Last week: def. No. 12 Miami 36-24
All the talk nationally about Ohio State comes back to Terrelle Pryor, but let's hope people didn't forget that the Buckeyes' calling card is defense. Not that Jacory Harris' reputation has been built on hype and hype alone, but four picks and a paltry 120 rushing yards were the nasty numbers produced by ACC contender Miami in the Horseshoe.
Next: vs. Ohio (1-1)
2) No. 9 Iowa (2-0); LW, 2
Last week: def. Iowa State 35-7
The Hawkeyes relied on so many close calls and last-minute miracles in 2009 that they may have forgotten what it's like to be the bully. Iowa State's fourth-quarter touchdown was the Cyclones' first in 18 quarters against their in-state rival - and it happened against Iowa's second-stringers, who were playing because the game was no longer in doubt. Ah, the drawbacks of blowouts.
Next: at No. 24 Arizona (2-0)
3) No. 20 Michigan (2-0); LW, 5
Last week: def. Notre Dame 28-24
Pryor continues to be a Heisman favorite, but he might not be the most feared quarterback in his own league. Denard Robinson shook, rattled and rolled his way to 502 total yards and the game-winning drive in Notre Dame Stadium. Get ready, folks: Michigan is officially back.
Next: vs. Massachusetts (2-0)
4) No. 11 Wisconsin (2-0); LW, 3
Last week: def. San Jose State 27-14
You've gotta respect Scott Tolzien's contention that peaking as a team in September won't do the Badgers any good in November, December or perhaps January. 2-0 is 2-0. But will Wisconsin be 3-0 after playing its one and only legitimate non-conference opponent of 2010?
Next: vs. Arizona State (2-0)
5) Michigan State (2-0); LW, 4
Last week: def. Florida Atlantic 30-17
Ditto the peaking in September thing. I wonder if last week's game, which was supposed to be in Florida originally, still listed Florida Atlantic as the "home" team on the Ford Field scoreboard.
Next: vs. Notre Dame (1-1)
6) Northwestern (2-0); LW, 6
Last week: def. Illinois State 37-3
Slowly but surely, the entire Northwestern athletic program - spearheaded by the ongoing successes of both the football and men's basketball teams - is rising out of ‘embarrassment' status. A nice road win in an SEC stadium plus a blowout of the in-state Redbirds has given the Wildcats confidence for another potential bowl season.
Next: at Rice (1-1)
7) No. 22 Penn State (1-1); LW, 7
Last week: lost to No. 1 Alabama 24-3
It goes without saying that Penn State going into a hostile environment and turning the ball over four times isn't a recipe for success. Don't kill the Nittany Lions too much for the loss, since we don't know just how dominating the defending champs are.
Next: vs. Kent State (1-1)
8) Illinois (1-1); LW, 8
Last week: def. Southern Illinois 35-3
What to say about this win. A routine five-touchdown win over a directional opponent. Next week will probably be the same story. Yawn.
Next: vs. Northern Illinois (1-1)
9) Purdue (1-1); LW, 9
Last week: def. Western Illinois 31-21
And another routine win over a directional Illinois school. You know, say this for the Badgers and their non-conference scheduling: when's the last time you saw Wisconsin pick on Southern Wisconsin? Or Western Wisconsin State? Or North-by-Northeastern Wisconsin?
Next: vs. Ball State (1-1)
10) Indiana (1-0); LW, 10
Last week: Idle
A headscratcher of a scheduling decision: Indiana played Towson (of the Colonial Athletic Association) on the Thursday before opening Saturday, then "enjoyed" a bye week to rest up from all those aches and pains from 60 minutes of football. This is what you get as a low-level BCS program, apparently.
Next: at Western Kentucky (0-2)
11) Minnesota (1-1); LW, 11
Last week: lost to South Dakota 41-38
Don't worry, Gopher fans. Your next opponent is totally easier than the one that just beat you last week. Think of it this way: South Dakota has a better chance of playing in a bowl game than USC.
Next: vs. No. 18 USC