Big Ten Power Rankings (Week 2): Lions Take Top Spot, Buckeyes Dropping Fast

By Nick Polak on September 12, 2017 at 10:58 am
Sep 9, 2017; University Park, PA, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions running back Saquon Barkley (26) runs the ball into the end zone for a touchdown during the fourth quarter against the Pittsburgh Panthers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Pitt 33-14.
Matthew O'Haren-USA TODAY Sports
Big Ten Power Rankings (Week 2)
Rank Team Record/Previous Game Result


Last Week: 2

Penn State

Last Week:
33-14 win over Pittsburgh
It wasn't the most aesthetically pleasing win, but Penn State still defeated Pitt handily by 19 points, despite being thoroughly beaten in time of possession. While it would have been great to see the Nittany Lions put up more on the scoreboard, it's hard to complain about a 19-point win in an off performance. With Ohio State looking lost on offense, it's becoming tougher to make an argument against this team being at the top. (Next Week: vs. Georgia State)


Last Week: 3


Last Week:
36-14 win over Cincinnati
Two weeks, two wins in which the defense looks mostly great and the offense looks mostly meh. It's not clear yet if Don Brown's defense will be able to carry the team all the way to playing for a playoff spot at season's end like it did last year. Still, it's been relatively smooth sailing thus far for the Wolverines. (Next Week: vs. Air Force)


Last Week: 4


Last Week:
31-14 win over FAU
The Badgers are looking as Wisconsin as ever so far in 2017. The defense seems to be as strong as ever, despite being led by Jim Leonhard in just his second year as a coach, and without star linebacker Jack Cichy. Jonathan Taylor is quickly establishing himself as the next great Badger back, as he's picked up 310 rushing yards (8.9 ypc) through two games. (Next Week: at BYU)


Last Week: 1

Ohio State

Last Week:
31-16 loss to No. 5 Oklahoma
Welp. On the surface, losing to a top-5 team in the country is typically hardly enough to drop a team three whole spots in the rankings. But this drop is more about how the offense looked than anything else. J.T. Barrett never looked like he was capable of doing anything to threaten the Sooners on Saturday night. A lot can change, but they still have two defenses on the schedule that are statistically much better than OU's in Penn State and Michigan. (Next Week: vs. Army)


Last Week: 6


Last Week:
63-17 win over Towson
Maryland followed up their big win over Texas by scoring a whole lot of points against lowly Towson. Don't take too much away from this game, but putting up 63 with a true freshman quarterback is noteworthy no matter the opponent. The Terps once again got away with basically only running the ball (a common theme in this conference), but hey! They have good running backs. (Next Week: BYE)


Last Week: 5


Last Week:
44-41 win over Iowa State (OT)
Wow! El Assico delivered in a way that no one ever expected. Iowa came really close to blowing a large lead in the rivalry game, but held on and delivered in overtime. The Hawkeyes were also forced to throw the ball a bit in this one, and Nate Stanley delivered 333 passing yards and 5 touchdowns. Iowa is looking dangerous. (Next Week: vs. North Texas)


Last Week: 10

Michigan State

Last Week:
28-14 win over Western Michigan
Well, how about the Spartans? After Western Michigan held tough against USC in week one, Sparty took a double-digit touchdown win in their battle with the western foe. They were too terrible last year to declare Michigan State "back" just yet, but they're certainly moving in the right direction. (Next Week: BYE)


Last Week: 11


Last Week:
48-14 win over Oregon State
The Gophers absolutely obliterated the lifeless Beavers, and only threw 8 passes in the process. Shannon Brooks and Rodney Smith look to be another solid combination this season, but they will have to throw the ball at some point. When that happens we'll have a much better read on this team. (Next Week: vs. Middle Tennessee)



Last Week: 9


Last Week:
42-35 loss to Oregon
Nebraska did all it could in a furious comeback against Oregon, but just couldn't get the final score they needed to complete the rally. Still, they showed much better in week two than they did in week one. Not much has been learned about the Huskers or our lord and savior Tanner Lee, though.


Last Week: 8


Last Week:
34-17 win over Virginia
Indiana moving down here is a function of two things. One, the teams around them just did more in week two (though Nebraska coming in ahead of Indiana is a curious choice by our voters). Two, there may be a quarterback controversy brewing. Both Dicky Lagow and Peytom Ramsey have looked good in 2017 so far, but mid-season quarterback questions aren't the best thing for a team. (Next Week: BYE)


Last Week: 7


Last Week:
41-17 loss to Duke
Northwestern gonna Northwestern. The Wildcats seem to struggle mightily in the early going year in and year out, with 2017 apparently being no exception. At least Duke is in a power five conference. Still, it would be a shame to see the Thorson/Jackson duo wasted. (Next Week: vs. Bowling Green)



Last Week: 12


Last Week:
44-21 win over Ohio
Purdue! Again! Double reverse flea flickers! Points! The Boilermakers are approaching appointment viewing status. (Next Week: @ Missouri)


Last Week: 14


Last Week:
20-7 win over Western Kentucky
Good for you, Illinois. You've already picked up one more win than many people expected you to pick up in 2017. Now have fun facing Quinton Flowers. (Next Week: @ No. 22 USF)


Last Week: 13


Last Week:
16-13 loss to Eastern Michigan
Oh, Rutgers. We fawn over you for an inspired defensive performance against Washington, and then you do this? Never trust a Scarlet Knight. They always let you down. (Next Week: vs. Morgan State)

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