Big Ten East Power Ratings: Week 1
No. 1 Michigan Wolverines
Week 1: Michigan plays host to Hawaii to open the season and I don't expect Big Blue to be challenged. I am interested to see Michigan's quarterback (Wilton Speight, John O'Korn or Shane Morris) play and evaluate whether or not they have a quarterback on their roster to take Michigan to Indianapolis for the first weekend of December. Michigan's defense will dominate Hawaii and the offense should be the beneficiaries of short fields and plenty of reps.
No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes
Week 1: While this week (and next) will primarily be dress rehearsal for the Buckeyes as they prepare for their road trip to Norman, Oklahoma in two weeks to take on the Sooners, it will be nice to be introduced to Ohio State's next wave of elite talent. Will J.T. Barrett be the total show on offense or will the youth start to identify themselves.
No. 3 Michigan State Spartans
Week 1: While I do have Sparty sitting on a down season (7-5, 5-4), if there is one team that could step up and challenge Michigan and Ohio State for the division title it would be Michigan State. The Spartans open the season Friday night at home against Furman. There will be no questions answered this week as MSU should win in blowout fashion. All State fans can do is hope nobody gets banged up as they improve to 1-0 and hope new quarterback Tyler O'Connor looks to be a solid replacement for Connor Cook.
No. 4 Penn State
Week 1: It would take a dream season for Penn State to jump the big boys of the East and show up in Indianapolis. The Lions should outclass Kent State in their home opener this weekend. Like everyone else in the Big Ten that is kicking the tires on a brand new quarterback, everyone in State College will be focused on Trace McSorley. Will he solidify himself as QB1 in Happy Valley?
No. 5 Indiana
Week 1: Another Big Ten East squad and another new quarterback taking over under center. Indiana will become the first conference school to take the field in 2016 as they open tomorrow evening at home against Florida International in Miami. While I wait for the Gophers to start, from the TCF Bank Stadium Press Box, I will be keeping my eye on the Hoosiers trying to evaluate if Richard Lagow can take over for Nate Sudfeld and keep the IU offense towards the top of the Big Ten.
No. 6 Maryland
Week 1: The D.J. Durkin rebuild starts with a gimme as Howard jumps on the Metro and takes the Green Line to the College Park stop. Maryland shouldn't have any issue with the Bison and will easily improve to 1-0 behind the talents of senior quarterback Perry Hills. The only question to be answered is what color combo the Terps will sport in the season opener at Maryland Stadium.
No. 7 Rutgers
Week 1: Gotta give credit to Rutgers for making the 2,800 mile road trip to Seattle to take on the Top 15 Washington Huskies. It will be interesting to see if Rutgers can compete with Washington or if the coast to coast travel produces a blowout loss for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers is also going through a remodeling process with first year head coach Chris Ash.
*DTCR: Division Title Confidence Rating