Welcome to my Big Ten Power Rankings and College Football Playoff Projections. The key word in that first sentence is “my.” This is how I see the lay of the land in the B1G and CFP. I am sure that more astute and discerning college football watchers might have different opinions, so feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.
My Current Big Ten Power Rankings
1.) Iowa (2-0) | 27-17 Win Over Iowa State | Previously No. 2
Kirk Ferentz and company took care of business to retain the Cy-Hawk Trophy, and beat a top-10 opponent in the process. The Hawks look like the real deal and the team to beat in the B1G.
2.) Penn State (2-0) | 44-13 Win Over Ball State | Previously No. 3
The Nits took care of business against the Fighting David Lettermans, but they benefit from the Buckeyes’ loss and move up a spot as well.
3.) Michigan (2-0) | 31-10 Win Over Washington | Previously No. 5
You know this one hurts me, but the Weasels are undefeated. Now, the Huskies appear to be a really bad football team, so they don’t get a ton of credit for beating a Power 5 opponent, but the Mitten Men have looked fairly good in just doing what has been expected of them.
4.) Ohio State (1-1) | 35-28 Loss to Oregon | Previously No. 1
I will have more to say about this game later this week, I’m sure. But for now, everything I have to say can be found in my post-game column.
5.) Maryland (2-0) | 62-0 Win Over Howard | Previously No. 4
Coming off of their Week 1 win over WVU and their shellacking of Howard on Saturday, I was tempted to put the Terps ahead of OSU, but the Buckeyes remain the most talented team in the Big Ten, and I have to imagine that the coaches will get something figured out eventually. But if Maryland handles Illinois and Ohio State has any issues with Tulsa, we could see Maryland moving on up.
6.) Wisconsin (1-1) | 34-7 Win Over Eastern Michigan | Previously No. 6
7.) Michigan State (2-0) | 42-14 Win Over Youngstown State | Previously No. 8
Is Sparty... good? We could learn a little more when they take on Miami (FL) next weekend.
8.) Rutgers (2-0) | 17-7 Win Over Syracuse | Previously No. 10
Meh. A 17-7 win over the ‘Cuse isn’t super impressive, but you probably need to start talking to your children about 3-0 Rutgers taking on 3-0 Michigan on Sept. 25.
9.) Purdue (2-0) | 49-0 Win Over UConn | Previously No. 9
UConn is a program in disarray, so Purdue shutting them out in impressive fashion is what they needed to do.
10.) Indiana (1-1) | 56-14 Win Over Idaho | Previously No. 11
This was a much needed bounce-back win for the Hoosiers. Don’t think that it means a whole lot, but after getting crushed by Iowa a week ago, this is a good W.
11.) Nebraska (2-1) | 28-3 Win Over Buffalo | Previously No. 14
Second straight rebound win after the Huskers’ embarrassing loss to Illinois to open the season. Those two teams are currently moving in opposite directions.
12.) Minnesota (1-1) | 31-26 Win Over Miami (OH) | Previously No. 7
This win actually makes both Minnesota and Ohio State look even worse than their Week 1 game did.
13.) Northwestern (1-1) | 24-6 Win Over Indiana State | Previously No. 12
I always want Pat Fitzgerald coached teams to be good. After Week 1 they didn’t look like they were, and I don’t think the 18-0 win over the Sycamores is enough to convince me otherwise.
14.) Illinois (1-2) | 42-14 Loss to Virginia | Previously No. 13
My Current College Football Playoff Projections
1) Alabama (2-0) | 48-14 Win Over Mercer | Previously No. 1
The Tide are clearly the best team in the country, but we didn’t learn anything new from SEC Cupcake Week No. 1.
2) Georgia (2-0) | 56-7 Win Over UAB | Previously No. 2
See above about SEC scheduling.
3) Iowa (2-0) | 27-17 Win Over Iowa State | Previously NR
I think it’s gong to take me a while to get completely behind a Ferentz-coached team on the national level, but in a three-week span in October, the Hawkeyes play both Penn State and Wisconsin. If they make it through those games, there will be no doubt that they are legit.
4) Cincinnati (2-0) | 42-7 Win Over Murray State | Previously No. 4
I like the idea of in this fourth spot, not only focusing on why the team deserves to be there, but why the other contenders don’t. So, again, Cincinnati deserved a playoff berth last year, and if they go undefeated again in 2021 and don’t make it, I will boycott the CFP (I absolutely won’t do that, but I will want to).
What about the other potential No. 4 teams? The AP Poll’s No. 4 squad, Oklahoma, might have beaten the shit out of Western Carolina on Saturday, but they should have lost to Tulsa last weekend, so they still aren’t getting in. No. 5 Texas A&M got very fortunate against Colorado on Saturday, and the No. 6 team in the poll is Clemson, so... no.