After a week of conference play a lot of the pretenders and the contenders were sorted out. However, a lot remains to be seen. Here are my new Big Ten Rankings, released each week. The position that the team was in last week is in parenthesis next to the team name.
1. Iowa (3), won at Penn State 21-10: The Hawkeyes had a great week, dominating the Big Ten's former best team. After escaping Northern Iowa and winning a few games convincingly, I wasn't so convinced about the Hawks, but they've made me a believer.
2. Ohio State (2), won versus Illinois 30-0: After a very convincing win and other impressive games on the non-conference slate (18-15 tight loss to USC, 38-0 win at Akron) I had a tough time not sticking the Bucks at number 1. They still have a bit more to prove to me on the field, like winning a big game. They will have that opportunity in the Happy Valley later this year.
3. Penn State (1), lost versus Iowa 21-10: After a tough loss against Iowa, Penn State had to fall. While their defense played a pretty solid game, Darrell Clark and the offense just took a week off. I still believe the Nittany Lions are the top team in this conference, but they have a lot to prove after the egg they laid Saturday night on National TV.
4. Michigan (4), won versus Indiana 36-33: After a scare against the Hoosiers, the Wolverines proved that they could play a bad game and win. Once again, big-game Forcier showed up for Michigan and despite the defense having a miserable day, they got the stop (and the call) that they needed. Michigan is undefeated but still a question mark.
5. Wisconsin (5), won versus Michigan State 38-30: The Badgers are an undefeated team with a lot to prove. They have a talented team, but is it really this good?
6. Minnesota (8), won at Northwestern 35-24: They played previous Top-10 team Cal into the fourth quarter in the preseason and opened the Big Ten year with a big road win. Watch of for the fighting Brewsters this year.
7. Michigan State (6), lost at Wisconsin 38-30: Talk about a desperate team. After nearly knocking off the Irish in South Bend, Sparty is suddenly 1-3 and has a must-win against undefeated Michigan this weekend. While the game is at home and MSU can certainly talk a big game (Coach Dantonio: "Embarrassed? 3-9 is embarrassed."), whether they can back it up is the question.
8. Purdue (11), lost versus Notre Dame 24-21: Despite a 1-3 record the Boilers lost played two quality teams down to the wire and lost. This team is better than their record.
9. Indiana (10), lost at Michigan 36-33: After some bad officiating, the Hoosiers played tough but lost in Ann Arbor to end their perfect season. It's only going to get worse for Indiana.
10. Northwestern (9), lost versus Minnesota 35-24: After a loss at troubled Syracuse the Wildcats got drilled at home in their conference opener by the Golden Gophers. A 2-2 start is not exactly what this team wanted.
11. Illinois (7), lost at Ohio State 30-0: Oh Illini. After being crushed by Mizzou 37-9 in what was supposed to be the year Illinois finally won in the Arch "Rivalry", the Illini talked the big game, and then watched their opponents play in Saturday at the Shoe. This season is a lost cause.