For the second week, I have power ranked the Big Ten using a crude variation of the Football Outsiders PVOA system. The system attempts to rate each team’s offensive and defensive performances by adjusting them to the strength of their opponents. I readjusted each team’s initial rankings after Week Two to account for the further evidence of strength provided by each team’s Week One opponent. Here are the rankings (negatives on defense are good):
Illinois takes the top spot
The results are somewhat surprising. Illinois emerges as the top team in the Big Ten with a balanced offensive and defensive performance so far. However, Illinois’ numbers may prove spurious. We shall see.
Ohio State, despite struggling with lowly regarded Toledo, remains at number two. The Buckeyes offense continues to struggle, but their defense has been statistically strong.
Wisconsin, last week’s number one team, has fallen to number 6, despite winning easily. The Badgers fell because UNLV, their Week One opponent, was manhandled by lowly Washington State, and Oregon State, their Week Two opponent, had been beaten the week before by Sacramento State. Thus, the Badgers sterling offensive performance from Week One has lost some luster, and their defensive performances have been average at best.
Despite losing to Alabama at home this weekend, Penn State entered near the top of the Big Ten. It looks like PSU has a very tough defense. The Nittany Lions held Alabama’s powerful offense at bay for most of the game, but could not overcome their own offensive weaknesses.
Nebraska nearly shot themselves in the foot against Fresno State, but emerged victorious. Their defense was suspect, but their offense, particularly the running game, was solid. The Cornhusker quarterback can certainly run the ball well, but he cannot throw a ten yard out pattern through a hula hoop.
The Northwestern Wildcats are 2-0 on the season, but rank at the bottom of the conference because their defense has performed poorly, and their offense has been just barely above average. We shall see whether this is an aberration or something that will hinder the team all season.
Iowa basically shit the bed against cross-state rival Iowa State, and the Hawkeyes enter the rankings near the bottom of the conference.