Hey folks, welcome back to college football. Today I bring you the first week rankings of the Big Ten Conference. The first couple weeks of the year are kind of a crapshoot outside of the top teams in the conference. So, I expect a shuffling here in the next couple of weeks. Some teams may turn out to be bad and some may turn out to be good.
There are some universals like Ohio State being good and
Rutgers Nebraska being bad. However, there’s a lot in-between them that may surprise you as the season moves along.
So, keep track at home and we can see how the teams adjusted as the season marches towards winter.
1. Ohio State - Yes, they’re back and probably better than ever. Word around the campfire is that Ryan Day has built a war machine that can take on the powers in the SEC. Expect them once again to lay waste to the Big Ten as they move forward towards the College Football playoff.
Sick of OSU dominating year in and year out? Too bad kids. These guys are sticking around. You could thank them because if it wasn’t for their prowess then this would literally be an SEC world.
2. Michigan - Jim Harbaugh lost a bit of talent from last season’s Big Ten Champion team. They also had a bit of a rough offseason with his flirtation with the NFL and some coaching vacancies. However, they are still talent rich and should compete well as the season moves along. Hey, at leas the guy keeps things interesting.
3. Penn State - I might be putting the Nittany Lions up a little too high, but it’s the start of the season and I can get away with it. James Franklin has recruited well over the past years but coaching has detoured them from reaching the mountain top. While I do not believe they will have enough to win the conference I do think they will have little issues with most of the teams on their schedule.
4. Wisconsin - Big bad bully of the Big Ten West will once again be a predictable force in 2022. Expect a boring offense and strong defense that will wear their opponents down. I don’t know, it’s Wisconsin. What else can you say? Beer, cheese, & fullbacks.
5. Michigan State - Mel Tucker has come in to East Lansing and turned a traditional model Big Ten team into something that looks more like one from the SEC. Which bodes well for the Spartans and for the conference. Mel’s recruiting has shot the Spartans up nationally and they are competing for players with the elites. Something that was not exactly happening before he left Boulder. This is a team that could challenge the top contenders of the conference.
6. Iowa - Stout defense and an offensive coordinator that keeps them from being really good. Zzzzzzzzzz.....
7. Northwestern - As we saw in Dublin Saturday, Northwestern is decent. They are on their “even year” streak of being good again. Last year stunk so this year they are good. I don’t think they will win the west but they will win enough games to pull some upsets and make a bowl. Proving the Pat Fitzgerald is probably one of the best coaches in college football.
8. Minnesota - Like him or hate him, P.J. Fleck is a good coach. He recruits well enough to produce a contender in the Big Ten West. Expect a lot from their offense as they return Mohamed Ibrahim who as injured last season along with quarterback Tanner Morgan. No one is going to talk about them until they are 3-0 heading into the Michigan State game.
9. Purdue - If there is a dark horse contender for the west it is Purdue. Jeff Brohm has has a couple rough seasons but should have enough this year to pull off some upsets. I can see this team moving up in this poll fairly quickly if he can get this team together early enough. It’s a “wait and see” moment for why they are so low right now in this ranking.
10. Maryland - Recruiting and some decent assistant coaches might just make this team into something this season. Taulia Tagovailoa is back with one of the Big Ten’s best offenses from last season. Sill no defense to be had but that’s not a surprise for the Terps.
11. Illinois - I would keep an eye on Bert this year. He managed some decent upsets last season and seems to finally be pushing a team into the right direction. Their defense is serviceable and might see and uptick in offensive production with transfer Tommy DeVito at quarterback. If anything, we might get to see his dad Danny show up to game or two. They beat Wyoming on Saturday but I think that is more to show how bad Wyoming is than how good Illinois is.
12. Rutgers - Noah Vedral is still their quarterback. Yep, he should be getting social security payments soon. Schiano seems to be recruiting well there and Rutgers has seemingly put long term faith into his system. I just do not see anything special happening here this season. Surprise me Rutgers.
13. Indiana - I have no idea. It’s Indiana. They tanked last year and have a mixture of transfers that have come in.
14. Nebraska - Yeah, I am pretty clueless myself.