Dienhart: Badgers plummet in latest 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 2 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.

1. Michigan State. The offense began to come around this week vs. Central Michigan, as QB Andrew Maxwell took a big step forward. The defense? It’s the best in the Big Ten, still not yielding an offensive touchdown.
Last week: 1
Up next: Notre Dame

2. Ohio State. No one is surprised that the Buckeyes are 2-0. But the extraordinary play of QB Braxton Miller has been stunning. No one in the league is playing better. I can’t wait until Sept. 29, when the Buckeyes play at Michigan State.
Last week: 2
Up next: Cal

[Related: Dienhart: 5 things I learned in Week 2]

3. Michigan. It wasn’t pretty, but the Wolverines moved to 1-1 with a methodical 31-25 win over Air Force. The most vital revelation: Denard Robinson regained his big-play form en route to notching 208 yards passing and 218 yards rushing. Oh, and RB Fitz Toussaint is back from suspension, but he only ran eight times for seven yards. Now, it’s time to get into a groove.
Last week: 4
Up next: UMass

4. Northwestern. The Wildcats did their part to hold up Big Ten pride on a day when the league went 6-6, knocking off SEC foe Vanderbilt. The play of a maligned defense provides hope that Northwestern could be a real factor in the Legends Division.
Last week: 7
Up next: Boston College

5. Nebraska. After that promising opening 49-20 win over Southern Miss, the Cornhuskers struggled mightily in a 36-30 loss at UCLA. The defense allowed a whopping 653 yards in the loss. This, ladies and gentlemen, is what they call a “major concern.”
Last week: 5
Up next: Arkansas State

[Related: See Brent Yarina’s Week 2 Game Ball winners]

6. Purdue. The Boilermakers have shown they have a championship-caliber defense and the best defensive tackle tandem in the Big Ten. The offense? A confounding two-quarterback system and lack of playmakers are hampering the attack.
Last week: 9
Up next: Eastern Michigan

7. Minnesota. The 2-0 Golden Gophers—yes, 2-0 Golden Gophers–continue to show they are much-improved over last season, with MarQueis Gray coming off a four-touchdown effort in a win over FCS New Hampshire. Can the defense keep playing well?
Last week: 10
Up next: Western Michigan

[Coaches’ Poll: Michigan State enters top 10]

8. Iowa. Which way is up for the Hawkeye offense? The attack is struggling, boasting one touchdown in two games after an ugly 9-6 home loss to Iowa State. QB James Vandenberg had 25 TD tosses in 2011; he has none this year. The lack of big-play wideout is glaring. And the line is struggling.
Last week: 6
Up next: Northern Iowa

9. Illinois. Was there anything positive from that 45-14 beat down at Arizona State? Uh, no. The good news: It counts as just one loss. The Fighting Illini need to move on. All of their Big Ten goals are still within reach. But, QB Nathan Scheelhaase needs to comeback—now–from injury.
Last week: 8
Up next: Charleston Southern

[Related: Week 2 Big Ten football predictions revisited]

10. Wisconsin. It may be time to sound the alarm in Madison following an utterly dispiriting loss at Oregon State and unimpressive opening win over FCS Northern Iowa. The offense is MIA, as QB Danny O’Brien and RB Montee Ball are struggling behind a line that’s not vintage Wisconsin.
Last week: 3
Up next: Utah State

11. Indiana. The uncertain status of QB Tre Roberson following an injury on Saturday takes some of the glow off of the Hoosiers’ 2-0 start, Indiana’s eighth in the last nine years. So, let’s enjoy the moment, shall we?
Last week: 12
Up next: Ball State

[Related: Tom’s Top 10: Where’s the Big Ten pride?]

12. Penn State. Considering the 0-2 Nittany Lions’ circumstances, moral victories should count. And that one-point loss at Virginia certainly qualifies as a big moral victory. Penn State may lack depth and talent, but Bill O’Brien will have it fighting tooth and nail each week.
Last week: 11
Up next: Navy

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 (10 Comments)
worf on 9/9/2012 @ 4:36pm EDT Said:

Michigan State is clearly the best team in the league.

Doug on 9/9/2012 @ 5:09pm EDT Said:

You are correct worf.

afurry on 9/9/2012 @ 6:34pm EDT Said:

Ohio State and Michigan State are toss ups. Not enough of a sample size.

Alec on 9/9/2012 @ 7:42pm EDT Said:

@afurry – I’m not sure how they are toss ups. Nobody is doing better than them right now.

Josh on 9/9/2012 @ 9:39pm EDT Said:

Michigan St. and Ohio St. are definitely the best rt now. Michigan doesn’t look that good so far. I am really impressed by Purdue after this week. Wish they would only stick w/ one qb.

Grafter man on 9/9/2012 @ 9:50pm EDT Said:

I don’t see any whining here this week. I think that there are a lot of zipped lips.

Josh on 9/10/2012 @ 9:42am EDT Said:

MSU and OSU aren’t tossups. MSU gets the benefit of the doubt at this point since they beat OSU last year and were Big Ten runner-ups.

Douglas on 9/10/2012 @ 12:33pm EDT Said:

OSU doesn’t deserve that no. 12 ranking, just like U of M didn’t deserve that no. 8 ranking. Braxton Miller alone isn’t going to get it done on Sept. 29.

Johnny on 9/11/2012 @ 8:28am EDT Said:

That’s OK Spartyfan…keep on rootin an tootin sparty’s mild accomplishments….Talk to me at the end of tBIG……… personaly MSU is ho humm against HoHum

Doug on 9/11/2012 @ 10:28am EDT Said:

MSU’s “mild” accomplishments are more than any other Big Ten team has done by a long shot, Johnny….