Welcome back to week two of the college football season. We’ve now seen one and, eh, a quarter (?) weeks of football between weeks one and zero and now we are officially into the thick of the season. We’ve got some decent matchups this week and we’ve already seen some pretty wild things happen to start the year.
While there are more questions than answers most places across the country, we are starting to get some color around just how good (or bad) some teams are. That holds true in the Big Ten where every team has played a game and six teams have now played a conference matchup.
With that information, it’s time to update our weekly power rankings ahead of a full weekend slate of games. Before we do that, let’s take a look back at the rankings from a week ago per Kicker32.
Preseason Power Ranks
On to week 2.
Week 2 Big Ten Power Rankings
Look, it’s really hard to take a lot from games that feature uber talented teams facing off with uber mediocre G5 teams. But you don’t need a degree in hazing from Northwestern to see that Michigan is incredibly good. They’re at the top of the class in the Big Ten right now and I don’t think it’s all that close.
2. Penn State
Part of that separation for Michigan comes with the shakeup here at #2. Penn State jumps over Ohio State after an impressive performance against West Virginia in week one. QB Drew Allar threw for 325 yards while completing 75% of his passes and the Nittany Lions appear to have another stud receiver on their hands with KeAndre Lambert-Smith racking up 125 yards and 2 TDs on his 4 catches. The Nits will look to hang 100 on Delaware this weekend before entering Big Ten play against Illinois and Iowa. They look like a potential challenger in the East.
3. Ohio State
The flip side of that coin was a disappointing performance from the Ohio State Buckeyes. After back-to-back second place finishes in the East, Ryan Day may officially be on the hot seat here. The Buckeyes broke in a new QB in week one and it was.... not what we have come to expect out of Ohio State. Kyle McCord was fine at QB, but he was NOT special. He finished with 239 yards while completing 61% of his passes, but didn’t throw a TD pass and did have one picked off as the Buckeyes scored -gasp- 23 total points. That’s less than Iowa! With all those 5 stars!
Youngstown State is in for it this weekend, but it sure seems like this would have been the year to face OSU.
Wisconsin is going to be an interesting test case all season long. The final score in week one was solid as the Badgers beat Buffalo 38-17. If you just looked at the score, you might think Luke Fickell’s new and improved offense is right on track and the Badgers are set to walk to the West crown. Maybe. But watching the game, this one was a lot closer than the score indicated and the offense looked a lot like the Wisconsin we all know and hate.
QB Tanner Mordecai completed 24 of 31 passes (good!) for 189 yards (not good!) with 1 TD and 2 picks (a recipe to lose to Iowa!). Fortunately for Mordecai, Fickell and Badger fans, the combination of Chez Mellusi and Braelon Allen provide a floor that now amount of desired philosophy change can overpower. The Badgers ultimately ran for 314 yards and 4 TDs on 40 attempts and pulled away from Buffalo late, but this one was neck and neck at 14-10 at the half and Fickell is going to have a mental struggle all season between what he wants to do and what his team is built to do.
Anyone here watch the Hawkeyes in week one? Oh, you did? What did you think? Did you actually watch it or did you watch some of it, get frustrated in the second half and then check the final score and get mad?
Despite the 24-14 score, this one was basically the opposite of Wisconsin-Buffalo. Iowa was in control the entire game and held true to their character. They biffed away two different TD opportunities by somehow failing to pick up a 4th and 1 deep inside Utah State territory and then settled for a FG at the half after three different receivers dropped perfectly placed TD passes from Cade McNamara.
The offense still has issues, but those issues are largely that the offensive line can’t block in the run game. For all his troubles, we saw Brian Ferentz adapt some in week one, moving away from the play-action bootleg game that has been synonymous with Iowa because his personnel couldn’t run it (eg Cade’s leg is still injured). We saw them take shots downfield, though not as many as we would all like, with an average depth of target at nearly 10 yards. And we saw a near 50-50 run-pass split.
Iowa is still who we thought they were, but who we thought they were was a team that could challenge in the West and win 8-9 games.
Maryland beat the pants off Towson in week one. Is there anything to take from that? Probably not. But nobody else ran away with anything against a team that was any better.
Speaking of teams that didn’t run away with wins against bad teams.. Minnesota was in a dog fight and had no business beating Nebraska in week one, but the Huskers gonna Husk and they Husked away the game. So points for being there and getting a win in the West. I guess.
8. Michigan State
Michigan State played Central Michigan in a game in which they trailed through 29 minutes of football. They scored 21 unanswered in the second half and came out of week one with a win. I don’t know that Mel Tucker is actually a good coach. I’m pretty sure MSU is not actually a good team.
Rutgers played Northwestern in week one. They beat them. By 17. That was closer than it probably should have been. Temple will provide a better challenge this week.
If you watched the end of Illinois’ week one win, you would have thought they won the Big Ten Championship. They were absolutely elated. They used a last second field goal to defeat Toledo. At home. Illinois is worse than I expected when I put my dark horse bet on them to win the West. The betting gods hate me.
Indiana held Ohio State to 23 points! They lost by 20!
Purdue pulled a Nebraska against Fresno State. They lost on a TD with less than one minute to go and gave up 39 total points. Tyrone Tracy scored two TDs for the Boilers. What else do you need to know?
All the things I said about Luke Fickell apply here. Except Nebraska doesn’t have two stud RBs and their fanbase is worse. They are still Nebraska no matter who is in charge.
14. just Northwestern
If Iowa fans ever needed a reminder of where the floor could be without a really good coach, take a look at Northwestern the rest of this season. They won one game last year (lolBraska) with Pat Fitzgerald. They won’t win that many this year (ok fine, maybe they make a game out of UTEP). Back to just Northwestern.
And that’s it for this week! These won’t change the rest of the year because they are right and correct and nothing changes in college football from week to week.