’re sweating deep into the 4th quarter against an FCS school? Sorry, you’re automatically in the bottom third of the conference until further notice.

Douglas on 9/3/2012 @ 1:02am EDT Said:

What are all the Nebraska people crying about? You beat a Southern Miss team that only returned 10 players from the conf. champ team. And what a conf. that is, right? Andrew Maxwell scored more points for BSU than their own offense did and Le’Veon Bell had more yards than the BSU team. Of the 3 picks Maxwell threw (all in the 1st half) , 2 of them were tipped. Why did you forget to mention that Andrew Maxwell was 11/16 for a 145 yards in the second half? He got better as the game went on. Why are you forgeting MSU killed the final 6 minutes of the clock and sat on the ball @ Boise’s 5 yd line intead of punching it in? Are you seriously suggesting that Southern Miss is a better team than Boise State? Delusional children. Thanks for the laugh.

HuskerExile on 9/3/2012 @ 2:58am EDT Said:

Douglas Is USM better than Boise st? No I don’t think so. But USM has some players, they were quick and athletic. Boise st just like USM is in major rebuilding mode. Based on week 1 performance I would say, 1. MSU 2. NEB 3.OSU 4. ILL 5. PURDUE 6. MICH 7. NW 8. IOWA 9. WISCY 10. MIN 11. INDY 12. PSU. With the parity in college football being what it is today everything can change so quickly and there is a long way to go. Good luck everybody.

huskerfaithful1 on 9/3/2012 @ 3:15am EDT Said:

@ Brent Yarina, BTN.com

I understand where you are coming from but……
If someone is going to do a Power Ranking AND want to be taken seriously then opinion should be at the bottom of the list and facts toward the top. I know it is early in the season and things could change but you have to look at the now. Statistics have a funny way of working themselves out and so things will change but the data is what the data is at the moment. Power rankings based on mostly opinion are are just that, ‘opinion’. To be taken seriously as a ‘sportswriter’ and not an ‘opinionist’ you should be basing the writing on fact. If Tom is going to represent the Big Ten with his writing then he should write unbiased. Maybe it would be okay to put out crap for writing if he was writing on ‘TomDienhart.com’. Give the Big Ten fans someone who can write without a cup full of opinion and a teaspoon of fact with which to base that opinion on. Nobody on here that is complaining is unjust with what should seem obvious.

huskerfaithful1 on 9/3/2012 @ 3:33am EDT Said:

@ Douglas
Of course MSU killed the clock in the last six miniutes. If they wouldn’t have then Boise State could have beaten them. You don’t kill the clock because you are in control of the game. You kill the clock to prevent the other offense from using that time to hurt you. As I said before, I really did think that MSU played well but Nebraska played better. Next week it may be different, but not this week. Also, “You beat a Southern Miss team that only returned 10 players from the conf. champ team…” You just made our case. We did not just beat them, we creamed them. Is Boise State a better team that Southern Miss? Only time will tell but you are probably right, however Nebraska did not beat Southern Miss 17-13. It was 49-20.

Chuck on 9/3/2012 @ 8:51am EDT Said:

HireLuke, his list is a heck of a lot better than your supposed Big Ten football expert. Its apparent your expert didmt watch the games. Ohio State, Michigan State and Nebraska are the top three teams in the league after their performance this past weekend. Michigan got mauled but they were playing Alabama, that moves them down to 4th only. Illinois clearly looked better than the other teams playing their first game. I mean how could you rank Northwestern ahead of Illinois after Northwestern beat a bad Syracuse team by 1 point? Hire Luke, you’ll do better

NebraskaGuy on 9/3/2012 @ 8:53am EDT Said:

Douglas : No, I’m not suggesting that Southern Miss is better than Boise St. I’m suggesting that Michigan St didn’t look impressive in a 4 point win over a rebuilding #24 Boise St team at home. As far as comparing how Michigan St did against Boise St to how Nebraska did against Southern Miss, it’s really no comparison. Michigan St looked entirely too 1-dimensional to be considered the #1 team of the conference, Maxwell was 22/38 (58%) passing for 248 yds, 0 TDs, and 3 INTs. Maxwell’s performance was so poor that MSU was forced to give the ball to Bell 50 times. The blueprint for B1G teams shutting this extremely 1-dimensional offense down is obvious: account for Bell,load up the box, and force Maxwell into incompletions and interceptions. For Nebraska, Taylor Martinez was 26/34 (76%) passing for 354 yds, 5 TDs, and 0 INTs. 10 players caught at least one pass, 9 players carried the ball, and 7 Huskers scored TDs (about as far from 1-dimensional as you can get, so pick your poison). Nebraska did this in a game that 3 starters (Burkhead, Marlowe, and Cotton) were sidelined. Obviously, Southern Miss is not LSU, Alabama, or USC, but they are a team that went 12-2 last season, they are a team that has produced 18 straight winning seasons, they are a team that appeared in 10 straight bowl games. I would bet that there are plenty of B1G teams and other BCS conference teams that cannot make that claim.

Faygo / Sparty Fan / Doug / Robert A Funk : can all refer to this post as well as my previous posts for my reasons on why Michigan St should not be ranked #1. Notice I’m not on here campaigning for the Huskers to be ranked #1, as I know they have many things to work on (most notably on the defensive side of the ball). My thoughts are simply, based on this weekend, neither Michigan St nor Wisconsin have any buisness being in the top 3 of this poll. Again, notice that I’m not saying that Michigan St is a bad team, or that they will only win 5 or 6 games this season. I am simply saying they shouldn’t be #1 based on their performance against Boise St.

Evan on 9/3/2012 @ 9:27am EDT Said:

Purdue at #9? What? They have a ton of talent on defense, Marve looked sharp (despite being against an FCS team), and the Boilers win big. Seriously? You put us behind Illinois and NW? Come on…

Rob on 9/3/2012 @ 9:39am EDT Said:

No one from Nebraska is crying. Heck if anything we are elated by the performance of our team. Unfortunately MSU, Wisconsin and Michigan can’t say the same. If Michigan, MSU, and Wisconsin are the best the Big 10 has to offer then this conference should be ashamed of itself.

Steve on 9/3/2012 @ 10:13am EDT Said:

I think the funniest part of the article is where he claims that Wisconsin, “doesn’t figure to be challenged in the non-conference.” Weren’t they just challenged by Northern Iowa? I’m not thinking anybody else on their non-conference schedule is going to be any worse than Northern Iowa.

John Spartan on 9/3/2012 @ 10:16am EDT Said:

Just keep telling yourself that Michigan State is not a good football team, no problem. It will be decided on the field.

Just a few observations from Friday:

1. MSU chose victory formation over a 24-13 win, and padding Bell’s stats with a 3rd TD.
2. Southwick looked really good, very accurate, and still Michigan State held the BSU offense to 3 points and under 200 yards.
3. Boise is now 8-2 versus BCS conference schools in their last 10 meetings (includes wins over Oregon (twice), Georgia, and Virginia Tech).
4. 2 of Maxwell’s interceptions where accurate throws that were bobbled by the receivers. Those picks led to 10 of Boise State’s 13 points. Sure, 3 INTs are a bad first start, however Max has a cannon of an arm and is fairly accurate. One of his big issues will be learning to develop touch. Lippett had a bad night, but he looks to have great potential, and he can only improve. If he secures the ball Friday it is a totally different outcome.
5. The MSU offense needs to learn that punting is not a bad thing for this team. You don’t have to be a hero.

    Robert A. Funk on 9/3/2012 @ 10:47am EDT Said:

    I really like this post. The only one that spells out how good MSU is. I mean really Boise State averages over 40 points a game, their offense was basically not in the game. Real teams know how to win, even when they keep shooting themselves in the foot. MSU has always had a history of keeping peoples averages to be below normal.

The Goods on 9/3/2012 @ 11:45am EDT Said:

John Spartan I don’t think anyone is saying Michigan St isn’t a good football team. I think most people are saying they aren’t a top 15 team. I’d still put them in the top 25 but they clearly aren’t a top 15 football team in the country.

brettg1128 on 9/3/2012 @ 11:47am EDT Said:

I also don’t put a lot of stock into “experts” or “analysts” predictions, power rankings, or just about anything because they all hold a pre-season bias. They won’t want to be wrong so they only change their “rankings” when absolutely necessary. That is why college football has been a joke for a long time. Too often we see those “polls” that have a 5-3 team still in the top 15 because those AP voters (writers) don’t want to be wrong. Thus I prefer to watch the NFL.

Brian Leeper on 9/3/2012 @ 12:46pm EDT Said:

Wow, pretty laughable. I suggest that if you want to be taken seriously, that you start basing your power rankings on the facts from each week of play, rather than your fantasy of the conference that you built with your pre-season rankings. Your top picks simply under achieved this week – so admit it and rank them accordingly.

NebraskaGuy on 9/3/2012 @ 1:09pm EDT Said:

John Spartan : It doesn’t matter if it was Maxwell’s fault or if it was the fault of the Spartan receivers, the fact of the matter is that Maxwell was 22/38 (58%) passing for 248 yds, 0 TDs, and 3 INTs. The passing attack was so poor (QB + Reveivers, blame whoever you choose) that MSU was forced to give the ball to Le’Veon Bell 50 times. As far as all of this talk of “The Spartan defense only gave up 3 points”, it doesn’t matter. The final score was 17-13. It doesn’t matter how the points were scored. All that matters is that the points were scored. Southern Miss returned a kickoff for a TD and Maher missed 2 field goals for Nebraska in their 49-20 win over the Golden Eagles, those things are all part of the game. Virginia Tech has made a living over the years winning games in an unconventional fashion. “Beamer Ball” anyone? Those things are all part of the game.

Robert A Funk : You say “Boise St averages over 40 points a game”. They don’t. This Boise St team, so far, averages 13 points a game. Different QB, different players, different team. You say “Real teams know how to win, even when they keep shooting themselves in the foot”. That’s fine if you think that, but I would say “Championship caliber teams don’t shoot themselves in the foot”. My argument isn’t that Michigan St is a bad team. I think they are a good team. A really good team even. But not a championship team, or a #1 B1G team. That’s why I would put them at #4.

And again, Michigan St beat a rebuilding #24 Boise St by 4 at home. Boise St isn’t the same team at this point that they have been over the last couple of years, as they are replacing Kellen Moore who has become a school legend at Boise St. Don’t act like this is a Boise St team that will be playing in a BCS bowl at the end of the season. Please take off the Sparty-Goggles.

Douglas on 9/3/2012 @ 4:02pm EDT Said:

NebraskaGuy your arguement doesn’t make any sense. You’re again neglecting the fact that Maxwell was 11/16 for 145 yds in the second half. He improved after he settled down. You’re also neglecting the fact that MSU ended the game on Boise’s 5 yd line. They could have easily scored, they took a knee instead. Yes, Boise is rebuilding, but they are certainly better than a rebuilding Southern Miss team. Everyone knew the MSU pass game was a work in progress coming into this game. The focal point was always going to be Le’Veon Bell. Only a child, or novice, will think that stats tell the story of how a team or individual played. It’s riduculous to suggest such things as you do on Maxwell’s final stats. Seriously, it is.

Doug on 9/3/2012 @ 4:16pm EDT Said:

People have to remember that those new starters for Boise that were backups last year had more playing time at backup then any other football team in the country the last few years due to Boise always beating up on teams. Those backups may be first time starters but I bet they got a lot more playing time then a lot of starters the last few years. Boise will win out, just watch, and yeah I know they don’t play a hard schedule but it’s not like they were starting freshmen on both side of the ball, these were quality backups with a lot of playing experience.

NebraskaGuy on 9/3/2012 @ 4:51pm EDT Said:

Douglas : The argument does make sense. When NCAA officials decide to only recognize 2 of the 4 quarters played in a football game, then your argument will be valid. Last time I checked, the entire game counts. It doesn’t matter where Michigan St was when the game ended. The score at the end of the game is the score at the end of the game. You say “The focal point was always going to be on Bell”. Obviously, but the issue is that due to lack of a legitimate passing attack in the game vs Boise St, MSU had to give the ball to Bell 50 times. That is the definition of 1 dimensional. As far as the stats, obviously they aren’t the only factor to be assessed, but there is a reason that people keep track of them. They mean something… The facts, or stats, are : Maxwell was 22/38 (58%) passing for 248 yds, 0 TDs, and 3 INTs. Those are the stats for the whole game. If it is common practice, in the fairy tale world you obviously live in, to pick and choose which parts of the game count and which parts don’t count, then go ahead and keep the blinders on your eyes for the first 2 quarters. Are they blinders or Sparty-Goggles?

Michael Jones on 9/3/2012 @ 7:13pm EDT Said:

IF Nebraska only had to play offense, they would be a no brainer #1. The days of loading the box and daring Martinez to beat you with his arm are over. However…

Nebraska has had problems with mobile quarterbacks the last three years. This year is no different. The secondary doesn’t turn around and look, and they don’t have linemen able to chase down a scrambler.

huskerfred on 9/3/2012 @ 9:14pm EDT Said:

Nebraska is still the new kid on the block, and most of you fans of other B1G programs will be able to hang on to that for awhile, especially you Husker Haters. As time marches on though, with the resources and facilities that are poured into this Big Red program will have all of you Hogeye likes bowing before the Big Red…….. BANK ON IT.

HuskerExile on 9/5/2012 @ 1:29am EDT Said:

USM and Boise play in October that should be interesting

Jim Hert on 9/5/2012 @ 7:13pm EDT Said:

LOL Nebraska guy, you talk a lot about Michigan State not being a # 1 Big Team, so let’s hear your case for Nebraska? What have they done in the Big 12, or the B1G or any other conference lately??? Keep talking about Michigan State, might keep you from having to admit your own team ain’t all that great! Nebraska was lucky to beat MSU last year, you got them at the end of a really tough streatch. MSU has a much easier schedule this year, and they get Nebraskas sorry butts at home this year. I look forward to your post after that game.

Spartan Fan on 9/5/2012 @ 7:17pm EDT Said:

Nebraska girl, you think Nebraska should be higher than number 5???? LOL, wait till the end of the season then come in here bragging, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Corn Hackers are even lower than number 5!

HuskerExile on 9/5/2012 @ 10:28pm EDT Said:

24 to 3 isnt luck no matter where that game was on the schedule. 1 more thing MSU mite win this year who knows but, as of right now MSU has NEVER beat Nebraska. So Spartin fan what reason do you have to brag?

Doug on 9/6/2012 @ 11:51am EDT Said:

you guys can talk about beating MSU last year all day long, but MSU beat down that Michigan team that blew you out and won at NW while Neb lost at home to NW. see how none of that matters? this year is a new year

Doug on 9/9/2012 @ 12:39am EDT Said:

After today, MSU will remain at # 1 and NEB will be lucky to stay at # 5….

    dremeteam on 9/9/2012 @ 1:01am EDT Said:

    Deservedly so. But what I see as a systemic failure to coach in the 4th quarter by NU is now showing the real lack (tackling / play calling) versus talent. And it appears the entire Big 10 (Penn State, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Iowa, Michigan’s scare) is weak. And I see that same weakness in Michigan State (QB under pressure will fold like Martinez). Sadly, the best team in the Big 10 is Ohio State. And everyone else is questionable – at best.

Douglas on 9/9/2012 @ 2:49am EDT Said:

dreamteam how is Andrew Maxwell going to fold? I doubt UCLA’s defense is tougher than Boise’s. Maxwell got better in the second half, he didn’t get better because he was learning how to deal with pressure? The pass protection from MSU’s experienced offensive line won’t get better after a big first game of the year? Not buying it, and Ohio State? Only 50 more total yards than UCF? Sorry, not buying that either. We’ll find out on Sept 29.

And Doug and I are not the same person, we just share a great name (and it looks like the same alma mater as well).

    dremeteam on 9/17/2012 @ 9:57am EDT Said:

    Kinda like that. One-dimensional running game turns into challenging Maxwell, turns into a loss.

Doug on 9/9/2012 @ 10:22am EDT Said:

Don’t expect Maxwell to fold. He’s a drop back passer unlike T-Mart and D-Rob and Miller. MSU is the best team and will prove it every week. MSU’s defense has yet to give up a TD and has only given up 2 FG’s all season, 1 of them on a turnover by the offense. MSU is the team to beat.

Doug on 9/9/2012 @ 12:11pm EDT Said:

It is true, Douglas and I aren’t the same person, although we do share a great name and school!