Five weeks are in the books, and the bowl picture is coming into a bit sharper focus … a bit. To review: The Big Ten has tie-ins with eight bowls—but 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 5 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.
Ohio State solidified its case for the top spot in my Week 6 Power Rankings, this after going into East Lansing at knocking off Michigan State. But what about the rest of my list? See my latest rankings in this post. Disagree? Leave your thoughts in the comment box below or tweet me (@BTNTomDienhart).
Before we turn our complete attention to Week 6, we need to review how BTN.com fans, Tom Dienhart and yours truly did with our Week 5 predictions. BTN.com fans went 5-1 and Tom and I went 4-2, meaning the fans have moved into sole possession of first place in the season standings. After five weeks, BTN.com fans are 41-11, one game ahead of Tom. I’m bringing up the rear, at 39-13.
And then there were two. The first week of Big Ten play saw previously undefeated Minnesota suffer its first loss of the season. That leaves Ohio State and Northwestern, both 5-0, as the Big Ten’s lone remaining perfect teams (B1G standings). See my 10 observations—some whimsical, some fact based, some opinionated—from Week 5.
Only two Big Ten teams are ranked in the latest Coaches Poll, released Sunday, and the highest team comes in at No. 20. That would be Nebraska, of course, which didn’t move up this week despite rallying from 17 points down to knock off then-No. 23 Wisconsin. Fresh off its win over Indiana, 5-0 Northwestern debuts in the poll at No. 22.
The opening week of Big Ten play did not disappoint, as Ohio State and Nebraska each claimed late wins over Michigan State and Wisconsin, respectively, in two of the day’s biggest games. But what did I learn from the first week of Big Ten action. See the five biggest things in this post.