Monday, September 26, 2011

B1G power rankings: Week 5

1. Wisconsin: Simply the best team in the conference and it's not close.  The Badgers played their worst game of the year last Saturday and still won by almost 50 points.  The Badgers are a well oiled machine and they will give an overrated Nebraska team a rude welcome to the B1G next weekend.

2. Nebraska: Wisconsin is the only BCS caliber team the conference has to offer in my opinion and the Badgers will show why next weekend when they clobber the Cornhuskers in Madison. The Huskers have looked good, but not great so far and they better figure out their defensive issues in a hurry or they will give up at least 30 points to the Badgers on Saturday. 

3. Ohio State: The Buckeyes looked really good against a better than advertised Colorado team, but that loss to Miami a week and a 1/2 ago is really bugging me.  For Pete's sake the Hurricanes have lost to Maryland and Kansas State!  It looks like the close win against Toledo wasn't so bad as the Rockets should only have two loses to Boise State and Ohio State, but were robbed by the officials last weekend in Syracuse.  Outside of the Miami game the Buckeyes have looked okay and Braxton Miller will get better and better as the season progresses so all in all I like the Buckeyes.  They still have the best roster of talent in the conference.  Circle your calendars for an October 29th showdown with Wisconsin in the Shoe.

4. Iowa: I believe the Hawkeyes will be one of the Top 20 teams in the country by seasons end and I'm not going to let an early season loss to Iowa State change my mind.  James Vandenberg is an NFL caliber quarterback and with weapons like Marcus Coker, Marvin McNutt, and Keenan Davis surrounding him I have no doubt I will be vindicated by seasons end.  The Hawkeyes have a balanced offense to go along with a strong back 7 on defense.  They do need to play better along the front 4 defensively and they will get better by seasons end.

5. Michigan State: That loss to Notre Dame two weeks ago was a bad one because the Spartans were never really in the game.  Notre Dame is better than their record indicates but the Spartans continue to lose games to good teams by wide margins.  It's hard for me to believe that the Spartans beat Wisconsin last year.  The defense still has some things to work out before taking on a brutal B1G road schedule.

6. Michigan: The Wolverines are 4-0 for the third year in a row, but I know for a fact things won't turn south the way they did in 2009 and 2010 under Rich Rodriguez.  While the Wolverines aren't even close to being back to "Michigan" standards they are well on their way under first year head coach Brady Hoke.  The Wolverines should win 8 or 9 games this year.  They open B1G season with cupcake Minnesota, a team the Wolverines have absolutely owned.  The little brown jug has a permanent residence in Ann Arbor and has only taken short trips to Minneapolis in 1986 and 2005 in the last 30 years.  There is zero chance the jug makes another trip to Minneapolis this year.

7. Illinois: Holy smoke did I jump the gun on the Illini last week after their win over Arizona State.  I think I had them 4th?!  Don't get me wrong the Illini will go bowling this year and make it back to back bowl appearances for the first time in nearly 20 years, but this just isn't a great team, it's just a good team.  The Illini struggled with Western Michigan and still haven't found a work horse, number 1 type of tailback to lead them yet.  Their defense has been much better than expected.  I still see the Illini finishing with only 3 or 4 wins in conference play.

8. Penn State: Matt McGloin was solid against Eastern Michigan and probably sowed up the starting quarterback position heading into B1G play.  The only thing he needs to do now is be consistent, something he struggled with last year.  Speaking of consistent the Nitts also need to show they can be a consistent team. 

9. Northwestern: The Wildcats should get Dan Persa back for the conference opener with Illinois and I expect a barn burner between the Cats and Illini and Persa and Illinois QB Nathan Scheelhaase.  The Cats had an extra week to get Persa healthy with last weeks bye.

10. Purdue: The Boilermakers were the other idle team in the B1G and look to turn the corner after struggling with injuries and lackluster performances in the non conference season.

11. Minnesota: The Gophers were humiliated at home by their neighbors to the west, the North Dakota State Bison.  The Gophers committed costly penalties and turnovers and lost by double digits.  They were outplayed in every phase of the game.  To make matters worse Head Coach Jerry Kill checked himself into the Mayo Clinic after having another seizure Sunday morning.  Kill's return is unknown at this point and all we can do now is say a prayer for the coach and his family.

11. Indiana:  I am putting the Gophers and Hoosiers in a tie for last in the power rankings because simply put they are both awful.  The Hoosiers found themselves down 24-0 to a dreadful North Texas team only to mount a furious rally that fell short as they lost 24-21.  Still, you shouldn't need a furious rally against North Texas.  The Gophers and Hoosiers had great off seasons as both coaches created a lot of hype and hope with their respective fan bases and landed key instate recruits, but the results on the field have been nothing short of horrendous.

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