For the third consecutive season I am back with my own personal Big Ten Football Power Poll. Every week I will rank the Big Ten teams how I see them, first by division, and then all fourteen teams in order. Sometimes there is rationality for how I see them ranked, and sometimes its just how I feel at the time. But I promise the rankings will make general sense—no ranking Rutgers #1 or anything stupid like that. Withouth further delay, here are the preseason Big Ten power rankings.
Big Ten East:
Why the Spartans on top of everyone else? I like what they return on offense. Brian Lewerke and LJ Scott are very underrated and the Spartans can play defense as well. Frankly the top four are a pretty open crapshoot at the moment and it may take a few weeks to shake things out. Utah State on Friday night should be a pretty easy opening game.
Penn State loses Saquon Barkley but returns Trace McSorley which definately helps. Is James Franklin’s team for real? It’s tough to tell this early but they will have a gauntlet to go through in the east. Appy State should be an easy first game, but Michigan said the same thing in 2007.
The Wolverines are a lot of media pundits sleeper team for the 2018 season. I won’t go that far, but they have probably the best defensive player in the conference in Rashaun Gary, and if Shea Patterson is the real deal, the Wolverines can be sneaky good. They get a big initial test at Notre Dame on Saturday.
The Buckeyes come in at the bottom of the group of four just due to the uncertainty they have. No Urban Meyer for the first three weeks and a new starting QB in Duane Haskins will make the first few games a bit of a learning curve. The Buckeyes may be on the top of this list in a few weeks, but they will need to earn their way up. Oregon State will be no test this week, and the Buckeyes should win by 40.
The we have the bottom three in the east. Once again all three sort of blend together to start and it will take a few weeks to shake out. Starting a true freshman qb who wasn’t even the best true freshman on his high school team in the conference takes guts, but the Scarlet Knights may actually look decent this season. Texas State should not be any tough task this weekend.
The Hoosiers had their own QB drama this week when grad transfer Brandon Hawkins decided to bolt after not winning the starting job. Their drama is a lot less that the team below them though, so they start in the #6 spot. Indiana is just one of two Big Ten teams starting on the road this weekend and they will be headed to Miami to play Florida International in what should not be a close game.
Well, they probably would have been rated a bit higher had it not been for the clusterF that has been College Park the last 6 weeks or so. I don’t know if anybody knows how Maryland will come out this weekend after the drama they have been living though, but Texas coming to town isn’t the easiest opener either.
Big Ten West
It would be nice to not see the Badgers at the top of this list, but someone will need to dethrone them. Its not going to be Western Kentucky Friday night.
Two through Four in the West are also pretty close and will need some time to shake out. I’ll give Iowa the early nod, but Northern Illinois could definite give the Hawkeyes an early test, especially with a few key Iowa players suspended thanks to their summer idiocy.
The Wildcats are a better team with Clayton Thorson at QB, and he may be back for the Wildcats opener—which is actually a conference game as they head to Purdue. Coach Fitz is playing a bit of mind games announcing he would announce the starting QB at 7:07 Thursday night)the exact kickoff time). He can be annoying at times, but his team is still decent.
We have a face-off for a spot right off the top as the Boilermakers host Northwestern. Coach Brohm will have to decide which of his two qb’s to play (Serial Killer eyes may be the favorite) and he has added some new talent. But will Purdue live up to expectations, or flop back to the pack?
The Gophers are neck and neck with Nebraska for 5 and 6, so maybe this is a homer pick. But I think they Gophers retain more talent and it will all come down to if Zack Annexstad is the real deal. It may take a few weeks to see if he is, but you have to be initially confident. We may get a better idea how things will go depending on how they treat New Mexico State this weekend.
Call this the everyone thinks Scott Frost will turn them around in no time with not as much influx of talent tax. We shall see just how good the Cornhuskers will be, but I think they will struggle much more than most. They also start a freshman QB in Adrian Martinez, and they lost their backup in Tristan Gebbia when he didn’t get the job. The Huskers are one big hit away for wishing for Tommy Armstrong again. Akron should not be too big of a roadblock in the way of Coach Frost’s first sin in Lincoln.
It’s still dark times in “Littyville”. The Illini may be slightly better, but they still should easily hold onto the bottom spot most of the season. Good Luck Lovie!
Overall Big Ten Rankings
- Wisconsin Badgers
- Michigan State Spartans
- Penn State Nittany Lions
- Michigan Wolverines
- Ohio State Buckeyes
- Iowa Hawkeyes
- Northwestern Wildcats
- Purdue Boilermakers
- Minnesota Golden Gophers
- Rutgers Scarlet Knights
- Nebraska Cornhuskers
- Indiana Hoosiers
- Maryland Terrapins
- Illinois Fighting Illini