What a difference a season makes. This time last year it all seemed so clear – Michigan and Indiana were to battle it out for Big Ten honors. The Wolverines looked fresh from a memorable journey to the College Cup, where they lost out to eventual winners Akron in the final four. The Hoosiers had that calm, composed, yet confident feel to their program preseason.
Let me start this by saying we’re only two weeks into the college football season. Admittedly, that’s a very small sample size. But in the first two weeks – one good, one bad – there have been many surprises in the Big Ten.
Purdue quarterback Robert Marve has had trouble staying healthy during his career. The injury bug bit again in Saturday’s loss at Notre Dame, as Marve tore the ACL in his left knee for the third time. This latest injury occurred when Marve was sacked on a sack late in the fourth quarter.
The season is still in its infancy, so the bowl picture remains lucid. Very lucid. The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—and it has only 10 bowl-eligible schools, as Penn State and Ohio State are on NCAA and banned from the postseason in 2012.
With Week 2 behind us, it’s time for my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. Again, I’m doing these a little different this year. Whereas I used to rank the top 10 players – a practice that was tough due to all the talent on both sides of the ball – I’ll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.
Andrew Weber-US Presswire
Tune in for our usual Monday night doubleheader of Big Ten football analysis tonight with “The Big Ten Pulse” at 6:30 p.m. ET and “The Big Ten Football Report” at 7. On The Pulse, Rick Pizzo, Derek Rackley and Tim Doyle wonder if Michigan State is the clear favorite to win the Big Ten. Do they have the league’s best defense? On “Football Report,” our crew looks at how Week 2 injuries will impact the rest of the season.
In the first batch of daily links this week, many Big Ten teams showed areas of concern on what was a—ahem—a “Black Saturday,” as Lee Barfknecht of the Omaha World-Herald writes. For me, the biggest shock was Wisconsin getting unceremoniously dumped at Oregon State, 10-7. Wisconsin, which averaged 44 points a game last season, came within two minutes of getting blanked in the defeat at Oregon State, which ranked 84th in total defense in 2011.