Big 10 Football Power Rankings: Mediocrity, Parity, Blah Edition


There are only two times when doing a power rankings can be fun- way early in the season/preseason, or when everything is jumbled, disorganized chaos and blah. Doing a power rankings when the hierarchy is clear cut is a practice strictly for centrist, vanilla losers.

In the current Big Ten football world, mediocrity, blahness, national irrelevance, and parity reign. And remember that’s PARITY not PARODY! Weird Al Yankovic does not play tailback in college football.

I HATE when writers make that mistake worse than when announcers call coincidence “irony.” Some say the teams beat up on each other and hurt each other’s record. That’s a feeble excuse; because every team in this league is severely flawed in at least one major area. And in the interest of me being my ornery, cynical self, I’m going to highlight each team’s fatal flaw in my snippet.

Numerical rankings are from the latest BcS standings.

1.) #16 Penn State Nittany Lions (8-1, 5-0)

You know you have parity when my #1 beat my #12 by just 6.

Even though their offense is a joke, and their quarterback play a very sick joke, they are the league’s best team. They’ve won as ugly as possible on numerous occasions and we often become lesser people after watching many of their games. Still the only undefeated team in conference, and their only loss this season is to Alabama, who I believe is the true #1 team in the nation. So that counts for a lot.

 2.) #10 Nebraska Cornhuskers (7-1, 3-1)

Run defense is horrid. Still they really looked like the blackshirts they were hyped up to be on Saturday in shutting down Sparty.

3.) #15 Michigan Wolverines (7-1, 3-1)

They have a QB that can’t throw, and every big pass play they’ve had this season has been either a.) a lucky jump ball heave (then again, that’s all it takes to beat the Badger pass defense) or b.) versus Notre Dame CB Gary Gray which makes it even less credible than the other category.

4.) #20 Wisconsin Badgers (6-2, 2-2)

Can’t win on the road to save their BcS lives. Talk about a fall from grace: national title contenders to .500 in conference in just two weeks.

5.) #17 Michigan State Spartans (6-2, 3-1)

Can’t handle success. Same ‘ol Spartans. Meet the new boss, same as the old boss.

6.) Ohio State Buckeyes (5-3, 2-2)

Avert your eyes when they attempt a forward pass. Thankfully for all of us they don’t do it very often.

7.) Illinois Fighting Illini (6-3, 2-3)

Special teams was responsible for a 9 point swing on Saturday. In a 3 point loss, the math is obvious. The punting game has been atrocious at times, as has the kickoff coverage unit. The special teams have been well….”special.”

8.) Iowa Hawkeyes (5-3, 2-2)

The most balanced/unbalanced of all in their weaknesses. Special teams cost them the game Saturday; the defensive line was the cause versus Iowa State. You can find scapegoats all around.

9.) Purdue Boilermakers (4-4, 2-2)

Rather challenged on the defensive side of the ball.

10.) Northwestern Wildcats (3-5, 1-4)

You want to say the secondary is their biggest whole, but that’s only because the giant pass plays they allow are more etched in your memory than the consistent, but not quite as large chunks of rush yardage they surrender. I’d say stopping both the pass and the run are issues.

11.) Minnesota Golden Gophers (2-6, 1-3)

Have enough weaknesses in numerous positions to go around.

 12.) Indiana Hoosiers (1-8, 0-5)
Probably headed for a doughnut in conference play. Entire defense is a weakness. Especially putrid against the run, because they actually let Jacob Schmidt gain a 100 yards on 7+ yards a carry- that’s unheard of.

Paul M. Banks is CEO of The Sports, an official Google News site that generates millions of unique visitors. He’s also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, Walter, Yardbarker, and Fox Sports

A Fulbright scholar and MBA, Banks has appeared on live radio shows all across the world. The President of the United States follows him on Twitter (@Paul_M_BanksTSB) You should too.

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