With week one of college football in the books, it’s time to break down each Big Ten team and stack them up based on what we saw during week one.
1. Ohio State (1-0)
Last Week: 45-21 WIN vs FAU
This Week: vs Cincinnati (Noon, ABC)
I am not saying I was expecting to see Lane Kiffin’s FAU Owls pull up the upset here. Ohio State did not look like a team that went through a QB and coaching change this off season. The Buckeyes looked like a seasoned squad looking to become another talking point in the college football playoff conversation.
2. Michigan (1-0)
Last Week: 40-21 WIN vs Middle Tennessee State
This Week: vs Army (Noon, FOX)
Speaking of the college football playoff conversation, could this be the year Michigan finds a way in? This year, the Wolverines are touting one of the most talented squads in the Jim Harbaugh era. While a 40-21 win over Middle Tennessee isn’t the most telling game in the world, a matchup with a strong Army team this week should tell us more about what kind of team Michigan is going to be in 2019.
3. Wisconsin (1-0)
Last Week: 49-0 WIN vs South Florida
This Week: vs Central Michigan (3:30 p.m., BTN)
We knew Jonathan Taylor was going to be special this season and special was exactly what he was on Friday night against USF. Taylor rushed 16 times for 135 yards and two touchdowns. He also had two receptions for two touchdowns wrapping up a four-touchdown day. Wisconsin’s defense held USF to a shutout as Wisconsin is looking to possibly be back on top in the Big Ten West.
4. Iowa (1-0)
Last Week: 38-14 WIN vs Miami (OH)
This Week: vs Rutgers (Noon, FS1)
Iowa had an interesting week one against the Miami Redhawks. The Hawkeyes are continually proving that while they may not be in the college football playoff conversation every year, they are becoming one of (if not the) most consistent teams in the Big Ten. Nate Stanley is looking to continue building his already solid quarterback resume as he did Saturday with a three-touchdown performance as Iowa tries to book its tickets to Indianapolis in a wide open Big Ten West.
5. Penn State (1-0)
Last Week: 79-7 WIN vs Idaho
This Week: vs Buffalo (7:30 pm, FOX)
Penn State is a team I think everyone had questions about this offseason. However, beating a team 79-7 is no easy task and shows that James Franklin still has that offensive mindset. Keep in mind the team they beat was Idaho, but hey, you have to start somewhere. We really will not get a good feel for this team until it plays a true opponent, which is looking to be Pitt in week three.
6. Michigan State (1-0)
Last Week: 28-7 WIN vs Tulsa
This Week: vs Western Michigan (7:30 p.m, BTN)
I have not been on the hype train that everyone else has been riding for Sparty in 2019. I think there is this feeling that every three years Michigan State ‘needs’ to have a 10-win season and while that is usually the case, I don’t think it will happen this year. MSU is still a solid team and beating Tulsa 28-7 is very respectable; however I still believe ranking them No. 18 in the nation is a bit high. I expect Sparty to have an 7-8-win season but not to reach the epitome of college football glory.
7. Nebraska (1-0)
Last Week: 35-21 WIN vs South Alabama
This Week: at Colorado (3:30 p.m., FOX)
Is Nebraska back?! Listen, I get there are reasons to be excited about the Huskers but let’s not lose all sense of reality. It’s season No. 2 for Scott Frost and programs take a while to rebuild. They beat a South Alabama team by two touchdowns, so let’s calm down a bit and see how they compete in the Big Ten.
8. Northwestern (0-1)
Last Week: 17-7 LOSS at Stanford
This Week: BYE
The Wildcats were one of the only Big ten teams to play on the road and play an opponent that carries some respect around their name and they only lost by 10. Don’t be surprised if Northwestern shoots up these rankings sooner rather than later.
9. Indiana (1-0)
Last Week: 34-24 WIN vs Ball State
This Week: vs Eastern Illinois (3:30 p.m., BTN)
Indiana is this high after a pretty ‘eh’ game from Ball State because of two words: Mike Penix. The freshman QB was an absolute sensation in his first game starting for the Hoosiers. He threw for over 300 yards, and if his receivers had reduced the amount of drops, Penix could’ve thrown for much more. Expect the Hoosiers to be back in the 6-win conversation this year with a solid QB under center.
10. Purdue (0-1)
Last Week: 34-31 LOSS at Nevada
This Week: Vanderbilt (Noon, BTN)
A loss in week one wasn’t the hot start Purdue wanted to start off the next chapter in the Jeff Brohm era. However, the Boilers find themselves in the exact same place they were last year: an 0-1 record to start the year. The Boilers have a ton of talent, but they also are replacing a lot of talent. Expect some growing pains as Purdue tries to be at its best come season’s end.
11. Maryland (1-0)
Last Week: 79-0 WIN vs Howard
This Week: vs Syracuse (Noon, ESPN)
Not just one, but two Big Ten teams scored 79 points this past Saturday. The Maryland Terrapins proved to be solid in in performing a defensive shutout but also showed the ability of Mike Locksley’s ability to coach a high-powered offense. So why are they No. 11? The Howard Bison are not the best quality of opponent for a growing Big Ten squad, so this win is more of an expectation than anything.
12. Minnesota (1-0)
Last Week: 28-21 WIN vs South Dakota State
This Week: at Fresno State (10:30 p.m., CBSSN)
P.J. Fleck has done a phenomenal job at Minnesota. While a one-touchdown game against South Dakota State doesn’t exactly show that, he’s shown his ability to play at the level of their competition. Expect them to flirt with upsets in the Big Ten but will most likely come up short most times out.
13. Illinois (1-0)
Last Week: 42-3 WIN vs Akron
This Week: at UConn (3:30 p.m. CBSSN)
Brandon Peters is a very good addition and Lovie Smith is fantastic at developing an offense with a solid QB under center. Illinois showed exactly that in week one with an all-around dominating win against a solid MAC squad from Akron. Could this season bring a turnaround in Urbana-Champaign?
14. Rutgers (1-0)
Last Week: 48-21 WIN vs UMass
This Week: at Iowa (Noon, FS1)
Even though UMass led Rutgers early 14-0, the Scarlet Knights had the last laugh. The Knights would outscore the Minutemen 48-7 the rest of the evening and surprise many with their dominating performance. That being said, UMass was ranked the 130th best team in college football…out of 130. Not exactly a highly skilled opponent you need to boost the confidence. But a win is a win for Rutgers.