NCF Nation: power-rankings-091211

Pac-12 power rankings: Week 3

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
11:13
AM ET
» Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

If you don't like where you are in the power rankings, play better.

See last week's power rankings here.

1. Stanford: It wasn't a great performance at Duke, but there's something to be said for playing a mediocre game and still crushing your foe. We'll know more about the Cardinal after this weekend's visit to the 'Zona Zoo.

2. Oregon: The Ducks' offense cranked it up to light speed again on Nevada. Run defense a little questionable.

3. Arizona State: The Sun Devils won the statement game they'd been pointing at since the 2010 season ended. But good teams keep winning, they don't sit there and watch one game tape over and over. A road trip to Illinois, a talented Big Ten team, will be a major test -- mentally as much as physically.

4. USC: The Trojans were sloppy in the red zone against Utah, but a win is a win is a win. And USC has two of them with no losses.

5. California: The Bears got tested on the road by a feisty Colorado squad out for revenge. And they passed. We are tempted to buy-in with the Bears. But not yet. We've been hurt before (sniffle).

6. Washington: There was a lot to like about the win against Hawaii, particularly the play of quarterback Keith Price. But that pass defense ... not much to like there. Well, other than some clutch interceptions during two victories.

7. Utah: The Utes proved they can compete with the likes of USC, but the loss in LA was a setback to their South Division hopes.

8. Washington State: It's Coug world and we're just lucky to be paying rent in it. If Washington State wins at San Diego State on Saturday, Coug pandemonium might ensue.

9. Arizona: Yes, Wildcats, this is punishment for the uncompetitive effort at Oklahoma State. Want redemption? How about upsetting Stanford? (Hey, easy, I didn't make this schedule).

10. UCLA: The Bruins are making the Pac-12 blog regret saying nice things about them in the preseason. It's probably a good thing no one showed up to watch the woeful performance against San Jose State. But if UCLA can mess with Texas (again), it might regain some momentum, in the locker room and among the fan base.

11. Colorado: A much better performance against California. There is hope. But, Buffs, you're still 0-2.

12. Oregon State: Two games. Two bad losses. Two quarterbacks. Too many injuries. Too many problems.

SEC power rankings: Week 3

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
9:22
AM ET
» Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

Another week means more movement in our power rankings:

1. LSU: The Tigers (2-0) have shown that you don't need a powerful offense to succeed. It's all about defense for LSU and that defense has been very good for the Bayou Bengals. After shutting down Oregon in Cowboys Stadium, LSU sported the purple jerseys in its home opener and totally dismantled an over-matched Northwestern State team, allowing just 95 total yards of offense. Moving the ball against this group looks like it will be a tall order for any team this fall.

2. Alabama: The Tide (2-0) isn't flashy on offense by any means, but this team manages the game well and is efficient. AJ McCarron seems to have cemented himself as the starter in Tuscaloosa after an impressive day in Happy Valley over the weekend. Help will eventually be on the way on offense, once receiver Duron Carter is cleared to play. He should provide a much-needed deep threat to the offense. Like LSU, consistently moving the ball on this defense is beyond hard.

3. Arkansas: This team has quietly put up a ton of points in its first two games. The Razorbacks (2-0) have outscored their opponents 103-10. Granted, Arkansas isn't playing top-level talent, but we can see that this offense can still move the ball, despite losing Ryan Mallett to the NFL draft and Knile Davis to a knee injury. It will be interesting to watch how injuries in Week 2 affect the Hogs. Quarterback Tyler Wilson left the game with concussion-like symptoms, receiver Jarius Wright suffered a strained knee, and defensive end Jake Bequette injured his hamstring. Arkansas won't need them against Troy this weekend, but they'll need to be healthy for the trip to Alabama to close the month.

4. South Carolina: The defense hasn't been pretty, but it made the necessary plays to squeak by Georgia in Athens on Saturday. South Carolina (2-0) has really been pushed in the first two weeks, but the Gamecocks have showed resiliency. They aren't winning the way they'd like to, but the Gamecocks are undefeated and have the early lead in the SEC East. Teams know Marcus Lattimore and Alshon Jeffery are going to be heavily targeted and both are still making plays.

5. Florida: We still don't really know what to expect from the Gators (2-0). Florida's defense has looked faster and much more aggressive under new head coach Will Muschamp and defensive coordinator Dan Quinn, but Florida hasn't faced SEC-quality opponents. This week, the Gators will as Tennessee comes to town with its high-flying offense. Chris Rainey has been the star on offense and John Brantley isn't making a lot of mistakes, but the playbook will have to open up as the Gators get ready for the conference season.

6. Auburn: This team just doesn't know how to lose. Auburn (2-0) has won a nation-leading 17 straight games -- 10 by eight points or fewer. The Tigers kept that winning streak intact after a back-and-forth slugfest with Mississippi State Saturday. The defense still has a lot of question marks, but when a play had to be made, the Tigers did it. The offense isn't too exciting, but plays were made at critical times and Michael Dyer looked like his running legs were back as he made the Bulldogs' defense look silly. Will taking it down to the wire eventually catch up with these cats?

7. Tennessee: Well, we know the Volunteers (2-0) will keep the scoreboard lights on. Quarterback Tyler Bray has looked like the league's best quarterback through the first two weeks, passing for 678 yards and seven touchdowns. Receivers Da'Rick Rogers and Justin Hunter have made things easy for Bray, combining for 31 catches for 502 yards and five touchdowns. The Vols' offense will get a major test in Gainesville this weekend, where the winner will become top contender to challenge South Carolina for the division.

8. Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (1-1) came into the season as a trendy dark horse pick in the West, but left the weekend with yet another loss to the West under Dan Mullen. Mississippi State's defense showed it misses defense coordinator Manny Diaz and its three starting linebackers from last year as Auburn carved up the defense for 235 rushing yards. Chris Relf was most of the offense for the Bulldogs Saturday, until running back Vick Ballard finally got things going late, but Mississippi State needs much more from its receiving corps.

9. Georgia: This group of Bulldogs (0-2) has had a rough start to the season, but things get a little lighter from here on out. After losing a tough one in the Georgia Dome to Boise State, Georgia dropped a heart-breaker to South Carolina at home. Fans are no doubt growing more impatient, but the Bulldogs aren't out of the East race by any means. It will be a fight to get ahead now, but the season is far from over. It's all about staying together and making sure the Bulldogs are mentally ready for the rest of the season.

10. Vanderbilt: Getting that win over Connecticut Saturday was huge. The confidence is through the roof in Nashville and the Commodores (2-0) have a two-game winning streak for the first time since 2008. New coach James Franklin injected some swagger into this Commodores team and it showed when Vandy was down 21-14 in the fourth and scored 10 unanswered points. This defense is flying around and has been much more aggressive under defensive coordinator Bob Shoop.

11. Ole Miss: The Rebels (1-1) got into the win column over the weekend, but the offense still has a ton of question marks around it. Jeff Scott showed that he is a solid option at running back with Brandon Bolden and Enrique Davis out with injuries, but he looked like the only consistent weapon Ole Miss has on offense. The defense, which played very well against BYU in the first week, made things interesting against Southern Illinois by giving up 21 points in the second half.

12. Kentucky: The Wildcats (2-0) might be undefeated, but the offense is still struggling, especially in the passing game. Morgan Newton has been a starter before, but he hasn't looked very comfortable out there on the field yet. He has just 211 yards passing, two touchdowns and four interceptions in two games this year. Someone needs to step up alongside La'Rod King in the receiving game to give Newton some help. Two bright spots have been a faster, more effective defense and the play of freshman running back Josh Clemons, who has 165 rushing yards and two scores this year.

Big East power rankings: Week 3

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
10:57
PM ET
» Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC


After an 8-0 start to the season, the Big East came right back down with a 4-4 week. How will that impact the power rankings?

1. West Virginia (2-0). The Mountaineers were on upset alert at halftime against Norfolk State, but quickly blitzed to 45 unanswered points in the second half and a 55-12 win. Sure, the first half was ugly, but the second half was not -- and they remain the highest ranked team in the Big East.

2. USF (2-0).The Bulls are creeping ever closer to the Mountaineers. They had the best performance in Week 2 and have climbed up to No. 20 in the AP poll with an opportunistic defense and steady B.J. Daniels. With home games against Florida A&M and UTEP, they should be 4-0 headed into their league opener at Pitt on Sept. 29.

3. Pitt (2-0). The Panthers have not looked great to start the season, but very few Big East teams can say they have looked stellar. Both offense and defense are clearly having troubles adjusting to new schemes. They have a gigantic test at Iowa on Saturday.

4. Syracuse (2-0).Neither of their wins have been pretty. Syracuse should not have followed up an overtime squeaker over Wake with a home struggle against Rhode Island. But the Orange are one of four teams still undefeated in the Big East. That could change after Saturday and a trip to USC.

5. UConn (1-1).The Huskies have no offense to speak of, but their defense can be dominating and that is why they are here. Of the four teams that lost, they came the closest to winning. They probably should have beaten Vanderbilt, even without an offensive touchdown. UConn really needs to figure out what to do at quarterback.

6. Rutgers (1-1).Yes, UConn came closer than Rutgers to winning. UConn actually had a late lead in that game. Rutgers got five turnovers from North Carolina and still lost. There were two big factors in the game -- Rutgers did not do enough with those turnovers, scoring 12 total points. The defense had a hard time containing the big play.

7. Cincinnati (1-1). Any time you give up over 400 passing yards in a loss, you should be near the bottom of the power rankings.

8. Louisville (1-1).The Cardinals lost to FIU on Friday night, their first loss to a Sun Belt opponent since 1981. To make matters worse, Louisville will forever be the answer to the trivia question: Name the first AQ school FIU ever defeated.

ACC power rankings: Week 3

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
8:23
PM ET
Last week was a little bit more revealing about which direction each team is headed this season, but there are still far more questions than there are answers about who is really good in this league. So far, Florida State looks like the most complete team in the ACC, but the Noles have yet to face a high-caliber opponent. That will change this weekend when FSU hosts Oklahoma. Georgia Tech also looked impressive in its win at Middle Tennessee State, and the Hokies’ defense came through at East Carolina. Here’s a look at the latest power ranking for the ACC:

1. Florida State (2-0): The Seminoles cruised to a 62-10 win over Charleston Southern and dominated the game on both sides of the ball. There were some mistakes, though, that just won’t fly this weekend against the Sooners. Still, FSU is right where it is supposed to be heading into the signature game of the season – 2-0.

2. Virginia Tech (2-0): Coach Frank Beamer earned his 200th win as the Hokies snuck by East Carolina 17-10, avoiding a scare from the Pirates. The defense was the highlight, as quarterback Logan Thomas struggled in his second career start. There is still time to get the kinks out, starting this weekend against Arkansas State.

3. Georgia Tech (2-0): The Yellow Jackets showed no sign of a letdown and dominated Middle Tennessee from start to finish in a 49-21 win. The passing game was once again a factor, and quarterback Tevin Washington showed control of the offense. The Jackets host Kansas, which is also 2-0.

4. Maryland (1-0): The Terps had a bye week, and remain in their previous spot. They’ll get a bigger challenge this weekend against No. 18 West Virginia. Maryland is off to a good start under first-year coach Randy Edsall after its win against Miami, but the Terps will have to do better in the red zone against the Mountaineers.

5. North Carolina (2-0): The Tar Heels started out strong in their win over Rutgers, but five turnovers raised questions about this team. One week after a nearly flawless debut, quarterback Bryn Renner struggled. The Tar Heels host Virginia in the first Coastal Division matchup of the season.

6. Clemson (2-0): The Tigers have struggled on both sides of the ball against both Wofford and Troy, leaving some to wonder if they’re really ready for a grueling three-game stretch that begins this weekend against defending national champion Auburn. Coach Dabo Swinney has said repeatedly that his team is a “work in progress.”

7. Miami (0-1, 0-1 ACC): The Hurricanes struggled through the Maryland game without eight suspended players and have switched to quarterback Jacory Harris for the Ohio State game. Turnovers continued to be a problem for the Canes, but they had a bye week to regroup.

8. Wake Forest (1-1, 1-0 ACC): The Deacs rebounded quickly from their season-opening overtime loss to Syracuse with a 34-27 win over Atlantic Division opponent NC State. It was an important win for Wake’s hopes of bowl eligibility and the first move in the conference standings. The Deacs reaped the rewards of playing all four quarters.

9. NC State (1-1, 0-1 ACC): The Wolfpack’s suspect performance against Liberty wasn’t a fluke. This team really does have some questions. Quarterback Mike Glennon revived the offense in the second half, but it was too little, too late against the Deacs. They get what should be a breather this weekend against South Alabama.

10. Virginia (2-0): In a bizarre game that went down to the wire, kicker Robert Randolph delivered the game-winning field goal for a 34-31 road win over Indiana. Another road test awaits, as the Hoos travel to Chapel Hill for their first Coastal Division game of the season.

11. Boston College (0-2): It’s been a disappointing start to the season for the Eagles and a disastrous one for their bowl hopes. The Eagles were outplayed in a 30-3 loss to Central Florida just one week after losing to Northwestern’s backup quarterback at home. BC was 1 of 12 on third downs, and quarterback Chase Rettig was sacked three times and picked off twice.

12. Duke (0-2): The Blue Devils made it interesting for a half against Stanford – were even in a position to be leading at the half – and then the Cardinal hit them with reality, and Andrew Luck. It wasn’t a surprising result, but Duke has a chance to bounce back this weekend against a downtrodden Boston College team.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Week 3

September, 11, 2011
9/11/11
6:18
PM ET
Time to sort out the Big 12 from top to bottom after two weeks of play.

1. Oklahoma (1-0, last week: 1): The Sooners had Saturday off after toasting Tulsa last week, but there will be plenty of talk about Oklahoma this week, when they travel to Tallahassee to face Florida State, with ESPN College GameDay in tow.

2. Oklahoma State (2-0, LW: 3): Oklahoma State hops over Texas A&M by way of a dominant Thursday night performance against a decent Arizona team. The offense is clicking, and the defense was strong for most of the night. The showdown on Sept. 24 between the Cowboys and Aggies is shaping up to be epic.

3. Texas A&M (1-0, LW: 2): The Aggies didn't punch their ticket to the SEC during the bye week as they would have liked, but get back to playing football next week with Idaho heading to College Station.

4. Baylor (1-0, LW: 5): Baylor got to bask in its win over TCU for an extra week and slide up in the polls, but the Bears get back to business this week. Stephen F. Austin is next on the schedule for Baylor, which looks headed to a 5-0 start before a trip to Kyle Field to face A&M on Oct. 15.

5. Texas (2-0, LW: 6): The Longhorns are not an excellent team. This is obvious. Last year, Texas was an OK team that thought it was still great. This year it's a pretty good team armed with the knowledge that it's not great. That could pay off with a couple extra wins that people don't expect. The defense is loaded, and if the offense becomes functional like it was in the second half, Texas could be sneakily dangerous.

6. Missouri (1-1, LW: 4): Let's be clear about what Missouri did on Friday night: The Tigers lost to a top 20 team in overtime on the road in one of the most hyped games in the Arizona State's history. It also did it with a quarterback making his first start on the road. All things considered, not a bad loss for Mizzou and no reason for a big fall in the power rankings.

7. Iowa State (2-0, LW: 10): Iowa State hops over Texas Tech with a huge win over rival Iowa. How good is Iowa? We'll see, but Iowa State is showing some promise and may have joined the second tier of Big 12 teams from 4-8 that could be interchangeable from week to week.

8. Texas Tech (1-0, LW: 7): No offense here, Red Raiders. When your only outing is a game against an FCS team, and you trailed at the half, I'm going to give Iowa State more credit for its nonconference schedule while the Red Raiders rack up wins against cupcakes. Show me something. Or beat Iowa State.

9. Kansas (2-0, LW: 8): I'll be clear here: Kansas didn't fall, it was leapfrogged by Iowa State. Kansas proved itself a bit with a win over Northern Illinois, but the gap between these two teams was enormous entering last week.

10. Kansas State (1-0, LW: 9): Kansas State didn't benefit with a poorly timed off week. The Wildcats may be better than this, but for now, they're a team whose only bullet point on its résumé is a 10-7 win over FCS Eastern Kentucky in which a touchdown in the final minutes rescued what would have been an embarrassing loss. The defense has more speed this year, but the offense has to be better.
» Power Rankings: ACC | Big 12 | Big East | Big Ten | Pac-12 | SEC

It was a wild and mostly bad week in the Big Ten, and that means some shuffling in the power rankings. Of the four Big Ten teams in the preseason polls, only Wisconsin has looked polished both weeks, although Michigan State regained its swagger against Florida Atlantic. The top two are clear, but there’s no longer huge separation between the top four and the next five, where we continue to expect shuffling.

The bottom three teams -- Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota -- have separated themselves for the wrong reasons.

Let’s get to it.

1. Wisconsin (2-0): Quarterback Russell Wilson has been brilliant in his first two games as a Badger, completing 27 of 34 passes for 444 yards and five touchdowns (passer rating of 237.6). Wilson’s pocket presence showed against Oregon State, but the more important strides came from Wisconsin’s defense, which rebounded from a sloppy performance in the opener to blank the Beavers.

2. Michigan State (2-0): Speaking of defense, no Big Ten team put on a more dominant defensive display than Michigan State. A unit that lost two multiyear starters at linebacker held Florida Atlantic to one first down -- the stingiest Spartans effort since 1944 -- and just 48 total yards. Quarterback Kirk Cousins has been very solid so far. Michigan State begins its rough road stretch this week against a desperate Notre Dame team.

3. Nebraska (2-0): We're keeping the Huskers here for now, but the Big Ten’s newest member was thoroughly unimpressive against Fresno State. Coach Bo Pelini is right and some games turn into real grinds, but Nebraska should expect much more from its defense going forward. The offense will have its ups and downs, but the Blackshirts won’t beat the Big Ten's better teams with performances like Saturday's.

4. Ohio State (2-0): After a no-frills opener, Ohio State had hiccups in all three phases against Toledo and nearly paid the price. Toledo looks like a solid team and coach Tim Beckman had an excellent plan against his former team, but Ohio State must start executing better on offense. The secondary also could be a trouble spot. Ohio State made enough plays to win, but it will take a better performance to beat Miami on the road.

5. Michigan (2-0): The Wolverines once again are the Big Ten's most exciting team, but are they one of the league's best? We'll find out in October. Notre Dame has outplayed Michigan for parts of the teams' past three games, particularly Saturday night’s clash at the Big House, but Michigan has won all three contests behind mind-boggling quarterback play. Greg Mattison's defense continues to make plays despite suffering some breakdowns that could prove costly down the road.

6. Illinois (2-0): We'll get a very good gauge on the Illini this week against Vontaze Burfict and Arizona State, but Ron Zook's squad has impressed so far. A multi-pronged rushing attack once again should be among the Big Ten’s best, and the Illini defense made several big plays against South Dakota State. A victory against Arizona State would validate Illinois as a team to watch in the Big Ten.

7. Northwestern (2-0): Life without Dan Persa has gone surprisingly well for the Wildcats, thanks to the terrific play of backup quarterback Kain Colter. Although Northwestern likely needs Persa back for the Big Ten season, Colter gives the offense a different element with his athleticism. The defense is still prone to too many breakdowns, and the front seven needs a disciplined performance this week at Army.

8. Penn State (1-1): The Nittany Lions' defense will keep them in a lot of games this season and potentially make them a factor in the Leaders division. But without a starting quarterback or an offensive identity, Penn State has limited potential. Alabama will make a lot of offenses look bad, but Penn State needs to settle on a starter and start building around him.

9. Iowa (1-1): The Hawkeyes take the biggest tumble in the power rankings after a poor performance in Ames. A team that struggled to finish games in 2010 couldn’t hold leads both late in regulation and in overtime, as Iowa State's Steele Jantz picked apart a defense that lost four players to the NFL draft. Iowa's defense needs to rebound this week against a Pitt team that runs a high-tempo spread offense.

10. Purdue (1-1): We wanted to drop the Boilers after their loss to Rice but Indiana and Minnesota made that impossible. Carson Wiggs nearly helped Purdue to another dramatic win but his 31-yard field-goal attempt was blocked as time expired as Rice prevailed 24-22. Purdue needs more from its defense and has to avoid the breakdowns that have surfaced too often during coach Danny Hope’s tenure.

11. Indiana (0-2): Opportunistic defense nearly lifted Indiana to a huge win against Virginia, but the Hoosiers still haven't learned how to win games. They squandered a late lead and committed an inexcusable turnover in the final two minutes to hand Virginia a 34-31 win. There are some positives to take away from the second-half comeback, but Indiana still makes too many mistakes to get over the hump.

12. Minnesota (0-2): If Minnesota had one of the nation's more encouraging losses in Week 1, it had one of the more demoralizing defeats in Week 2. A heavy favorite against New Mexico State, the Gophers were thoroughly outplayed on their home field. Minnesota must not only respond from the loss but handle the potential absence of coach Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure on the sideline late in the game. We hope to see coach Kill back on the field as soon as possible.

It was a wild and mostly bad week in the Big Ten, and that means some shuffling in the power rankings. Of the four Big Ten teams in the preseason polls, only Wisconsin has looked polished both weeks, although Michigan State regained its swagger against Florida Atlantic. The top two are clear, but there’s no longer huge separation between the top four and the next five, where we continue to expect shuffling.

The bottom three teams -- Indiana, Purdue and Minnesota -- have separated themselves for the wrong reasons.

Let’s get to it.

1. Wisconsin (2-0): Quarterback Russell Wilson has been brilliant in his first two games as a Badger, completing 27 of 44 passes for 444 yards and five touchdowns (passer rating of 237.6). Wilson’s pocket presence showed against Oregon State, but the more important strides came from Wisconsin’s defense, which rebounded from a sloppy performance in the opener to blank the Beavers.

2. Michigan State (2-0): Speaking of defense, no Big Ten team put on a more dominant display than Michigan State. A unit that lost two multiyear starters at linebacker held Florida Atlantic to one first down -- the stingiest Spartans effort since 1944 -- and just 48 total yards. QB Kirk Cousins has been very solid so far. Michigan State begins its rough road stretch this week against a desperate Notre Dame team.

3. Nebraska (2-0): We’re keeping the Huskers here for now, but the Big Ten’s newest member was thoroughly unimpressive against Fresno State. Coach Bo Pelini is right and some games turn into real grinds, but Nebraska should expect much more from its defense going forward. The offense will have its ups and downs, but the Blackshirts won’t beat the Big Ten’s better teams with performances like Saturday’s.

4. Ohio State (2-0): After a no-frills opener, Ohio State had hiccups in all three phases against Toledo and nearly paid the price. Toledo looks like a solid team and coach Tim Beckman had an excellent plan against his former team, but Ohio State must start executing better on offense. The secondary also could be a trouble spot. Ohio State made enough plays to win, but it will take a better performance to beat Miami on the road.

5. Michigan (2-0): The Wolverines once again are the Big Ten’s most exciting team, but are they one of the league’s best? Notre Dame has outplayed Michigan for parts of the teams’ last three games, particularly Saturday night’s clash at the Big House, but Michigan has won all three contests behind mind-boggling quarterback play. Greg Mattison’s defense continues to make plays despite suffering some breakdowns that could prove costly down the road.

6. Illinois (2-0): We’ll get a very good gauge on the Illini this week against Vontaze Burfict and Arizona State, but Ron Zook’s squad has impressed so far. A multi-pronged rushing attack once again should be among the Big Ten’s best, and the Illini defense made several big plays against South Dakota State. A victory against Arizona State would validate Illinois as a team to watch in the Big Ten.

7. Northwestern (2-0): Life without Dan Persa has gone surprisingly well for the Wildcats, thanks to the terrific play of backup quarterback Kain Colter. Although Northwestern likely needs Persa back for the Big Ten season, Colter gives the offense a different element with his athleticism. The defense is still prone to too many breakdowns, and the front seven needs a disciplined performance this week at Army.

8. Penn State (1-1): The Nittany Lions’ defense will keep them in a lot of games this season and potentially make them a factor in the Leaders division. But without a starting quarterback or an offensive identity, Penn State’s ceiling is limited. Alabama will make a lot of offenses look bad, but Penn State needs to settle on a starter and start building around him.

9. Iowa (1-1): The Hawkeyes take the biggest tumble in the power rankings after a poor performance in Ames. A team that struggled to finish games in 2010 couldn’t hold leads both late in regulation and in overtime, as Iowa State’s Steele Jantz picked apart a defense that lost four players to the NFL draft. Iowa’s defense needs to rebound this week against a Pitt team that runs a high-tempo spread offense.

10. Purdue (1-1): We wanted to drop the Boilers after their loss to Rice but Indiana and Minnesota made that impossible. Carson Wiggs nearly helped Purdue to another dramatic win but his 31-yard field-goal attempt was blocked as time expired as Rice prevailed 24-22. Purdue needs more from its defense and has to avoid the breakdowns that have surfaced too often during coach Danny Hope’s tenure.

11. Indiana (0-2): Opportunistic defense nearly lifted Indiana to a huge win against Virginia, but the Hoosiers still haven’t learn how to win games. They squandered a late lead and committed an inexcusable turnover in the final two minutes to hand Virginia a 34-31 win. There are some positives to take away from the second-half comeback, but Indiana still makes too many mistakes to get over the hump.

12. Minnesota (0-2): If Minnesota had one of the nation’s more encouraging losses in Week 1, it had one of the more demoralizing defeats in Week 2. A heavy favorite against New Mexico State, the Gophers were thoroughly outplayed on their home field. Minnesota must not only respond from the loss but handle the potential absence of coach Jerry Kill, who suffered a seizure on the sideline late in the game. We hope to see coach Kill back on the field as soon as possible.

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