The Big Ten didn’t have a week to write home about. Its top contenders all played cupcake opponents, while several of the Big Ten West’s best fell in out-of-conference contests (Wisconsin, Illinois and Nebraska).
Big Ten play doesn’t begin for a few weeks still, so don’t expect to learn everything about teams until that date arrives. Regardless, we do these rankings every weekend even if Ohio State is playing Youngstown State.
So, here are our Big Ten Power Rankings after Week 2:
Week 2 Result: 38-7 win vs UTEP
Previous Rank: 14 (no change)
Northwestern won a football game for the first time in a calendar year. But a win over UTEP won’t be a needle-mover for these rankings.
The team still projects to struggle in Big Ten play and might get to 2-3 wins on the season.
Week 2 Result: 41-14 win vs Indiana State
Previous Rank: 13 (no change)
Out-of-conference play is tough for these purposes, as we don’t learn much when Northwestern beats UTEP and Indiana beats Indiana State. That said, the Hoosiers could make a bit of a rise in the ranking if the offense continues to roll.
Week 2 Result: 36-14 loss to Colorado
Previous Rank: 9 (down 3 spots)
Nebraska has a massive quarterback problem. The team hung in with Colorado for much of the game, yet Jeff Sims’ turnovers handed the Buffaloes a blowout win. I think Nebraska could round into form as the year continues, but its QB may hold the team back in big moments.
Week 2 Result: 36-7 win over Temple
Previous Rank: 12 (up 1)
The Rutgers Scarlet Knights are 2-0! It should be mentioned the two wins are against Northwestern and Temple, two of the country’s weaker opponents. But these wins are important for a Rutgers team that will struggle against the Big Ten’s best.
Week 2 Result: 34-23 loss to Kansas
Previous Rank: 8 (down 2)
Illinois now has a shaky win over Toledo and a crushing loss to Kansas on the resume. It’s safe to say the defense is a real question after DC Ryan Walters left for the Purdue job and several top Illini were selected in the NFL Draft. This team has a ways to go if it wants to contend in the Big Ten West.
Week 2 Result: 24-17 win vs Virginia Tech
Previous Rank: 11 (up 2)
Purdue is trending in the right direction after a disastrous Week 1. That loss to Fresno State is why the Boilermakers are still at No. 11, but this solid win against Virginia Tech might snowball into a rise once Big Ten play begins.
Michigan State (2-0)
Week 2 Result: 45-14 win vs Richmond
Previous Rank: 10 (up 2)
Michigan State won decisively against Richmond on the field. The big headline is off the field surrounding head coach Mel Tucker. I doubt Tucker will coach another game for the Spartans, which will affect the on-field product. That said, this ranking is about what teams have done so far. And the Spartans are 2-0 with two big wins against poor competition.
Week 2 Result: 31-22 loss to Washington State
Previous Rank: 7 (down 3)
Wisconsin entered the season with as much hype as anyone in the conference. Early results are not encouraging, as the team looked sloppy in a road loss to Washington State. The Big Ten West is still very much a possibility, but the team needs to prove it before they’re considered a favorite.
Week 2 Result: 25-6 win over Eastern Michigan
Previous Rank: 7 (up 1)
Minnesota is 1-0 in Big Ten play after a Week 1 win over Nebraska and added a pedestrian win over Eastern Michigan this week. The Gophers can be a West contender if QB Athan Kaliakmanis blossoms as the season continues.
Week 2 Result: 38-20 win over Charlotte
Previous Rank: 6 (up 1)
Maryland is quite good this year, but not close to the level of the Big Ten East’s elites. It has now coasted to two out-of-conference wins, which don’t tell us much. We’ll learn a lot when Big Ten play gets going.
Week 2 Result: 20-13 win over Iowa State
Previous Rank: 5 (up 1)
Iowa isn’t quite averaging 25 points-per-game, but the offense looks a lot better with Cade McNamara at quarterback. The rivalry game against Iowa State is never easy, so credit to the Hawkeyes for taking care of business and looking like the Big Ten West’s best team.
Ohio State (2-0)
Week 2 Result: 35-7 win over Youngstown State
Previous Rank: 3 (no change)
I don’t have much to add here after a win over Youngstown State, except Marvin Harrison Jr. is still very good. The Buckeyes will be tested for the first time in two weeks when they visit Notre Dame.
Penn State (2-0)
Week 2 Result: 63-7 win over Delaware
Previous Rank: 2 (no change)
Penn State is very good and won by a lot against a bad team, a sentence we can say about each of the top three teams in the conference.
Week 2 Result: 35-7 win over UNLV
Previous Rank: 1 (no change)
Michigan’s out-of-conference schedule remains an atrocity, which is an issue for another time. But it took care of business, and is the Big Ten’s best team right now.