Big Ten Power Rankings Week 6
The good news for the Big Ten going forward is that for every big ten loss there is also a big ten win! Though don’t discount Illinois and Indiana’s ability to engineer a way around that.
The opening weekend of Big Ten play was not filled with impressive performances. It says a great deal about the state of the ostensible Big Ten elite when most impressive performance was probably turned in by Northwestern.
And they surrendered 4 TDs to Indiana.
#1 Ohio State University Buckeyes (LW #1)
Ohio State holds onto their first spot in most power polls by virtue of coming out ahead in one of two notable retard slap fights last Saturday. Ohio State’s defense did shut down Michigan State’s running attack in a way no one has this season. As a team the Spartans managed just 34 yards on 22 carries (1.5 YPC), which represents their worst day rushing since being held to 29 yards on 23 attempts (1.26 YPC) at Notre dame on 09/07/11.
Overall Ohio State’s offense was adequate but few players outside Miller made plays. Succeeding long term with Miller being responsible for a Denard Robinsoneseque 82.2% of team yards.
Just kidding it’s the Big Ten–they’ll probably be fine.
#2 Northwestern Wildcats (LW #3)
All three teams ranked 2 – 5 last week won, but Northwestern moves up by virtue of an absurd offensive performance. Northwestern dialed their offense up to video game mode and totaled 704 yards of total offense. Junior QB Kain Colter attempted only 3 passes but rushed the ball 14 times for 161 yards for an eye popping 11.5 yards per rush and four TDs. His 1/3 2 yards 0 TD 1 INT performance did produce one of my favorite QB ratings in a long time however.
Colter’s platoon-mate in Northwestern’s 2 QB offense, Trevor Siemian, handled the passing load putting 32 passes in the air for 308 yards.
#3 Purdue Boilermakers (LW #3)
A lot of concern has been expressed nationally about Purdue surrendering over 500 yards of offense to Marshall. The Thundering Herd play an up tempo passing attack that puts the ball in the air with frequency to a variety of different receivers. Entering Saturday’s game Marshall had averaged 383.5 yards per game, and while Cato’s 439 yards was a season best he put the ball in the air 68 times and for a more modest 6.45 YPA–a full yard below his season average prior to facing Purdue.
Purdue raced out to a huge 42-14 first half lead then coasted the rest of the way. Purdue’s defense allowing 27 second half points doesn’t concern me. Much as I hate to admit it their front seven is fantastic and Marshall is by far the best passing offense they’ll face this year. What does concern me is Purdue’s offense sputtering in the second half, but it’s hard to criticize an offense that put up 51 points with a straight face.
#4 Nebraska Cornhuskers (LW #2)
Nebraska did manage to come back from 3 possessions down to overtake dumpy Wisconsin, but they effectively turned the ball over three times in the process (2 fumbles, 1 roughing the kicker penalty) and looked out of sorts for most of the game.
Martinez, Burkhead and Abdullah combined to rush for 263 yards on 41 carries (6.4 YPC) proving again that Nebraska has a broad range of offensive talent, but again raising the question of why they struggle to utilize that talent at times.
#5 Michigan Wolverines (LW #5)
Michigan’s bye keeps them stable at 5. Nothing much to add here beyond the obvious: their defense appears to be improving and Al Borges has to stop getting in Denard Robinson’s way.
#6 Penn State Nittanny Lions (LW #5)
Yes, Illinois is terrible but Penn State managed to rush out to a 21-0 lead before Illinois burned them on a trick play to pull within 21-7. Illinois never seriously threatened again and Penn State closed out the game with a 28 point victory. Penn state is 15th in points against so far this season but that number could jump up significantly against Northwestern this week.
#7 Wisconsin Badgers (LW #7)
Wisconsin turned to Montee Ball last week against Michigan handing him the ball 32 times. Unfortunately for Wisconsin those 32 carries only netted 90 yards–a 2.8 YPC average.
Other than doing a Michigan State imitation in the run game Wisconsin did continue to throw the ball down field with some success, pushing out to a 20-3 second quarter lead. Both teams exchanged TDs before Nebraska rattled off 20 straight points.
#8 Michigan State Spartans (LW #6)
Michigan State’s rapid decline continues following a 17-16 loss to Ohio State. Of primary concern is Bell’s inability to run the ball without a serious passing attack to back him up. With the exception of a game against Eastern Michigan Michigan State is heading the wrong way on both running and defending the run:
Entering this weekend MSU is 112th in points for. It’s not all bad though–they drew Indiana this week.
#9 Iowa Hawkeyes (LW #11)
After struggling mightily with their opening schedule outside of Northern Iowa, it was actually beginning to become a foregone conclusion that Minnesota would bring back Floyd of Rosedale for the third consecutive year. Instead Iowa built up a 24-0 first half lead and embarrassed the Gophers en route to a 31-13 win. In contrast to MSU’s rush offense, Iowa continues to improve despite losing in the neighborhood of five HBs to transfer and injury since the end of last season.
#10 Minnesota Golden Gophers (LW #9)
Minnesota had not faced a hard opponent yet in 2012 and it showed. Minnesota was manhandled at the point of attack on offense and allowed 7.3 yards per carry while only gaining 2.3 yards per carry. Max Shortell struggled to get the ball downfield and when he did was picked off three times, including a pick six in the fourth quarter. Shortell did manage to move the ball some in the second half against softer defenses, but even Jerry Kill is openly pining for Gray’s return.
#11 Indiana Hoosiers (LW #10)
#12 Illinois Fightin’ Illini (LW #12)
Illini coach Tim Beckman comes from the Tim Brewster school of bluster, but 5 games into his Illinois career he’s making Tim Brewster look like the Desert Fox. Illinois is terrible across the board ranking 73rd in passing yards, 91st in rushing yards, 99th in points for and 79th in points against.
You can go ahead and pencil in November 10th as a conference win for Minnesota.