2010 Big Ten Power Rankings

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1. Ohio State– Yes, it’s kind of boring that the 5 time consecutive conference champion is the overwhelming favorite yet again. But this is not a boring team, they’re a legitimate national title contender. Half their secondary is nominated for the Thorpe Award (nation’s best DB), half their DL should be taken in the first couple rounds of the NFL Draft, They have the two best LBs in the Big Ten…well you get the idea. Because it’s the same story on the other side of the ball too. The Big Ten is once again there’s for the taking.

iowa hawkeye ladies

2. Iowa- They won’t sneak up on anyone this year, and the whole Gestalt of this time may even be better than last season when they were “Winning Khloe Kardashian Style” also known as “Winning Ugly.” Other than QB Ricky Stanzi, they have no household names, but you’ll get to know these names: Adrian Clayborn, Tyler Sash, Karl Klug. Especially that first one; I picked Clayborn as my conference Defensive player of the year

3. Michigan State- I have a feeling this team will resemble the 10-2 unit of 1999. Having the first 5 games at home, first seven within their own state, and the 8th at Northwestern where the crowd will be 40-60% green, will help; A LOT. But I know what you’re saying, “don’t they always start out 6-0 and finish 7-5?” Well, yeah pretty much. But this will be a different kind of 7-5. Actually, I think they’ll go 9-3. With only four road games, 10-2 is possible.

4. Wisconsin It’s America’s Dairyland, but it’s also the NFL’s AAA affiliate for offensive linemen. Once again, they’ll have the conference’s best beasts up front; and the best running back too in John Clay. But here’s something a little more unWisconsinesque: they’re also well stocked at receiver, and have a few great athletes (led by the outspoken Jay Valai) in the secondary too.

5. Penn State- Kevin Newsome, or whoever takes over at QB, is extremely lucky to have all that talent at RB and WR to work with. However, the defense will certainly take a step back this season.penn state cheerleaders

6. Northwestern- If they find a legit running game this season, they’ll win seven or eight games EASILY. Pat Fitzgerald will find some more no name receivers to take the place of the now graduated no name receiving corps. There are some questions in the secondary and defensive line however.

7. Purdue- All in all, the first season of Danny Hope went better than most anticipated. And a bowl berth this year isn’t out of the question. Especially with a QB Robert Marve, a transfer from the U. under center. But it won’t be “basketball on grass,” they’ll mix it up with multiple sets and formations.

8. Michigan- You see the iconic helmet (design taken from Princeton btw) and you think “hey this is Michigan.” Well, this is not your father’s Michigan, or even your older brother’s Michigan. Or even your creppy uncle’s Michigan. (Whatever his definition of that is) This year they lose their two best players from a defense that finished last in the league in ’09. They’ll score points, but maybe not enough to save Rich Rodriguez’s job, especially with possible NCAA sanctions on the way.

9. IllinoisRon Zook said yesterday that they are as talented, on paper as the 2007 Rose Bowl team. I’m sure I speak for anyone follow the conference when I say “yeah, here’s a guy with a stranglehold on reality.”

10. Indiana- They return all their receivers, and Darius Willis is a solid RB, but I can’t see them stopping anybody. And what was up with Coach Bill Lynch’s opening statement at Media Day? He just basically spent 15 minutes naming his entire starting lineup.

11. Minnesota- Yesterday, the talk of the Big Ten blogs was Coach Tijm Brewwster’s incoherent ramblings about everything other than his team at the BTMD dais. Here’s video of that train wreck. (Unless you happen to be Larry Fitzgerald, than maybe you like that he dedicated half his time at the podium to talking about you)

Loss of graduating seniors on defense will hurt even more than the loss of the greatest WR in school history, Eric Decker on offense.

Written by Paul M. Banks, President and CEO of The Sports Bank.net , a Midwest focused webzine. He is also a regular contributor to Chicago Now, the Chicago Tribune’s blog network, Walter Football.com, the Washington Times Communities, Yardbarker Network, and Fox Sports.com

You can follow him on Twitter @thesportsbank and @bigtenguru

Comments

  1. jmccormick says

    I may sound like a big homer, but I don’t see how you could rank Michigan State above Wisconsin, or even Penn State. I’d argue that the Badgers have the best overall offense in the Big Ten, but their defense will be the key depending on how their talented freshmen/sophomores from last year develop.

  2. Banks always underestimates Wisconsin… remember the initial Big Ten Hoops Rankings? ha

  3. paulmbanks says

    I ranked Tolzien #2 QB in the b10 yesterday. where’s the “you overrate” wisco comment on that.

    I’m not sold on Wisconsin’s front seven. and the other Paul is buying my Mich St, hype too

    on hoops I’m gonna go 1. MSU 2. Pur 3. osu 4. ILL 5. wis

  4. paulmbanks says

    Penn State’s OL is in flux again, and they lost a ton in the DL and LB. and they’re breaking in a new QB. 4th is plenty high

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