Phil Steele releases 2013 Initial Power Ratings

Taylor Martinez

US Presswire

The highly respected Phil Steele released his 2013 Initial Power Ratings on Friday, and the list is certain to get the attention of Big Ten fans. For starters, Big Ten preseason favorite Ohio State lands at No. 4, behind reigning national champ Alabama, Oregon and Texas A&M. Ohio State fans won’t like that. Nebraska? The reigning Legends Division champ comes in at No. 27, and is the fifth (!) Big Ten team.

[ 2013 Initial Power Ratings ]

Before you get too upset, understand that this is just one of Steele’s nine sets of power ratings. He refers to this one as his Plus/Minus ratings, which he feels most closely resembles the general perception of each team heading into 2013. Read more about the ratings here.

No. 4: Ohio State
No. 17: Michigan
No. 18: Wisconsin
No. 19: Northwestern
No. 27: Nebraska
No. 30: Michigan State
No. 34: Penn State
No. 60: Iowa
No. 75: Indiana
No. 76: Minnesota
No. 86: Purdue
No. 95: Illinois

What do you think? My biggest gripe would be that the Huskers, as mentioned above, are the fifth Big Ten team. I know all about Nebraska’s issues on defense, but the offense is going to be terrific and the schedule is very manageable. Even if the defense is awful again, Taylor Martinez and company have the ability to outscore just about every team on their slate.

[ RELATED: Check out’s countdown of the top 25 players of 2013 ]

Another interesting thing: Two of Steele’s top three Big Ten teams reside in the Leaders Division. That’s not a crazy prediction, but most experts feel the Legends Division is the far superior division.

About Brent Yarina senior editor Brent Yarina covers football and men’s basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature “Clothes Call,” which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his work here. You can subscribe to Yarina’s RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.


Your Opinion?
Show Comments (19 Comments)
scott s on 8/9/2013 @ 3:21pm EDT Said:

all this means nothing yet.. not one game played. who knows were teams will be..

bob jones on 8/9/2013 @ 3:50pm EDT Said:

That’s about as low as I’ve seen for a preseason ranking for the Huskers, but they’ve brought the skepticism on themselves with several defensive meltdowns in big games the last few years. The offense is absolutely loaded this year, while the defense will continue to be a question mark until they can prove themselves. The talent appears to be there and overall speed is improved on the defensive side, if they can make solid progress this year the Huskers will be tough to beat. The schedule is doable, the talent is there, if the young defense does their part, the Huskers should be in a BCS bowl this year.

shookwriter27 on 8/9/2013 @ 4:10pm EDT Said:

Let’s wait and see if it matches what happens over the course of the season.

Logan on 8/9/2013 @ 5:25pm EDT Said:

Penn State at 7TH!!!

Sal Zagra on 8/9/2013 @ 5:37pm EDT Said:

Yeah, that list is nonsense PSU @ #7, they are definitely no worse than 3rd

craig on 8/9/2013 @ 5:43pm EDT Said:

I don’t care about the rankings going into the new season, they mean nothing. Teams change every year.

Chad Lute on 8/9/2013 @ 5:53pm EDT Said:

The Big 10 rarely if ever get any respect on the national level… always the underdog, even though they always mention how often Big 10 teams pull off upsets…

Jonathon on 8/9/2013 @ 6:14pm EDT Said:

No worse than 3rd? Lay off the Kool-aid, Sal…

Tom on 8/9/2013 @ 6:16pm EDT Said:

Rankings at this point are simply to create controversy and sell magazines. Chill out, sit back, relax. Follow your team’s August progress and injuries, and then show up and witness your team in person come Aug 31st or so ………

Jerry Boose on 8/9/2013 @ 6:29pm EDT Said:

Well, lets just see what happens….but don’t rule out the strongest defenses in the BIG !
D wins championships, that’s the it has always been and always will be ! Go Green !

vaudvillain on 8/9/2013 @ 6:46pm EDT Said:

Well, Phil Steele has Penn State at 34, and Paul Myerberg has them at 37…so it sounds about right to me. Maybe once play begins, the Nittany Lions will prove us wrong and earn a higher ranking…but until then, there are too many question marks to justify a top-30 ranking.

Steve on 8/9/2013 @ 7:05pm EDT Said:

Hey Brent,

Phil Steele’s power ranking is different than his Top 40 ranking. This power ranking is how he feels each team is ranked talent-wise. His top 40 is where he thinks each team will finish. So, strength of schedule only impacts his top 40 and not this power ranking. In his magazine, he has following Big Ten teams in his top 40:

2- Ohio State
16 – Nebraska
20 – Wisconsin
23 – Michigan State
24 – Michigan
32 – Northwestern
34 – Penn State

    Brent Yarina, on 8/9/2013 @ 7:43pm EDT Said:

    Thanks for the note. Appreciate it. Can’t believe he has nine sets of power ratings.

Rob on 8/9/2013 @ 8:01pm EDT Said:

As a Michigan fan…we’re right where we should be. I hate Michigan stHATE but simply based on their schedule they could easily end up in the #10-15 range…

William Schreiber on 8/9/2013 @ 11:07pm EDT Said:

The Hawkeyes will surprise everyone this year! Go Hawks!

D S on 8/10/2013 @ 11:08am EDT Said:

It’s Phil Steele – I like OSU at 4. Mich is probably right at #17. The rest of the Big 10 take note. If you don’t like where you are – DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT! Hire a better coach – recruit better athletes – and WIN.

OSU 12-0 on 8/10/2013 @ 1:31pm EDT Said:

OSU will play MSU in the 2013 B1G championship football game!

POPS on 8/10/2013 @ 1:46pm EDT Said:

These and so many other predictions are educated guesses, nothing more. Let’s see what happens between the goalpost. GOOOOOOO BLUUUUUUUE!

Alex on 8/11/2013 @ 10:18am EDT Said:

lol @ iowa ranked ahead of indiana.