Big Ten Power Rankings: Buckeyes take top spot in week two


September 8, 2012; Columbus, OH, USA; Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback Braxton Miller (5) throws a pass before the game against the UCF Knights at Ohio Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Greg Bartram-US PRESSWIRE

Saturday we saw a lot of surprises in the Big Ten, especially with No. 13 Wisconsin and No. 16 Nebraska getting upset on the road by a pair of low-caliber Pac-12 teams.

No one expected the Badgers to walk out of Corvallis empty handed, but somehow head coach Mike Riley and the unranked Oregon State Beavers were able to upset the Danny O’Brien led Badgers by a score of 10-7.

It wasn’t as ugly for the Cornhuskers because they faced an admirable (read: decent to average) foe in UCLA, a program on the rise after hiring ex-NFL head coach Jim L. Mora. Nebraska was upset 30-36 in Los Angeles, but the loss could be forgiven due to UCLA’s recent recruiting upswing and expected coaching prominence. In no way are either of these two B1G teams out of the hunt for a BCS bowl game and pollsters will remember that come the end of the season. It helps that both teams lost on the road, but it’ll be unlikely to see either of these two teams play in the national championship, at this point.

Let’s take a look at the Big Ten power rankings and see how week two actually shook out…

Spartan Avenue’s Week Two Big Ten Power Rankings:

  1. Ohio State Buckeyes
  2. Michigan State Spartans
  3. Wisconsin Badgers
  4. Nebraska Cornhuskers
  5. Michigan Wolverines
  6. Northwestern Wildcats
  7. Purdue Boilermakers
  8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
  9. Iowa Hawkeyes
  10. Penn State Nittany Lions
  11. Illinois Illini
  12. Indiana Hoosiers

A lot of readers may be shocked to see Ohio State ranked as the number one team in the B1G, but if you’ve had a chance to watch them play, they are the closest thing the conference has to a SEC team by far. Quarterback Braxton Miller is going to be special for the Buckeyes because of his arm strength and ability to speed through all levels of the defense into the end zone. How lucky is head coach Urban Meyer that Miller is only a sophomore? There is a lot of time for Meyer to turn this kid into his next Heisman quarterback.

The two biggest surprises this season have to be Northwestern and Minnesota. Both of the teams have gotten off to a very strong 2-0 start.

Sept 8, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA: Minnesota Gophers quarterback MarQueis Gray (5) runs with the ball for a first down in the second half against the New Hampshire Wildcats at TCF Bank Stadium. The Gophers won 44-7. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-US PRESSWIRE

The Wildcats have beat two admirable foes in Syracuse and the SEC’s own Vanderbilt, a Vandy team, we would like to add, that is on the rise under head coach James Franklin. Northwestern may need to be ranked higher because of how tough the team’s schedule has been thus far, but something tells us that Northwestern’s magic is going to wear off as soon as the ‘Cats gets into the middle of October. The team’s B1G schedule is somewhat rough.

Head coach Jerry Kill has really turned around the Golden Gophers in a short period of time. Although the team beat two lousy squads in UNLV and FCS-level New Hampshire, the team has shown much improvement from week one to week two. The Gophers are 29th in the nation in rushing thanks in part to MarQueis Gray, the team’s duel-threat quarterback who has put on a lot of muscle since last season. The Gophers should have a cakewalk next week playing against Western Michigan at home, but to add insult to the matter, Kill is a former coach from the Mid-American Conference, the conference that Western Michigan plays in, so Kill will have no problem preparing for this “new” non-conference opponent.

Big Brother, Michigan, looked much improved this week; however, it did not rely on the help of many offensive skill players. Denard Robinson nearly accounted for every single yard of offensive that the team gained. The Wolverines need to get the running backs involved and somehow figure out what the heck is wrong with wide receiver Roy Roundtree and why he has been a nonfactor dating back to last season.

Alas, it is time to explain why Michigan State is ranked second overall in SA’s power rankings. Well, frankly, we weren’t too impressed with the team’s beat down of Central Michigan Saturday. Andrew Maxwell made a couple of really nice throws, but he is still too inconsistent. That is expected for a player who has had barely any playing time the past couple of seasons, but the no-names at wide receiver are clearly hindering the team’s passing attack. Le’Veon Bell looked like a monster, again, after recording two rushing touchdowns. This should continue throughout the season. Overall, we need to see more from the Spartans before we anoint them the number one spot in the Big Ten—since Wisconsin and Nebraska both fell last weekend.