Sunday, January 13, 2008

Big Ten Bloggers Power Rankings

A second week of Big Ten play is in the books, and the Big Ten looks more wide open then it did just one week ago. Michigan State looked abysmal in a loss at Iowa. Indiana looked completely beatable today, even though they held on against Illinois. And Purdue had a good week, losing a tight game at MSU before holding court at home against Ohio State.

If you missed last week's poll, here's the deal. A group of us from the Big Ten bloggers group are teaming up to do power rankings weekly during the Big Ten season. Obviously, it's a requirement if you run a sports Web site to incorporate power rankings. Later in the week, the ever-organized Tom from Gopher Nation compiles all of the ballots and unveils the new poll for the week.

Anyway, on to the new poll.

1) Indiana (14-1, 3-0): The Hoosiers have won on the road twice to start Big Ten play and held off a game Illinois team Sunday afternoon. Previous: 2

2) Wisconsin (13-2, 3-0): The Badgers took care of business in their only game of the week, a 70-60 win at home against Illinois. The Badgers could be 6-0 if they can go on the road and beat Penn State Tuesday night. Because after that the Badgers host Northwestern and Michigan. Previous: 3

3) Michigan State (14-2, 2-1): After struggling through wins at home against Minnesota and Purdue, the Spartans couldn't escape another poor shooting performance Saturday night during a stunner at Iowa. Drew Neitzel continues to struggle in Big Ten play and Tom Izzo's team looks extremely vulnerable. The upcoming week will tell us a lot about the Spartans as they host Ohio State and travel to Minnesota. Previous: 1

4) Purdue (11-5, 2-1): I had a couple emails a week ago telling me I had placed Purdue too high in my rankings. But after the Boilers took Michigan State to the wire in East Lansing and beat Ohio State 75-68 at home on Saturday, I feel somewhat vindicated. I still feel the Boilers are somewhat vulnerable to streaky play. They travel to Iowa Wednesday, in a game that could have been a trap game. But the Hawkeyes win over the Spartans should open the eyes of the baby Boilers. Previous rank: 4

5) Minnesota (12-3, 2-1): After opening Big Ten play with a hard-fought loss at Michigan State, the Gophers rebounded with two wins. Despite up and down play, the Gophers easily dispatched hapless Northwestern. The win at Penn State Saturday was most impressive. But the schedule only gets tougher for the Gophers as both Indiana and a pissed off Michigan State squad come to Williams Arena this week. A split of the two games will make the Gophers a legit NCAA tourney hopeful. Winning both games would allow us to talk about the unfathomable: a Big Ten title. Previous rank: 6

6) Ohio State (12-4, 3-1): The Buckeyes had an opportunity to pull off a big road win at Purdue but didn't have the horses down the stretch. I expect the Buckeyes to lose two games this week, as they travel to face the Spartans and then travel to Tennessee for a non conference match up with Bruce Pearl's Volunteers. Previous rank: 5

7) Penn State: The Nittany Lions had a week to prepare for the Gophers, but failed in their test to be considered as one of the teams fighting for an upper-echelon spot in the conference. Geary Claxton still impresses, as does Jamelle Cornley, but the way PSU choked the game away Saturday makes it hard to believe this team can climb the Big Ten ladder. Previous rank: 7.

8) Iowa (8-9, 1-3): The win against Michigan State is impressive. But if you watched this game, you should know that it was a really ugly game. That said, I would take a Gophers win over MSU this week by any means necessary. The Hawkeyes did everyone in the conference a favor by knocking the Spartans down to size. Previous rank 9.

9) Illinois (8-9, 0-4): Oh, how the mighty have fallen. It seems like just yesterday the Illini were a perennial Big Ten power. Now, they settle for moral victories like the one they had in a close loss Sunday at Indiana. Previous rank 8.

10) Michigan (5-11, 1-3): Yuck. Previous rank 10.

11) Northwestern (5-8, 0-4): Will be lucky to match Minnesota's 9-11 mark from last year. Previous rank 11.


Hawkeye State said...

Wait, wait, wait, I have the Gophers ranked higher than PJS? Where is the plague of locusts?

lonebadger said...

I too have the Goophs at 4. I guess we are all preparing in case we lose to Minny, then we can say we lost to a top team. Man, it looks like the rest of us are going to have to get used to the U not being an easy out anymore. Oh well, Illinois has been so kind as to assume that position now. BOHICA Bruce.

PJS said...

I'm playing the expectations game with the Gophers--rather have them exceed expectations.

Also, I had a couple jokes that included locusts, KY and BOHICA Bruce, but I'm resisting the temptation.

Friend Of Tubby said...

Tubby has never finished lower than 4th in conference (or divisional) play in 16 years as HC.

It'd be nice if the Gophers go 12-6 and finish 4th (or better) in B10.

PJS said...

If he finishes 4th he deserves national coach of the year consideration. The new guys--Nolen and Hoffarber have been large--but the vast majority of this team are holdovers from the 9-22 debacle last year.

alex said...

Without a doubt pjs. He already should be the front-runner for Big 10 coach of the year, but if he can somehow turn this team into the fourth best in the Big 10, there's no reason that shouldn't be on a national scale. That being said, 12-6 seems a bit too optimistic, I still think we go somewhere around 10-8 or 9-9.

On a side note, I realized today that I could spell without any assistance from other things. Thanks for that strange skill PJS :p

PJS said...

LOL. You're very welcome, Alex.