Big Ten football power rankings: Week 2

Michigan cruises past UCF, 51-14

After looking like the best conference in college football last week, Week 2 was a tough reality check for the Big Ten.

The conference went 9-4, but lacked a meaningful win and watched three teams put up disastrous performances at home. Here's a look at the latest Big Ten power rankings:

1. Wisconsin

Last week: 1
Week 2 result: Wisconsin 54, Akron 10

It felt like Week 2 could be a letdown for Wisconsin after a huge win over No. 5 LSU at Lambeau Field. But the Badgers ambushed the visiting Akron Zips, scoring 30 points in the first half and running away with a 44-point win. Bart Houston led Wisconsin with 231 passing yards and two touchdowns on 15-of-22 passing, hitting Jazz Peavy seven times for 100 yards and two scores. Wisconsin still has the league's best win and showed promise on offense after an ugly showing in the opener. The Badgers gained 586 yards and picked up an eye-popping 32 first downs in the blowout. The previously unranked Badgers rocketed to No. 9 in the AP poll.

2. Ohio State

Last week: 2
Week 2 result: Ohio State 48, Tulsa 3

The final score doesn't really indicate how close Tulsa was to making the game interesting in the first half. The Golden Hurricane failed to score from its own 1-yard line and threw back-to-back pick-sixes in the final three minutes of the first half. Instead of a one-possession game at the half, Tulsa trailed by 17. Mix in an hourlong rain delay at halftime and Ohio State came out a completely different team, dominating Tulsa with a 28-0 second half. We'll find out if the Buckeyes are for real this weekend, when they travel to Oklahoma to take on an already desperate Sooners team.

3. Michigan

Last week: 3
Week 2 result: Michigan 51, UCF 14

Michigan blew out another weak non-conference opponent, but this game wasn't as impressive as the complete dismantling of Hawaii in Week 1. Michigan struggled to run the ball against UCF, averaging just 2.9 yards per carry on 41 attempts. The defense allowed 331 yards to the FBS's worst offense from a year ago, including 275 yards on the ground. Wilton Speight was the brightest takeaway for Michigan, throwing for 312 yards and four touchdowns to earn Big Ten offensive player of the week honors. Jim Harbaugh put it best Monday, when he said it's nice for a team to have so much room for improvement, even after a blowout win. Michigan will face a steeper test this weekend when Colorado comes to Ann Arbor.

4. Iowa

Last week: 5 (up 1)
Week 2 result: Iowa 42, Iowa State 3

Iowa was heavily favored in this rivalry matchup, and the Hawkeyes took care of business to take control of their home state for another year. Iowa steamrolled Iowa State behind 235 passing yards and four total touchdowns from C.J. Beathard. With five games that should be comfortable wins coming up, Iowa has a chance to keep building momentum leading up to a potential division-deciding matchup with Wisconsin on Oct. 22.

5. Michigan State

Last week: 4 (down 1)
Week 2 result: BYE

The Spartans took a week off to prepare for a big game in South Bend this weekend. Notre Dame crushed Nevada and Michigan State was watching and preparing after showing virtually nothing in an ugly Week 1 win over Furman. As they enter a brutal stretch in their schedule, the Spartans will look to hit the ground running against the Irish.

6. Nebraska

Last week: 7 (up 1)
Week 2 result: Nebraska 52, Wyoming 17

Tommy Armstrong Jr. exploded in the passing game Saturday, completing 20 of 34 passes for 377 yards and three touchdowns. Nebraska's running game was nonexistent against Wyoming, but the offense managed to gain 550 yards and 25 first downs. Alonzo Moore and Jordan Westerkamp were Armstrong's top targets, each gaining over 100 receiving yards and combining for three touchdowns.

7. Minnesota

Last week: 6 (down 1)
Week 2 result: Minnesota 58, Indiana State 28

Mitch Leidner gave Speight a run for his money in the offensive player of the week race, completing 20 of 30 passes for 295 yards and four touchdowns. But Leidner wasn't even the best player on his own offense Saturday, as running back Kobe McCrary gained 176 yards and two touchdowns on 17 carries. The Golden Gophers finished just short of 600 yards on offense and picked up 31 first downs. Minnesota did allow Indiana State to score 28 points on 356 yards, but most of those came in the second half after the outcome of the game was no longer in doubt.

8. Maryland

Last week: 12 (up 4)
Week 2 result: Maryland 41, Florida International 14

D.J. Durkin stayed undefeated as a head coach Friday when his Terrapins went down to Florida and knocked off FIU by 27 points. Perry Hills put in another solid performance, throwing for 210 yards and three touchdowns. If Hills can solidify a quarterback position that was beyond disastrous for Maryland last season, Maryland will be much improved. With games against UCF and Purdue coming up, the Terps have a legitimate chance to start the season 4-0.

9. Indiana

Last week: 8 (down 1)
Week 2 result: Indiana 30, Ball State 20

Indiana only beat Ball State by 10 points, but the game wasn't as close as the 30-20 finish. The Hoosiers scored 30 straight points to start the game and let the Cardinals crawl back into it with 17 points in the fourth quarter. Indiana still has a high-powered offense with quarterback Richard Lagow at the helm and Devine Redding in the backfield.

10. Penn State

Last week: 10
Week 2 result: Penn State 39, Pittsburgh 42

James Franklin's team took its first loss of the season Saturday thanks to a slow start against Pittsburgh. Penn State trailed 28-7 less than 20 minutes into the game and couldn't quite crawl all the way back. Pittsburgh is a good team, so this isn't a bad loss for Penn State, but the Nittany Lions haven't really won a big game since upsetting No. 15 Wisconsin in 2013, when Franklin was coaching at Vanderbilt. If he continues to put up mediocre seasons, Penn State's patience will run out.

11. Purdue

Last week: 13 (up 2)
Week 2 result: Purdue 20, Cincinnati 38

Purdue did absolutely nothing to earn an improvement in these rankings, so this rise is more about the rest of the league than it is about Purdue's performance. The Boilermakers weren't competitive at home against Cincinnati, going down 31-7 early in the fourth quarter and never really making things interesting. Purdue might be at the top of the Big Ten cellar, but its still in the cellar.

12. Rutgers

Last week: 14 (up 2)
Week 2 result: Rutgers 52, Howard 14

Rutgers was losing to an FCS team at home at the end of the first quarter, and found itself in a 14-14 tie at halftime. But the Scarlett Knights scored 38 unanswered points in the second half and picked up their first win.

13. Illinois

Last week: 9 (down 4)
Week 2 result: Illinois 23, North Carolina 48

Illinois did it again. After winning by 49 points in Week 1, Illinois played a respectable Power Five team in Week 2 and went down without a fight. North Carolina put up 462 yards on the Illinois defense and scored 48 points despite losing the time of possession battle by nine minutes. Illinois might have Lovie Smith at the helm, but the talent just isn't there.

14. Northwestern

Last week: 11 (down 3)
Week 2 result: Northwestern 7, Illinois State 9

What a disaster Northwestern has been this season. After fumbling away a win against Western Michigan in Week 1, the Wildcats scored just seven points (after being shut out for three quarters) against an FCS team and lost at home. For a team that won 10 games last season, Northwestern has been among the biggest disappointments in the country. The Wildcats have to capitalize on two night games at home to turn their season around.

About the Author:

Derick is the Lead Digital Editor for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.