Big Ten Football 2011 Power Rankings: Preconference Edition


One of the main storylines in the Big Ten entering this college football season was all the dual threat quarterbacks. Well so far, I’d say it’s really only Wisconsin’s Russell Wilson and Nathan Scheelhaase who fit that bill.

Michigan’s Denard Robinson did throw for over 330 yards and 4 TDs, but he is an average thrower at best. He made some really poor throws in that Notre Dame game, finished under 50% passing and many of his big plays came at the expense of ND defensive back Gary Gray, who was either a.) severely hurt Saturday night or b.) now regressed into one of the worst DBs in the FBS, because he was the opponent being victimized in most of UM’s big pass plays.

Denard is the best runner in the conference though.

Northwestern’s Dan Persa is hurt, and Nebraska’s Taylor Martinez has looked rather suspect throwing the ball so far, with that UGLY form.


1.) Wisconsin Badgers (2-0)

Have put in the most impressive offensive performance so far from the conference, and then followed that up with the most impressive defensive performance, against a rather decent Oregon State team

2.) Michigan State Spartans (2-0)

First half of first game was shaky, but everyone else has looked shakier. Congrats B.J. Cunningham, being the #1 receiver in MSU history is really quite an accomplishment. Look at who’s gone through there: Andre Rison, Plaxico Burress, Charles Rogers, Courtney Hawkins, Derrick Mason, Muhsin Muhammad, Gari Scott

3.) Nebraska Cornhuskers (2-0)

Fresno State is nothing special, so to struggle like that at home versus the Bulldogs…they need to get more non-Martinez rushing going.

4.) Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

Toldeo is the best of the MAC, far and away, but still. That performance makes OSU look like they’ll be a 8-4 squad this year

5.) Illinois Fighting Illini (2-0)

Yes, they played a FCS opponent last week, but they showed you thus far that they can beat you with both the pass and the run. Meaning they’ve taken a step forward…possibly. They welcome Dennis Erickson and the upstart nationally ranked Arizona State Sun Devils Sat night. Now we’ll learn something.

6.) Northwestern Wildcats (2-0)

I want to rank them lower because they don’t have Dan Persa, who was their backbone last season. But then again, they’re winning and looking good without him, so maybe I should rank them higher?

7.) Michigan Wolverines (2-0)

That was one for the ages. And the Big House is as big time as it gets for CFB venues, but this team still isn’t good. For three quarters, the defense made me believe Greg Robinson was still coordinating their effort.

8.) Iowa Hawkeyes (1-1)

That loss was troubling because 1.) Iowa State really isn’t good at football 2.) it exposed some issues in the defensive front seven that could be problems all season long.

9.) Penn State Nittany Lions (1-1)

They have two quarterbacks because they really have zero. The offense could implode any week now. Maybe JoePa will finally want to retire

Look out below, these three are all equally bad, but I’ll rank them anyway

10) Purdue Boilermakers (1-1)

You guys seriously thought you were going to a bowl game in the preseason? Seriously? You’ve embraced reality now right?

11.) Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-2)

Health is more important than football. So we wish Jerry well

12.) Indiana Hoosiers (0-2)

Now I know what Kevin Wilson meant when he said, “we’re ready to take this ship and get this thing exploded.”

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

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