Believe it or not, the college football season is a quarter over, and we are only a week away from the kick-off of Big Ten conference play! With only three games played this season, it may seem a bit soon to be handing out letter grades, but these first three weeks can be very telling as to what may be in store for the rest of the season.
Each team will receive a letter grade based on the level at which they have performed compared to what has been expected of them.
There are only three undefeated teams left in the Big Ten and these are the ones! Not much has been expected of Minnesota and for good reason, but regardless of the level of opponent, a 3-0 record is a great beginning to give the Gophers a steady base to work off of and confidence as the season evolves. Northwestern has had a good start against very respectable teams in Syracuse, Vanderbilt, and Boston College. They have shown that they can win the close ones and have proven that their opponents will not be able to overlook them! Ohio State is 3-0, as everybody expected they would be at this point in the year. They’re playing well and look as if they’ll continue on their road to success.
Michigan beat the teams they should have and lost to the team they should have. They would have received a higher grade if they could have kept their loss to Alabama closer. Last Saturday was tough for Michigan State in their loss to Notre Dame, especially at home. Like most, they have shown their strengths and weaknesses. They have been much better than not, but not good enough for an A. Purdue is looking strong. With just one heartbreaking loss to Notre Dame, they are right where they should be. Even in that loss, they looked like a solid football team. For Indiana, any winning record for is something to be proud of at this point in their program. They don’t look amazing, but they’re not awful, either. For the Hoosiers, that’s good enough for a B in my book.
I’ll give Penn State a bit of a pass considering what they have been though this offseason. After all, they are only one made field goal against Virginia away from being 2-1 instead of 1-2. But I don’t think their sluggish start surprised anybody. As for Nebraska, most people expected the Huskers to be undefeated at this point…and they should be. UCLA is better than expected, but if Nebraska had played even decently in Pasadena they would be 3-0. For that reason, they get a C. Illinois isn’t doing too badly. For the Illini, 2-1 is acceptable at this point, but getting killed by Arizona State 45-14 is unacceptable.
The only reason Iowa and Wisconsin don’t have failing grades right now is because they have winning records, but that’s it. For two teams that should easily be 3-0 right now, they have, by far, looked the worst! At least Iowa beat Northern Illinois and Northern Iowa by a total of 12 points, but Wisconsin has their wins against Northern Iowa and Utah State by only a total of 7!!! These are teams the Badgers should have routed by 28 points apiece! If both Iowa and Wisconsin don’t pick up their game by the time conference play hits, they will find themselves at the bottom of their division in a hurry!!!