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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 1

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Football is back

BattleFrog Fiesta Bowl - Ohio State v Notre Dame Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Big Ten football returns tonight (yes, tonight!) with both Indiana and Minnesota in action two days ahead of the first full college football Saturday. We’ve spent the whole offseason speculating and making predictions as we waited for this weekend. Pretty much every team in the conference faces big questions. Several very good starting quarterbacks from last year are gone. There are new coaches and new talent all around the conference. Here’s how we rank the teams as we finally get back to football.

1

Ohio State Buckeyes

2015 RECORD: 12-1 (7-1) || WEEK 1: vs. Bowling Green
AVERAGE RANK: 1.3

The Buckeyes have only six returning starters, but replace the losses with lots of blue-chip talent.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
1 2 1 1 2 1 1 1 2 1

2

Michigan Wolverines

2015 RECORD: 10-3 (6-2) || WEEK 1: vs. Hawaii Green
AVERAGE RANK: 1.8

No starting quarterback his been announced yet, but HARBAUGH, Year II.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
2 1 2 2 1 3 2 2 1 2

3

Michigan State Spartans

2015 RECORD: 12-2 (7-1) || WEEK 1: vs. Furman
AVERAGE RANK: 3.2

Consistent excellence: since 2010, Mark Dantonio has failed to win 11 games just once.

Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
3 3 4 3 3 2 3 3 4 4

4

Iowa Hawkeyes

2015 RECORD: 12-2 (8-0) || WEEK 1: vs. Miami (Ohio)
AVERAGE RANK: 3.7

It would be a major shock if the Hawkeyes aren’t 4-0 when they meet Northwestern to open October.

Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
4 4 3 4 4 4 4 4 3 3

5

Wisconsin Badgers

2015 RECORD: 10-3 (6-2) || WEEK 1: vs. No. 5 LSU
AVERAGE RANK: 5.8

We’ll learn a lot in Week 1: Can the Badgers come close to sticking with title contender LSU in Green Bay?
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
7 5 5 5 6 6 6 5 7 6

6

Northwestern Wildcats

2015 RECORD: 10-3 (6-2) || WEEK 1: vs. Western Michigan
AVERAGE RANK: 6.1

The Wildcats are the only Power 5 team that won at least 10 games last year and isn’t in the Top 25 nationally.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
6 8 6 6 5 5 7 6 5 7

7

Nebraska Cornhuskers

2015 RECORD: 6-7 (3-5) || WEEK 1: vs. Fresno State
AVERAGE RANK: 6.3

Will Tommy Armstrong Jr. finally figure out how to capitalize on his immense talent? The media loves the Cornhuskers.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
5 6 8 7 7 7 5 7 6 5

8

Penn State Nittany Lions

2015 RECORD: 7-6 (4-4) || WEEK 1: vs. Kent State
AVERAGE RANK: 8.3

The Nittany Lions are finally back to 85 scholarship players, but they’re replacing Christian Hackenberg.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
9 7 7 8 9 9 9 9 8 8

9

Minnesota Golden Gophers

2015 RECORD: 6-7 (2-6) || WEEK 1: vs. Oregon State
AVERAGE RANK: 8.5

Minnesota is in Tracy Claeys' second year, and the Gophers showed signs of life after a beatdown in Evanston last year.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
8 9 9 9 8 8 8 8 9 9

10

Indiana Hoosiers

2015 RECORD: 6-7 (2-6) || WEEK 1: @ Florida International
AVERAGE RANK: 10.1

Headed by former NU assistant Kevin Johns, the Hoosier offense can give anyone a scare, but it must replace QB Nate Sudfeld.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
10 10 10 10 10 11 10 10 10 10

11

Illinois Fighting Illini

2015 RECORD: 5-7 (2-6) || WEEK 1: vs. Murray State
AVERAGE RANK: 11.5

Can Lovie Smith resurrect the Illini in Year 1? Or will he be the next Champaign coaching carousel casualty?
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
12 12 11 11 13 12 11 11 11 11

12

Rutgers Scarlet Knights

2015 RECORD: 4-8 (1-7) || WEEK 1: @ No. 14 Washington
AVERAGE RANK: 12

Rutgers hopes it can rise from the (Chris) Ash(es) with the former Ohio State defensive coordinator at the helm.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
11 13 13 12 11 10 12 12 13 13

13

Maryland Terrapins

2015 RECORD: 3-9 (1-7) || WEEK 1: vs. Howard
AVERAGE RANK: 12.4

The Terrapins draw lowly Howard in Week 1. D.J. Durkin is in for a long first season, but he should start with a win.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
13 11 12 13 12 13 13 13 12 12

14

Purdue Boilermakers

2015 RECORD: 2-10 (1-7) || WEEK 1: vs. Eastern Kentucky
AVERAGE RANK: 14

Unfortunately for all Purdue fans, the University does indeed have a football program.
Zach Pereles Henry Bushnell Josh Rosenblat Sam Brief Ian McCafferty Martin Oppegaard Tristan Jung Zach Wingrove Will Ragatz Caleb Friedman
14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14 14