Big Ten power rankings

September, 8, 2008
9/08/08
9:30
AM ET

Posted by ESPN.com's Adam Rittenberg

Every Big Ten team won in Week 2, but some made it look easier than others. Ohio State retains the top spot, but the Buckeyes certainly appeared beatable against Ohio. Penn State and Minnesota posted big wins, and Wisconsin turned a poor start into a blowout. It's tough to get a great read on Iowa and Indiana because of weak competition, but both teams look solid on offense.

There's no dramatic moves in the rundown -- those should come next week -- and the bottom of the league has plenty of parity right now.

1. Ohio State -- The Buckeyes wasted an opportunity against Ohio and visit top-ranked USC with several questions, none bigger than the health of running back Chris "Beanie" Wells. Their defensive stars stepped up with several takeaways on Saturday -- a big plus -- but the unit struggled on third down.

2. Wisconsin -- If the Badgers want to keep this spot, they better avoid a slow start on the road against Fresno State. The offense showed its explosiveness by scoring 51 unanswered points against Marshall, but health and red-zone execution remain concerns.

3. Penn State -- You don't want to face the Nittany Lions offense right now. Stocked with playmakers, Penn State ran all over Oregon State and showed tremendous focus despite the suspensions of three players last week. The Lions should be 6-0 when they head to Madison, Wis., on Oct. 11.

4. Illinois -- Juice Williams continues to put up monster numbers, setting a career best with 174 rushing yards and two touchdowns against Eastern Illinois. There were still some signs of bad Juice (2 INTs, fumble) and Illinois' run defense remains spotty, but the Illini hold their spot.

5. Michigan State -- The Spartans took care of business against poor competition, and Javon Ringer no longer has to share touchdown opportunities with another back. Plus, Michigan State's 7-point loss to Cal looks better after the Golden Bears stomped Washington State.

6. Iowa -- The Hawkeyes might have found a starting quarterback in Ricky Stanzi, and Shonn Greene has energized what looked like a shaky run game. Plus, the defense has allowed three points in its first two games.

7. Michigan -- Rich Rodriguez picked up his first win as Wolverines coach, but not without some tense moments. Led by a strong front four, the defense will keep Michigan in games this fall, but the quarterback play has to improve soon.

8. Indiana -- Quarterback Kellen Lewis continues to look good and finally got some help from his running backs against Murray State. The defense has been solid against terrible competition. They'll face a much tougher test from Nate Davis and Ball State in two weeks.

9. Northwestern -- The Wildcats drop two spots after they should have dropped a game to Duke on Saturday night. Their quest for a perfect nonconference record remains intact, but quarterback C.J. Bacher and a senior-laden offense need to get on track in a hurry.

10. Purdue -- It's hard to fault the Boilers for a 32-point win, but Northern Colorado rivals Coastal Carolina for the weakest Big Ten opponent this season. Things get much tougher for Purdue this week against Oregon, but Joe Tiller's squad has a chance to make a big move up the list.

11. Minnesota -- I'm tempted to bump up the Gophers after an impressive road win against Bowling Green, but none of their Big Ten brethren stumbled this week. Quarterback Adam Weber is on track for a huge season, though the defense still needs to prove itself in league play.

SPONSORED HEADLINES

Comments

You must be signed in to post a comment

Already have an account?

BIG TEN SCOREBOARD

Saturday, 12/20
Monday, 12/22
Tuesday, 12/23
Wednesday, 12/24
Friday, 12/26
Saturday, 12/27
Monday, 12/29
Tuesday, 12/30
Wednesday, 12/31
Thursday, 1/1
Friday, 1/2
Saturday, 1/3
Sunday, 1/4
Monday, 1/12