Big Ten football power rankings: Michigan stays on top, Ohio State tumbles
Buckeyes plummet after blowout loss at home to Oklahoma
After a terrific opening weekend for the Big Ten, week two brought the conference back down to earth.
Four Big Ten teams lost last weekend, including one at home to a MAC school and two by more than 14 points.
FLASHBACK: Week 1 Big Ten football power rankings
Here's how the power rankings shape up for week two:
1. Michigan Wolverines
Last week: 1
Result: Michigan 36, Cincinnati 14
It wasn't the most dominant effort, but Michigan took care of business in its home opener against five-touchdown underdog Cincinnati. On its own, that win wasn't very impressive, but coupled with the victory over Florida, Michigan's resume is strong enough for the top spot.
The defense was dominant again, holding Cincinnati to 14 points while scoring 14 of its own on a pair of pick-sixes.
Wilton Speight is the team's greatest concern, and he continued to struggle with accuracy and overthrowing his receivers. Speight improved throughout the season last year before his shoulder injury, but so far, he hasn't looked like a reliable leader for the young offense.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions
Last week: 4 (Up 2)
Result: Penn State 33, Pittsburgh 14
Penn State easily avenged its crippling loss from a year ago by jumping out to a 14-point lead and cruising past its in-state rival.
Trace McSorley threw for 164 yards, ran for 65 yards and had three passing touchdowns. His partner in crime Saquon Barkley rushed 14 times for 88 yards and caught four passes for 45 yards. He finished with two total touchdowns.
Pittsburgh needed overtime to survive Youngstown State, so this isn't an enormous victory, but Penn State's sheer dominance through two outings earned it the No. 2 spot.
3. Maryland Terrapins
Last week: 3
Result: Maryland 63, Towson 17
In the opener, Maryland dropped 51 points on Texas, but lost its starting quarterback for the season. In the sequel, Maryland returned home and unloaded on Towson, scoring 63 points behind 367 rushing yards and an efficient 13 of 16 showing from Kasim Hill.
Ty Johnson needed just five carries to gain 124 yards and score two touchdowns.
Maryland is one of the few Big Ten teams that has left the Midwest and picked up a road win against a Power Five team.
4. Iowa Hawkeyes
Last week: 5 (Up 1)
Result: Iowa 44, Iowa State 41 (OT)
No matter how good the teams are, the battle for the Cyhawk Trophy always seems to go down to the wire. This year's matchup went past the wire, as Iowa needed overtime to pick up a win in Ames.
Iowa is a program known for winning ugly. During its undefeated 2015 season, Iowa's biggest win was a 10-6 victory in Wisconsin.
Saturday's win was the exact opposite. Nathan Stanley threw the ball 41 times, completing 27 passes for 333 yards and five touchdowns. The Hawkeyes' rushing attack mustered just 4 yards per carry, but Stanley was good enough to avoid an upset and keep them undefeated.
5. Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week: 2 (Down 3)
Result: Oklahoma 31, Ohio State 16
No team in the country has given up as many passing yards as Ohio State, though few have faced passing attacks as formidable as the Sooners'. Baker Mayfield threw for 386 yards and three touchdowns against the Buckeyes, who had no answer in the second half.
Ohio State has only played one impressive quarter in two games this season: the fourth quarter against Indiana. The rest has been a struggle. Urban Meyer will certainly get this team turned around, but for now, between the struggling secondary and a nonexistent passing attack, he's got his work cut out for him.
6. Michigan State Spartans
Last week: 7 (Up 1)
Result: Michigan State 28, Western Michigan 14
Michigan State's tour of the MAC ended with an impressive win over a team that nearly upset Southern Cal in the opener.
The Spartans cruised to a 14-point win over Western Michigan, and the defense didn't allow a single point. Darius Phillips returned a kickoff and an interception for a pair of touchdowns, but the game was never in doubt.
Michigan State has a bye this weekend as it prepares for two more home games against Notre Dame and Iowa before the trip to Ann Arbor.
7. Wisconsin Badgers
Last week: 6 (Down 1)
Result: Wisconsin 31, Florida Atlantic 14
Wisconsin knocked off another weak opponent Saturday, outlasting Florida Atlantic for a 31-14 victory.
It was the second straight week that the Badgers were underwhelming for half the game. Against Utah State, Wisconsin was tied 10-10 at halftime. Against FAU, Wisconsin only scored seven points in the second half.
The Badgers are one of the five best teams in the conference and a heavy favorite to win the Big Ten West Division, but so far, the schedule has been too weak to move up in the power rankings.
There's a wide gap between the Badgers and the rest of the teams in these rankings.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Last week: 10 (Up 2)
Result: Minnesota 48, Oregon State 14
In last week's power rankings, I asked Minnesota to win more impressively against an lesser opponent in order to move up the list, and that's exactly what it did.
P.J. Fleck showed why he's so highly regarded as a coach when he erased all memory of the team's 17-point showing against Buffalo. Minnesota exploded for 48 points on the road against Oregon State, including five rushing touchdowns.
Conor Rhoda only threw the ball eight times, but he completed seven passes for 158 yards and a touchdown.
Row on, Gophers.
9. Indiana Hoosiers
Last week: 12 (Up 3)
Result: Indiana 34, Virginia 17
Indiana bounced back from a tough loss to Ohio State and picked up a win that the conference badly needed last weekend.
The Hoosiers went on the road and dominated a Power Five opponent, scoring 17 points in the second quarter and never looking back.
Most importantly, Indiana benched turnover-prone quarterback Richard Lagow and got excellent production out of Peyton Ramsey, who completed 16 of 20 passes for 173 yards, two touchdowns and no turnovers. He also ran the ball 12 times for 32 yards and a score.
10. Purdue Boilermakers
Last week: 11 (Up 1)
Result: Purdue 44, Ohio 21
If you expected Purdue to follow up its impressive performance against Louisville with a bad loss to Ohio, don't worry, you probably weren't alone.
Purdue has been so bad for so long, but head coach Jeff Brohm appears to have made an immediate impact on the program. After coming within a touchdown of upsetting Louisville and Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, Purdue stomped Ohio by 23 points.
The Bobcats haven't had a losing record since 2008, but Purdue didn't have any trouble with them.
11. Illinois Fighting Illini
Last week: 13 (Up 2)
Result: Illinois 20, Western Kentucky 7
This felt like the type of game Illinois would lead by three points throughout until blowing it with a huge turnover late in the fourth quarter, but instead, the Fighting Illini dominated for 60 minutes.
Illinois scored the first 20 points of the game and didn't surrender a score until the fourth quarter. Western Kentucky has been a solid Group of Five team, so it's a nice win for Lovie Smith.
12. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last week: 9 (Down 3)
Result: Oregon 42, Nebraska 35
Nebraska would have looked much worse if not for a 21-0 run in the second half that nearly erased a four-touchdown deficit in Eugene, Oregon.
Tanner Lee needs to be better. He completed fewer than half his passes for three touchdowns and four interceptions.
Nebraska gets Wisconsin, Northwestern and Iowa at home this season, so they still have a chance to make some noise in the West.
13. Northwestern Wildcats
Last week: 8 (Down 5)
Result: Duke 41, Northwestern 17
Wow, it was an ugly weekend for Northwestern.
The Wildcats went to Duke for a Big Ten-ACC matchup and got blown out of the water. They didn't play Clemson, or Florida State, or even Virginia Tech, but they lost by 27 points.
Duke is a solid team, but this was an embarrassing performance for a team many considered a dark horse in the West. Who knows where they'll go from here.
14. Rutgers Scarlett Knights
Last week: 14 (It's impossible to drop them any lower. I tried)
Result: Eastern Michigan 16, Rutgers 13
Eastern Michigan was 0-58 heading into Saturday's game. Never change, Rutgers.
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