Big Ten Power Rankings Week 5


By Paul M. Banks

1. Ohio State (3-1, 1-0)

Buckeyes post back-to-back shutouts for first time since 1996, and are starting to look like the best team in the conference. Again. Eventually making this year…well, so FUN and EXCITING that I just had to get up and dance (see picture above)! Ok, seriously,  yet another OSU conference title would really suck for ratings; for everybody. Because it would be BORRRRRRRRRRING!  Where are the 2000 Purdue Boilermakers, 1995 Northwestern Wildcats, and 2001 Illini when you need them?

2. Iowa (4-0, 1-0)

Meet senior linebacker Pat Angerer, could there be a better name for a linebacker? Angerer racked up a game-high 14 tackles and two turnovers to help the Iowa defense limit Penn State to only 10 points. Angerer recorded his first interception of the season and rambled 38 yards to set up the Hawkeyes’ second touchdown of the quart. Later he forced a fumble that was recovered by the Hawkeyes at the 18-yard line.

So far, the eyes have it, as the Buckeyes and Hawkeyes look a cut or two above the rest of the Big Ten, but this next group of five teams could all go bowling this holiday season.

3. Penn State (3-1, 0-1)

PSU holds a 13-3 series advantage over the Illini, including a 6-3 edge in Champaign, so 4-1 looks likely. The Nittany Lions lead the Big Ten (sixth nationally) in allowing just 10.24 points per game. They got a big boost from the return of LB Navarro Bowman: In first full game back from injury, he recorded a career-best 13 tackles (five solo) with three TFLs (-7 yards) against Iowa

4. Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0)

QB Scott Tolzien set career highs with 19 completions, 31 attempts and four touchdown passes against Michigan State. He became the first Badgers’ signal caller to toss four TD passes in a game since ‘06.  Three of them went to Tight End Garrett Graham, the world’s least interesting interview subject.

5. Michigan (4-0, 1-0)

Yes they’re undefeated, after going just 3-9 last year. But their secondary and offensive line units are terrible. To quote TSB Michigan correspondent H. Jose Bosch

“We already knew how lame the secondary was. Boubacar Cissoko and JT Floyd were awful on the corners this week and that situation doesn’t look much better. As for the offensive line, the loss of David Molk hurt more than I thought it would. The slight rearranging to fill in for him affected the line enough to make Tate Forcier’s day a little more difficult.”

6. Minnesota (3-1, 1-0)

Did you know THEY have the 3rd most championships in Big Ten history. (Yes, Michigan and Ohio State are 1 and 2) Is it possible to develop a man-crush on a player whose team you hate? Because if anyone can inspire it- Eric Decker, the early favorite to win the Silver Football award. He could also end up fourth on the Big Ten’s all-time receiving and receiving yardage list at the end of 2009. The feat is more impressive when you consider how the top three WRs on both lists emerged from the statistically-inflated, pass-happy “Basketball on Grass” era at Purdue.

7. Indiana (3-1, 0-1)

Ok, so they’re much better than you or I (or anyone thought) And they deserved a power rankings jump based on Bill Lynch’s angst alone. Which was almost Mike Gundian. They also have Darius Willis going for them (152 yards on 16 carries, 9.5 avg. 2 TDs) His 85-yard score tied for the third longest in school history and the longest run against Michigan in over 20 years.

For these schools….basketball midnight madness is just a couple weeks away


8. Northwestern (2-2, 0-1)

Last year, the Wildcats set a school record for fewest rushing yards allowed per game. They returned 8/11 starters on defense this year, including everybody’s pre-season All-American Corey Wootton. Yet everyone’s running all over them these days. What gives? Start with Wootton- 0 tackles for loss, just 6 total stops through 4 games. Maybe he’s a real-life, high-brow version of Boobie Miles- never the same after knee injury and rehabilitation.

9. Purdue (1-3, 0-0) illinette3

Are they better than you think, or is Notre Dame worse? Well, 99 times out of 100, ND is much worse than their publicity suggests. Boilers sophomore running back Ralph Bolden, who leads the Big Ten in rushing with a per-game average of 122 yards, is seventh in the nation. But defenses are figuring him out, as he was held to a season-low 64 yards by Northern Illinois and 67 by ND.

10. Illinois (1-2, 0-1)

So where is the allegedly vaunted offense hiding? WR Arrelious Benn was a favorite in August to win the Biletnikoff award. He has a whopping 44 yards receiving on the season. Juice Williams was on every QB award watch list you can mention. Through three games, he has 0 TDs, 3 INTs and a passer rating that would make Rex Grossman vomit. With Penn State coming to town, this season could get ugly quickly, like Lou Tepper or Ron Turner era ugly.

11. Michigan State (1-3, 0-1)

Replacing a QB and tailback is tough, but at Ohio State, Penn State, and Michigan, they just re-load instead of rebuild.  They do have a bright spot in WR Keshawn Martin (and how could you not end up becoming a wideout with a name like Keshawn Martin?) At Wisconsin he had four catches, 139 yards and two TDs, including a 91-yard score, the second-longest pass play in MSU history.


With a Name like Pat Angerer, you must be a Linebacker


By Paul M. Banks

Urlacher. Butkus. Stonebreaker- all are fantastic names of star collegiate linebackers who are or have been regarded as legend…wait for it…dairy in the Midwest. The tradition continues in Iowa City with senior Pat Angerer, who was named to this year’s Butkus Award and Lott Trophy watch lists.

When asked about his name fitting his job: “I never really thought anything of it until I started playing at Iowa, and people started bringing it up. I don’t mind it. It’s alright,” Angerer replied at Big Ten Media Day. Angerer was named pre-season first team all-Big Ten by Phil Steele’s College Football and Lindy’s College Football, based on the big success he had as a junior last year.
“Last year I was competing with another guy and going through camp he was still ahead of me, but I knew that if I put my nose down and persevered, worked hard, I would experience success and that’s what happened and I’m thankful for it,” Angerer stated sounding a bit like Hulk Hogan.

Last year at this time, he found himself in a completely different football world, as issues and doubt had crept in. There were times in 2007 when Angerer couldn’t even stand to watch the game of football. So his journey to where he is today (very close to the summit and attracting attention of NFL scouts) is all the more special.  angerer

“I think it was the most satisfying,” Pat said when I asked him if last year was the most enjoyable football season of his life. All the stats and facts bear this out. Angerer was Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week vs. Wisconsin, and perhaps the team’s most valuable defensive player in their Outback Bowl win over South Carolina, the only postseason victory for a Big Ten team. Last year, he ranked second in the Big Ten and tied for 28th nationally in interceptions at .38 per game.

He also ranked sixth in the Big Ten with 8.2 tackles per game, and led the Hawkeyes in tackles with 107. All this earned him a second team all-Big Ten honor from the league coaches. Pat defines his best asset as such “my athleticism gets me out of trouble a lot of times, sometimes I might take that wrong read step, or get in bad position and my athleticism helps me get out of it.”

Angerer should also get another boost from having especially grueling practices this year, as everyday he scrimmages agasint one of the best position groups in the NCAA: the Iowa Offensive line. “We know going into practice that we’re going to have to bring it, otherwise they’re going to kick our butt, but we know all their checks at the line of scrimmage, so we kind of cheat in that way. We kind of know what they’re going to do,” he said. So as his practice prep makes him an even more special player come gameday this fall, what kind of heights could he reach?
“I looked up to Chad Greenway a lot. I’m not half the player he is, but I hope to eventually be there someday.”