Monday, September 19, 2011

B1G power rankings: Week 4

1. Wisconsin: They are without question the Number 1 team in the B1G and a legitimate BCS Championship contender.  Russell Wilson has my Heisman vote as of now.

2. Nebraska: With a healthy Taylor Martinez, the Huskers offense sure looks potent.  However, after giving up 29 and 38 points the last two weeks to Fresno State and Washington respectively, I'm sure some folks are getting a little nervous about the blackshirt defense.  I thought it would be just the opposite for Nebraska this year, strong defense and a pedestrian offense, but so far I was wrong.  I do think the defense will play better as the season grows older and the offense will come back to earth once they are forced to throw more against B1G defenses.

3. Iowa: Don't sleep on the Hawkeyes.  I know they looked mediocre for 3 quarters against Pitt, but a lot of that had to do with their competition.  Once the Hawkeyes get into B1G play they will have guns a blazin.  Speaking of guns how about James Vandenberg?!  He threw for 399 yards and engineered a comeback win after the Hawkeyes were down 21 points in the 3rd quarter.  Once Marcus Coker awakes from hibernation this offense will be one of the best in the conference.

4. Illinois:  I can't believe I'm putting a Ron Zook coached team this high but I am.  The thing with Illinois is they will have a BCS bowl team one year and then win 4 or 5 games the next.  I still don't love the Illini as a program as they and their head coach have been wildly inconsistent, but they have talent and a favorable schedule.  I must admit that Illinois looks a lot better than I gave them credit for in the pre-season and they will easily eclipse the 5 wins I predicted for them.  However, the schedule is daunting late in the year so it's best if the Illini don't stumble early and so far so good.  The Illini defense played extremely well against a hot quarterback in Arizona State's Brock Osweiler.

5. Michigan State: The Spartans got spanked by an angry Notre Dame team and will have to rebound to salvage their season.  I have noticed an alarming trend with Michigan State, when they get beat they get beat badly...

6. Michigan: The Wolverines look really good, but they looked good early in 2009 and 2010 as well.  However, with a new coaching staff that seems set on doing it the Michigan way I don't see a repeat of the last two years.  This coaching staff is at least trying to play defense and even though it's a work in progress the improvements made on that side of the ball have been dramatic. 

7. Ohio State:  The Buckeyes are unranked for the first time in a long time.  ESPN Big Ten blogger Adam Rittenburg wrote that it looked funny to not see a number by Ohio State's name and I must admit that I agree with him.  The Buckeye's quarterback play makes Penn State's situation look like an embarrassment of riches.  McGloin and Bolden of PSU have looked like Unitas and Montana compared to what TOSU has gotten out of Braxton Miller and Joe Bauserman.

8. Penn State: Speaking of awful quarterback play Penn State isn't exactly tearing it up throwing the ball either.  The Nittany Lions played in one of the ugliest games I have ever seen with my own two eyes against Temple last weekend and escaped with a win.  The defense has been exceptional, but the offense outside of a few big plays from Derek Moye and Silas Redd has been abysmal.

9. Northwestern: I had a hunch the Cats luck without Dan Persa was going to run out eventually and it did last weekend against Army.  Look for Persa to return for B1G play and Northwestern will do what they usually do under Pat Fitzgerald, improve as the season goes along.

10. Purdue: The Boilermakers absolutely demolished an over matched SE Missouri State team 59-0.  It was a huge relief for Head Coach Danny Hope, who's team had a near loss against Middle Tennessee at home and loss on the road against Rice.  Robert Marve returned from injury for Purdue and he combined with Caleb TerBush to help the Purdue go 22-27 passing.

11. Minnesota: The Gophers got a much needed win against Miami (OH) and the Gophers managed to put together two solid halves of football.  Their head coach, Jerry Kill returned to the sideline in the victory his first as coach of the Gophers.

12. Indiana: The Hoosiers managed to commit 20 penalties against South Carolina State and still won.  You can commit 20 penalties against a lousy FCS opponent and still pick up a win.  First year head coach Kevin Wilson picked up his first victory for the Hoosiers as they defended the rock in Bloomington.

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