Staff writer Sam McKewon compiled his Big Ten football power rankings, published in The World-Herald on Sept. 3.
Sign up for Big Red Today news alerts
Get a daily Husker news roundup, recruiting updates and breaking news in your inbox.
1. Wisconsin (1-0)
Last week: Beat Western Kentucky 34-3 This week: vs. New Mexico, 11 a.m. (BTN)
No fuss, no muss from the Badgers, who steamrolled the Hilltoppers without their top two receivers. Jonathan Taylor had a highlight touchdown run and added another en route to 145 rushing yards. Wisconsin’s rebuilt defense held up OK.
2. Ohio State (1-0)
Last week: Beat Oregon State 77-31 This week: vs. Rutgers, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)
Can you say scoring explosion? OSU racked up 721 yards and quarterback Dwayne Haskins threw for 313 yards and five touchdowns. Backup Mike Weber rumbled for 186 yards. The Buckeyes’ offense didn’t look like it missed Urban Meyer coaching it for a half-second. The defense and special teams did a little bit.
3. Iowa (1-0)
Last week: Beat Northern Illinois 33-7 This week: vs. Iowa State, 4 p.m. (Fox)
For Kirk Ferentz’s 144th win, it was classic Ferentz Ball. Dominate time of possession, run the ball for 209 yards against a good NIU front, and tear up the Huskies’ offensive line with good pressure from the front four. If the Hawkeyes play like this against Iowa State, they’ll win by double digits.
4. Michigan State (1-0)
Last week: Beat Utah State 38-31 This week: at Arizona State, 9:45 p.m. (ESPN)
Don’t look down your nose too much at MSU’s win. Utah State is legitimate — so is its quarterback Jordan Love. The Spartans gave up 25 yards rushing. Brian Lewerke threw for 287 yards and goes home to Phoenix to play Herm Edwards’ Sun Devils.
5. Penn State (1-0)
Last week: Beat Appalachian State 45-38, OT This week: at Pittsburgh, 7 p.m. (ABC)
The Nittany Lions ran out of gas in the fourth quarter — giving up 28 points — and coasted to a win on fumes. Not a good look for a team that had designs on a Big Ten title. Trace McSorley is still a true closer. The QB delivered a game-tying touchdown when PSU needed it.
6. Michigan (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Notre Dame 24-17 This week: vs. Western Michigan, 11 a.m. (BTN)
The Wolverines played the toughest foe of any Big Ten team, but didn’t look good on offense. Disjointed early on defense, confused on offense, the offensive line couldn’t block, the starting quarterback got cramps multiple times … yuck.
7. Maryland (1-0)
Last week: Beat Texas 34-29 This week: vs. Bowling Green
Must not overreact to beating an average Texas team. Must not … well, the Terrapins, after an awful summer in which a teammate died and their coach was rightly put on leave , played quite well, considering the circumstances.
8. Northwestern (1-0)
Last week: Beat Purdue 31-27 This week: vs. Duke, 11 a.m. (ESPNU)
The Wildcats’ great first half on offense was enough to hold off the Boilermakers at the end. But on a rewatch, Northwestern’s defense looked slow and out position against Purdue’s skill players. Duke should come in and pull the upset.
9. Purdue (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Northwestern 31-27 This week: vs. Eastern Michigan, 11 a.m. (BTN)
Rondale Moore, Purdue’s new offensive weapon, is a treat. Now quarterback Elijah Sindelar needs to stop throwing awful interceptions. He threw three total, two that were textbook no-nos for any quarterback.
10. Nebraska (0-0)
Last week: Game vs. Akron canceled This week: vs. Colorado, 2:30 p.m. (ABC)
NU hasn’t earned its spurs in the season yet. The Huskers apparently never seriously discussed the possibility of moving up Saturday’s game despite knowing the weather conditions. Not good.
11. Minnesota (1-0)
Last week: Beat New Mexico State 48-10 This week: vs. Fresno State, 6:30 p.m. (FS1)
The Gophers played fine in a rout over the Aggies, but why did New Mexico State think it’d be a good idea to play two games before Sept. 1? Why play a road game on a short week?
12. Indiana (1-0)
Last week: Beat Florida International 38-28 This week: vs. Virginia, 6:30 p.m. (BTN)
A defensive coordinator-made-coach can almost never stop fiddling with the quarterback position, so it’s notable that Peyton Ramsey made the start and played well but was briefly replaced with Michael Penix, who completed 8 of 10 passes for 96 yards and a touchdown.
13. Rutgers (1-0)
Last week: Beat Texas State 35-7 This week: at Ohio State, 2:30 p.m. (BTN)
Texas State is awful. But so are lots of teams Rutgers couldn’t whip over the years. To soundly beat a bad team is, well, progress.
14. Illinois (1-0)
Last week: Beat Kent State 31-24 This week: vs. Western Illinois, 6:30 p.m. (BTN)
Strong start for AJ Bush, who threw for 190 yards, rushed for 139 and led a comeback. The former Husker seems to have found a home. Illinois’ defense allowing 453 yards isn’t exactly encouraging, though.
Husker History: Nebraska football's 25 most common opponents
Who are the Huskers' biggest gridiron rivals? Check out a photo collection featuring Nebraska's 25 most-faced opponents, and be sure to follow Husker History on Twitter for more tidbits about NU's storied football history.