Yes, that's right, we're doing Big Ten power rankings for football just like we did for basketball this year. While today's edition is running on a Thursday that's only because of the way things broke down while I was doing my season previews this month. During the regular season the power rankings will run on Tuesday.
Also unlike today's version, they will not be based on my opinion. Like the basketball rankings, I have a mathematical formula for compiling the football power rankings, and I will use that formula during the season.
However, since that formula is based on a lot of numbers, and we don't have any numbers to use right now, this first set of rankings is based on nothing buy my opinion. Essentially these rankings are just how I see the Big Ten pecking order going into 2013.
So feel free to get irrationally angry at me about these.
1. Ohio State - Listen, this is a team that went 12-0 last year and gets just about everybody that mattered on offense back this season. Yes, there are a lot of losses on defense, but this is Ohio State we're talking about here. The Buckeyes don't rebuild they reload, and the new starters on defense will be just fine. In fact, a lot of them will be better than the guys they're replacing.
2. Nebraska - Now, I know that there isn't much distance between No. 1 and No. 2, but in reality the gap between Ohio State and Nebraska is much greater. Frankly, I think there are about four teams that could wind up winning the Legends Division, and since I picked Nebraska's name out of the hat I felt I should put them here. Oh, and there's also the fact that Nebraska has the best quarterback not named Braxton Miller in the conference.
3. Michigan - The range of projections I've seen for the Wolverines this year pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the Legends Division. I've seen people predicting this team will go 7-1 in conference and win the division and I've seen others say this team will go 7-5 on the season. Personally I see them falling somewhere in between. Though it would be really interesting to see how Michigan fans would start treating Brady Hoke if the Wolverines did go 7-5. Because that would mean the team had actually regressed in each of his three seasons and if it was Rich Rodriguez doing that shit.....
4. Wisconsin - I really don't know what Wisconsin will be this season. While I don't expect there to be a big drop-off as the team transitions from Bret Bielema to Gary Andersen, this is still a team that went 8-5 last year. It's not like it was an amazing team. And while it's the only "threat" to Ohio State in the Leaders Division it's the kind of "threat" you put in quotation marks.
5. Northwestern - SOAK IT IN, NORTHWESTERN FANS. Just know that I while I'm putting the Wildcats at fifth in these rankings I also think fifth is this team's ceiling in 2013. They'll still be fun to watch, and they'll still be a better team than Illinois, but you aren't going to the Rose Bowl and you aren't winning 10 games again.
6. Michigan State - As I've gone over multiple times, both here and at CBS or on the radio when asked, I don't get why people are so high on this Spartans team this year. The defense was awesome last year, and it will be awesome this year, but that awesome defense led to a 7-6 mark last year. And an offense that was terrible is only improved in the minds of certain people because it sure as hell hasn't done so on the field. This will be a good team, but it will not be a Big Ten title winning good team.
7. Penn State - The Nittany Lions aren't going to be as good as they were last year, but they're still going to be a team that's tough to beat. It's just I think that the NCAA sanctions will begin catching up to them this season and it'll show in the fourth quarter of games and certainly at the end of the season.
8. Iowa - I know last season was terrible for the Hawkeyes, but I feel like I'm the only person that remembers the only reason we noticed how shitty Iowa was last season was because it's so rare these days. I don't think this is a great Iowa team, but I don't think it's nearly as bad as it was last year, so I'm going to take the team with a track record over a dark horse like Indiana.
9. Indiana - Oh, hey there Indiana. I completely understand why people are high on the Hoosiers this year because when you look at all the peripherals, there's reason to see this team taking a step forward. However, there are more things to look at than peripherals. There are the things right in front of your fucking face too. And when I look at the Indiana right in front of my fucking face I see a team with a very difficult schedule and a defense that hemorrhaged rushing yards last season.
10. Minnesota - The Gophers are actually my dark horse for the Big Ten this season, but until they start showing it on the field I can't rank them higher right now. There are just too many question marks. There's also the fact that this team plays in the tougher Big Ten division and gets stuck playing both Penn State and Wisconsin this season along with Indiana from the Leaders. So while I think this team will be better in 2013, I don't know that its record will show it.
11. Purdue - I do think there's a very good chance that Purdue will end up being the worst team in the conference this season. I like the Darrell Hazell hire for the future of this program, but at the moment I just don't see the players on this roster that will lead to more than one Big Ten win, if that.
12. Illinois - Consider this ranking a motivation technique.