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YOUR WAY-TOO-EARLY BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: POST-WEEK 1

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The college football season kicked off last weekend. So here are some power rankings that probably don't mean much after one game of data. Enjoy!

I refuse to put Ohio State as the cover photo every week, so here is a sad Husker.
I refuse to put Ohio State as the cover photo every week, so here is a sad Husker.
Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

Now that we have a whole week of data at our disposal, we can all make grand axiomatic proclamations about where each team is sure to finish at the end of the season. Or, in English, we can all spit some red-hot takes (insert iPhone fire emojis) about the state of the Big Ten, yo.

Or maybe not.

Instead, we have literally one game of information from which to form our opinions of every team in our beloved conference. That's not a lot. And to make matters even more cloudy, a chunk of the Big Ten played FCS opponents or lower-rated FBS schools on Saturday. The point being? It is still way too early and these power rankings are essentially meaningless. Now, if you are a nihilist, everything is meaningless and all life is devoid of any kind of significance. However, you are still reading this and you likely need to pass the time at work right now, so carry on, won't you?

With our daily dose of nihilism out of the way, allow me to give you a friendly reminder that these numbers are still 80% influenced by the preseason projections. THOR+ ratings do not become based on 100% season performance until after each team has played five games. If I were to not include preseason projections, Penn State's offensive line grade would probably break my Excel spreadsheet.

Lastly, if you would like a refresher on how THOR+ works, please read the beginning of the preseason projections posts.

To the power rankings!

Big Ten Power Rankings Post-Week 1

Rank Team Coach Offense+ Defense+ Special Teams+ THOR+ PPG vs. Avg. PPGA vs. Avg. W% vs. Avg. W vs. Avg.
1 Ohio State Urban Meyer 177 123 99 151 51.4 24.1 0.908 10.9
15 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 147 125 125 133 43.8 23.6 0.772 9.3
20 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 138 133 77 129 41.2 22.4 0.740 8.9
31 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 106 143 91 121 33.1 19.9 0.680 8.2
35 Nebraska Mike Riley 126 98 100 116 38.3 30.1 0.643 7.7
43 Illinois Tim Beckman 111 113 85 110 34.1 26.7 0.597 7.2
46 Minnesota Jerry Kill 101 115 111 109 31.8 26.0 0.586 7.0
50 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 90 112 118 104 28.9 26.6 0.547 6.6
58 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 61 136 124 100 21.8 21.3 0.520 6.2
64 Penn State James Franklin 65 133 94 98 22.2 22.0 0.503 6.0
69 Maryland Randy Edsall 103 83 134 95 32.7 33.3 0.484 5.8
77 Purdue Darrell Hazell 85 91 102 91 27.7 31.7 0.452 5.4
85 Rutgers Kyle Flood 96 63 124 83 30.6 37.8 0.393 4.7
89 Indiana Kevin Wilson 101 60 76 81 31.7 39.1 0.374 4.5

Remember, all ratings are on a scale where 100 = the FBS average. That means anything over 100 is above average and anything under is below average. Additionally, The points per game, points per game allowed, win percentage, and wins all reflect the estimated talent level of each team if they were to play an average opponent or average schedule. I've also added a "game watch rating" that you will see below. It takes into account the ranking of each team (games between two highly ranked teams are generally fun to watch), how close the game is expected to be (everyone loves a close, competitive game), and how many points are projected to be scored (sorry, defense fans, but people love when both teams score a lot of points). It then spits out a number that tells you how entertaining the game should be to watch. Like the rest of my ratings, 100 is average. That means Ohio State vs. Hawaii isn't expected to be all that entertaining (unless you're a Buckeye fan), while Iowa vs. Iowa State is expected to be one of the better match ups in week 2. But, finally,  please note that his is a new metric, so I may or may not make changes as the season goes on.

1. Ohio State #1, 151 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
1 Ohio State Urban Meyer 170 152 80 141 177 47.7

Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
38 Ohio State Urban Meyer 125 116 104 134 123 20.5

Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
62 Ohio State Urban Meyer 77 3.7 121 3.6 99

Virginia Tech gave the Buckeyes issues for a half (or, really, the second quarter), but things went downhill when the Fightin' Beamers lost Michael Brewer. Still, Brewer wasn't going to help stop Ohio State's offensive onslaught, and I doubt Virginia Tech could matched the Buckeyes score-for-score with him on the field. Ohio State was clearly the better team after halftime, and that was with a handful of weapons on offense and their best defensive player being suspended. This team just isn't fair.

Up Next: vs. #92 Hawaii

Game Watch Rating: 30

Win Probability: 99%

Projected Score: Ohio State 60, Hawaii 15

2. Wisconsin #15, 133 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
10 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 139 132 107 146 147 39.7

Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
36 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 85 115 68 184 125 20.0

Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
14 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 120 4.1 130 3.6 125

The Badgers got handled by Alabama, but that happens to most teams that go up against the Crimson Tide. Wisconsin is still a bit of a mystery team to me (I'm not sure they are the 15th best team in the nation), so it will be interesting to see in the next couple of weeks just how good or bad this team looks against non-Alabama teams. I'm hoping we get a better picture of them before Iowa travels to Madison in a few weeks.

Up Next: vs. #103 Miami (Ohio)

Game Watch Rating: 38

Win Probability: 94%

Projected Score: Wisconsin 52, Miami (Ohio) 13

3. Michigan State #20, 129 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
14 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 145 93 115 131 138 37.3

Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
22 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 131 126 116 143 133 18.2

Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
112 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 99 3.9 54 4.1 77

Michigan State went on the road and did what they needed to do against a Western Michigan team that should be contending for the MAC title this season. Next up is a bigger challenge, though. Oregon's defense looks like it could have some holes in it, but I will be surprised if Michigan State's defense can hold the Duck's offense under 30 (most teams can't). This should be a high-scoring affair and taking into account the ranked status of each team, the game watch rating for this one is rightfully high.

Up Next: vs. #17 Oregon

Game Watch Rating: 152

Win Probability: 64%

Projected Score: Michigan State 41, Oregon 29

4. Michigan #31, 121 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
51 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 74 110 74 149 106 29.2
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
9 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 121 129 73 141 143 16.0
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
86 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 98 3.9 83 3.9 91

The Wolverine defense did its part against Utah, as only two of the Utes' touchdowns were given up by the defense (the other via a pick-six). But the concern remains the offense where Jake Rudock overthrew open receivers and was picked 3 times. The bevy of running backs and the offensive line also struggled to muster more than 3.5 yards per carry on the ground, which didn't help things much either. THOR+ currently has Utah sporting the 15th best defense in the country, though, so Michigan should find room on the ground against an Oregon State defense that is currently 73rd. If they can run the ball with success and continue to play tough defense, the Wolverines could still have a better season than most are thinking after week 1.

Up Next: vs. #75 Oregon State

Game Watch Rating: 87

Win Probability: 82%

Projected Score: Michigan 39, Oregon State 17

5. Nebraska #35, 116 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
24 Nebraska Mike Riley 136 96 93 107 126 34.4
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
62 Nebraska Mike Riley 95 97 80 123 98 26.3
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
58 Nebraska Mike Riley 93 3.8 106 3.7 100

The Husker offense looked pretty good on Saturday, especially the passing game. But if there was one area of concern on offense that showed, it was probably the offensive line. They still have an above average rating, according to THOR+, but that's due to the preseason projections. Their performance against BYU was underwhelming, to say the least. Of course, the bigger issue for this season looks as if it could be the defense. It's never a good thing when the highest grade you can give a position on one side of the ball is a C+. The defense shouldn't hurt them against South Alabama, but it could be a problem further down the road.

Up Next: vs. #115 South Alabama

Game Watch Rating: 44

Win Probability: 92%

Projected Score: Nebraska 53, South Alabama 17

6. Illinois #43, 110 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
44 Illinois Bill Cubit 106 85 101 79 111 30.3
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
48 Illinois Bill Cubit 115 106 104 106 113 22.8
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
103 Illinois Bill Cubit 85 3.8 84 3.9 85

I don't really know what to say about this Illinois team. Their 52-3 whooping of Kent State was... well, a whooping. Part of me thinks that Kent State is a really bad team and the Illini still aren't very good. Another part me of is thinking that this team could actually be decent with Bill Cubit at the helm and Tim Beckman gone. Unfortunately, we probably aren't going to get an indication of which it is this week. Hopefully we can start to answer it in two weeks when Illinois travels to Chapel Hill.

Up Next: vs. Western Illinois (FCS)

7. Minnesota #46, 109 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
62 Minnesota Jerry Kill 113 96 89 134 101 27.8
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
46 Minnesota Jerry Kill 104 100 95 116 115 22.3
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
37 Minnesota Jerry Kill 116 4.1 106 3.8 111

Minnesota really gave TCU all they could handle, but the main chink in their armor still seems to be on offense. Freshman running back Rodney Smith looked like a talented rusher against the Horned Frogs, but outside of him there didn't appear to be a whole lot else that would give opposing defenses fits. With a quarterback that isn't much of a threat with his arm, opponents are going to stack the line of scrimmage and force Minnesota to pass the ball or run into loaded fronts. Fortunately for them, THOR+ only likes Colorado State's offense this year and not their defense so much. Despite the home field adjustment, I don't think Colorado State will be able to slow down the Minnesota rushing attack. Meanwhile, I think the Gopher defense will be able to keep enough points off the board that they should leave the state of Colorado victorious.

Up Next: at #71 Colorado State

Game Watch Rating: 158

Win Probability: 49%

Projected Score: Minnesota 31, Colorado State 32

8. Iowa #50, 104 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
77 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 120 82 102 119 90 24.9
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
50 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 122 112 64 125 112 23.0
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
24 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 109 4.0 128 3.6 118

I'm trying not to get my hopes up about Iowa's offense actually being semi-competent this year. After all, it was just one game against an FCS defense. Granted, Iowa's offense has not looked like that under Greg Davis in previous match ups with an FCS defense, but it is still too early to make any definitive judgments. That being said, if this offense can finally grade out as an average unit and the defense can be good/great, this team might actually be able to take advantage of their cream puff schedule this season. Of course, the Illinois State game could be all for naught and I could be a lot less optimistic after the Iowa State game. In other words, it's really hard to shake the jaded Iowa fan in me.

Up Next: at #68 Iowa State

Game Watch Rating: 147

Win Probability: 43%

Projected Score: Iowa 23, Iowa State 27

9. Northwestern #58, 100 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
111 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 62 95 114 112 61 17.4
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
19 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 120 115 103 126 136 17.5
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
15 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 146 4.4 103 3.8 124

Congratulations to Northwestern for their upset over Stanford this past weekend. That lone win increased their odds of becoming bowl eligible by quite a bit. But before we get carried away and proclaim Northwestern to be a favorite in the Big Ten West, we need to keep some things in perspective. First of all, the Wildcat offense is being run by a redshirt freshman quarterback that can run the ball pretty well, but is still working on his passing game. Justin Jackson is a damn fine running back, but he should be running into a wall of defenders this season. Additionally, while THOR+ has Northwestern's defense looking dominant right now, we should keep in mind that Stanford's offense may not be that good. Whether that's from terrible play calling or what, the Cardinal offense hasn't exactly been the scary part of their team the last few years under David Shaw. My point here being that if Northwestern's 2015 offense is as bad as 2014's was, their defense will likely need to be near elite levels to carry them to a Big Ten West title. If it's just pretty good, then that may not get them much higher than something like 7-5. If they can beat Duke in two weeks, though, a 4-0 Northwestern heading into Big Ten play sure makes things interesting.

Up Next: vs. Eastern Illinois (FCS)

10. Penn State #64, 98 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
106 Penn State James Franklin 63 112 94 55 65 18.4
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
23 Penn State James Franklin 122 128 87 159 133 18.2
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
79 Penn State James Franklin 89 3.8 100 3.8 94

I really want to write something rational here about how THOR+ thought highly of Temple's defense and wasn't buying Penn State's offense this year. Instead all I have are links to Penn State calling for their offensive coordinator's head, them literally burying the Temple game tape in the ground, and a GIF of Christian Hackenberg being sacked by a two-man rush. Oh well, maybe next time.

Up Next: vs. #116 Buffalo

Game Watch Rating: 70

Win Probability: 87%

Projected Score: Penn State 34, Buffalo 16

11. Maryland #69, 95 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
57 Maryland Randy Edsall 65 101 99 102 103 28.3
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
79 Maryland Randy Edsall 115 106 65 87 83 29.7
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
8 Maryland Randy Edsall 143 4.4 124 3.6 134

Thanks to Will Likely and Brad Craddock (although he mysteriously missed an extra-point and 28-yard field goal), the Terps probably have the best special teams unit in the conference again this season. That's a positive. The negative would be that their quarterback position looks like a black hole and their defense allowed 7.2 yards per play to Richmond in the first half. Things are probably going to get ugly in College Park soon.

Up Next: vs. #99 Bowling Green

Game Watch Rating: 102

Win Probability: 77%

Projected Score: Maryland 48, Bowling Green 30

12. Purdue #77, 91 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
82 Purdue Darrell Hazell 66 90 69 123 85 23.7
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
69 Purdue Darrell Hazell 98 95 101 110 91 27.9
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
56 Purdue Darrell Hazell 103 3.9 100 3.8 102

Speaking of ugly. Well, that's not very nice. Purdue is what we thought they were this year. It's never good to lose to a Conference USA team, but was it really all that shocking? This team appears to have made improvements from where they were at this time last season, but it's probably not as much progress as Purdue fans would have liked to see.

Up Next: vs. Indiana State (FCS)

13. Rutgers #85, 83 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
68 Rutgers Kyle Flood 97 86 95 89 96 26.6
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
103 Rutgers Kyle Flood 99 98 79 109 63 34.3
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
16 Rutgers Kyle Flood 111 4.0 136 3.5 124

The team from Piscataway has a lot of fun skill position players to watch on offense. With Leonte Caroo catching passes and a three-headed rushing attack that starts with the talented Paul James, this offense may be able to put some points on the board this year. The real question is whether or not they can do so against teams that aren't Norfolk State. The offense has has some real upside to it, but a quarterback controversy remains and no one knows how either guy will look against a real FBS defense. Of course, the real problem for Rutgers this year will probably be the defense. So talk of the offense may not mean all that much in the grand scheme of things.

Up Next: vs. #81 Washington State

Game Watch Rating: 144

Win Probability: 62%

Projected Score: Rutgers 41, Washington State 34

14. Indiana #89, 81 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
61 Indiana Kevin Wilson 98 97 119 98 101 27.8
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
106 Indiana Kevin Wilson 68 81 77 79 60 35.0

Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
114 Indiana Kevin Wilson 100 3.9 52 4.2 76

Indiana's offense scored 48 points on Saturday and Jordan Howard looked like a decent replacement for the superhuman Tevin Coleman. The big problem for the Hoosiers, though, remains the defense, which gave up 47 points to an FCS Illinois State team. There are few certainties in life, but Indiana having a porous defense is one of those things that allows you to curl up in your bed at night, drift off to sleep, and be sure that it will be the same in the morning.

Up Next: vs. #86 Florida International

Game Watch Rating: 132

Win Probability: 62%

Projected Score: Indiana 34, Florida International 23