I love the B1G. It's got great teams, rivalries, history, television networks, legends, leaders, basketball, and I live within it's boundaries. But for the life of me, it's hard to defend them all right now. There is only one B1G team with a non-conference Power 5 win, and it's not who you'd expect it to be. Rutgers' Week 1 victory over Washington State is our lone mark of pride, which ironically brings massive amounts of misery.
We here in B1G country know that there are good teams here, but none of their performances have shown such quality. It may be some time -- hopefully bowl season, potentially next year -- before the B1G is respected again. For now, though, we must support each other, as fans. For who else will help us laugh in Northwestern's face?
(Last week's rankings for reference)
1. Michigan State Spartans - LW: 1 & 2. Wisconsin Badgers - LW: 2
The Spartans and the Badgers will remain in the top spot even though they didn't play because I didn't feel there was any team that has played better than either of these two teams. This coming week, the 11th-ranked Spartans take on Eastern Michigan and 19th-ranked Wisconsin prepares for the high-flying, Indiana-beating Bowling Green Falcons. Don't expect a whole lot to change at the top of the rankings by next week.
3. Nebraska Cornhuskers - @ Fresno State, Win 55-19 - LW: 3
There was a moment when Fresno State stood a chance, but that was years ago. The modern day -- at least Week 1 and 3 -- Huskers know how to move the ball. Quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. had 325 yards of total offense, Ameer Abdullah found another 110 yards even though Fresno State's sole mission was to stop him, and the special teams even had a punt returned for a touchdown. Now if they can just remain consistent they'll be easy favorites as the welcome out-of-conference, semi-rival Miami into Lincoln.
4. Ohio State Buckeyes - vs. Kent State, Win 66-0 - LW: 5
We knew it was going to be a blowout, but 66 points was a surprising result a week after the loss to Virginia Tech. This Buckeye team was focused. J.T. Barrett threw six touchdowns in attempt to prove that the week before was just a fluke. They were one of the main teams during The Fall of the Big Ten, but they were one of the stronger showings in Week 3. I almost moved the Buckeyes into 3rd on the list, but the Huskers are still 3-0 and had a similar performance.
5. Penn State Nittany Lions - @ Rutgers, Win 13-10 - LW: 4
Penn State fans are happy with the win but they aren't necessarily happy with how they got the win. The Penn State O-line struggled to hold the Rutgers' front and even with Rutgers less than spectacular secondary, the offense was never able to get anything going until the end of the game. Now, the Nittany Lions have the only B1G in the conference and are well on their way to their first bowl game since 2011.
6. Michigan Wolverines - vs. Miami (OH), Win 34-10 - LW: 8
Running back Derrick Green averaged 6.2 yards per carry and tallied two touchdowns to lead the recovering Wolverines, but most of that came in the second half. The first half saw Michigan allow a 10-10 tie at halftime. Miami of Ohio is one of the weakest teams in the FBS, so therefore it takes some of the shine off this victory. Head coach Brady Hoke is struggling to find true positives this year, and that hot seat is only getting hotter with time.
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - vs. Penn State, Loss 10-13 - LW: 7
Many people have questioned Rutgers ability to contend in the B1G, but Saturday night's showing was a strong case that they can at least put up a fight while also providing a fun game atmosphere. If it weren't for 5
turnovers Gary Nova interceptions, 9 penalties or the inability to stop a fourth-quarter drive, Rutgers should have achieved their first B1G win. They will be hard-pressed to find that win during the rest of the year -- Michigan, Ohio State, Nebraska, Wisconsin, and Michigan State are 5 of their next 6 conference opponents. #Oof
8. Maryland Terrapins - vs. West Virginia, Loss 37-40 - LW: 6
Maryland started their game much like the Illini, finding themselves down by 22 points during the second quarter, but unlike the Illini, they fought back to make it 28-20 at the half. The Terps got into an even tie with the Mountaineers, 37-37, with nearly 10 minutes left in the game. West Virginia would win on a last second field goal. It showed that Maryland is a team with good offense, resilience, and some improvements need for their secondary.
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers - @ TCU, Loss 7-30 - LW: 10
Minnesota has one skill -- the running game. TCU had to defend one thing -- the running game. When you're that one dimensional, you're easy to figure out. With the right amount of talk, you could persuade me that Minnesota didn't play that poorly but rather they just don't have enough talent.
10. Iowa Hawkeyes - vs. Iowa State, Loss 17-20 - LW: 9
The Hawkeyes were supposed to be West Division contenders, but right now they look like a potential win for the Illini. There was talk that Jake Rudock had potential to be good, but all I've heard or seen seems to show signs of a below average quarterback. Iowa dominated Iowa State in the first half but was unable to hold them off in the second. With the final moments of the game, coach Kirk Ferentz called a timeout as the Cyclones attempted a field goal -- it missed. They lined up again, kicked again -- made. Iowa State wins.
11. Illinois Fighting Illini - @ Washington, Loss 19-44 - LW: 11
No matter how much Washington struggled in Weeks 1 and 2, they are a quality team. The outcome of the first half was about as terrible as it could go. The second half was much better, but that might have come from a less enthused Washington team that all but guaranteed the win. We all knew this was a tough game to win, so now we worry about the next game and the winnable B1G games.
12. Indiana Hoosiers - vs. Bowling Green, Loss 42-45 - LW: 12
It was a question two years ago, one year ago, and one month ago: Can Indiana has a defense? Nay, they cannot. Although the offense can create a lead and contend with four Bowling Green lead changes in the second half, the defense was unable to stop the Falcons, allowing seven of their second-half drives to end in touchdowns. The Hoosier offense had 571 yards of offense, but in football using fire to kill fire only works when you have more.
13. Purdue Boilermakers - vs. #11 Notre Dame, Loss 14-30 - LW: 13
The Boilermakers put up quite the fight against their in-state rivals. They were able to keep the score close for most of the game until Danny Etling threw back-to-back interceptions. Purdue will get their best chance for a second win next week against FCS Southern Illinois.
14. Northwestern Wildcats - DNP - LW: 14
No game, no reason to write anything about them.