Big Ten Power Rankings

Three conference teams score over 40 points while three teams held its opponents to 10 points or less. With only one week in the books, this conference season is shaping up to be a dandy. Badger Nation ranks the conference.

1) Ohio State (1-0); last week's ranking, 1

Last week: def. Marshall 45-7

Yeah, yeah, it was only Marshall. The Buckeyes are stacked at every position, and it won't take long to see how they match up against marquee competition. If Ohio State survives the oncoming Hurricane, Jim Tressel's squad's coast is clear until mid-October and a trip to Camp Randall.

Next: vs. Miami (1-0)

2) Iowa (1-0); LW, 2

Last week: def. Eastern Illinois 37-7

Ricky Stanzi hobbled off the field, making a lot of Hawkeye fans very, very nervous after last year's injury issues, but he should be fine going forward. The good people of the Heartland are rightfully invigorated for this season, and Iowa will only get better next week after a couple of suspensions to running back Jewel Hampton and defensive end Broderick Binns.

Next: vs. Iowa State (1-0)

3) Wisconsin (1-0); LW, 3

Last week: def. UNLV 41-21

We don't often receive opportunities to put "Wisconsin" and "national champion" in the same sentence when talking football, so here goes. San Jose State will travel to Wisconsin the week after getting spanked by defending National Champion Alabama. Nice to see the Badgers enjoy a nice, easy home opener against another cupcake opponent, the same day Ohio State, Penn State and Michigan take on BCS contenders.

Next: vs. San Jose State (0-1)

4) Michigan State (1-0); LW, 4

Last week: def. Western Michigan 38-14

If Le'Veon Bell is still available in your college football fantasy leagues, better snap him up. The true freshman was good for 141 yards and a pair of scores on just 10 carries in place of starter Larry Caper. Speaking of wounded backs, a tough break for fullback Josh Rouse, who suffered a season-ending neck injury Saturday - he had received a fifth year of eligibility after missing all of 2009 with a toe injury.

Next: at Florida Atlantic (1-0)

5) Michigan (1-0); LW, 7

Last week: def. Connecticut 30-10

Is the Big East a "real" football conference? Another debate for another day. But how's this for controversial: the Wolverines are back. Denard Robinson looks like the real deal, and look for the Big House home-field advantage to build through the fall. Big Ten titles are still a ways away, but every team should fear Michigan at least a little bit again.

Next: at Notre Dame (1-0)

6) Northwestern (1-0); LW, 6

Last week: def. Vanderbilt 23-21

What's this? A Big Ten team beat a SEC team? That just happened. Of course, the two schools in question are more likely to face off in a Mathletes national championship than a BCS title game, but still, the Wildcats look headed for a promising campaign behind rock-solid quarterback Dan Persa (19-of-21, 222 yards, 3 TDs Saturday).

Next: vs. Illinois State (1-0)

7) Penn State (1-0); LW, 5

Last week: def. Youngstown State 44-14

We're drinking the Penn State-flavored Haterade this fall. Don't let the final score fool you; Youngstown State hung with the Nittany Lions for a half. With road games at Alabama, Iowa and Ohio State, the ceiling for JoePa's team seems to be nine wins, and maybe less if it continues to underachieve.

Next: at Alabama (1-0)

8) Illinois (0-1); LW, 8

Last week: lost to Missouri 23-13

The fight was there for all 60 minutes, and we don't know what kind of team Missouri has. Plus, it didn't count, but that fourth-down throw from Nathan Scheelhaase to Mikel Leshoure where Leshoure's foot barely scraped the sideline would have made highlight reels for a long, long time. Ten-point lead squandering isn't fun business, but the Illini could be an interesting team in 2010.

Next: vs. Southern Illinois

9) Purdue (0-1); LW, 9

Last week: lost to Notre Dame 23-12

The Boilermakers went into South Bend and stayed in striking distance until late in the fourth quarter. They can't complain with that output, and the next three weeks - all at home - set up Purdue for a 3-1 non-conference record.

Next: vs. Western Illinois (1-0)

10) Indiana (1-0); LW, 11

Last week: def. Towson 51-17

Bill Lynch-coached teams at Indiana have no problem with opening week. It's the rest of September, October and November that invites struggle. The Hoosiers, now victors of their last seven openers, won just 10 games in the last three seasons combined after Week 1.

Next: at Western Kentucky (0-1), Sept. 18

11) Minnesota (1-0); LW, 10

Last week: def. Middle Tennessee 24-17

Since this looks to be a tough season for the Gophers, how about a cool story out of opening week: according to a St. Paul Pioneer Press story, fullback Jon Hoese wasn't going to accompany his team to Murfreesboro, Tenn. after the senior captain's father suffered a stroke last week. His family pushed him to play, and Hoese scored all three touchdowns for the Golden Gophers.

Next: vs. South Dakota (0-1)


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