Tier 4: Time to panic already?
14. Penn State (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Temple, 27-10
This week: vs. Buffalo (1-0)
That's how far back you have to go to find the last time that Temple beat Penn State in college football.
Penn State's issues from last season continued to manifest themselves during this losing effort, as NFL scout darling QB Christian Hackenberg was sacked 10 times behind PSU's porous O-line. It's safe to say that the honeymoon period for James Franklin is now over.
13. Purdue (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Marshall, 41-31
This week: vs. Indiana State (1-0)
The first play from scrimmage for Purdue against Marshall was a pick-six by Austin Appleby. Things got better from there, but the Boilers couldn't hold on against a Marshall team that was one point away from being undefeated last season. A home opener against the Sycamores should provide some relief for Darrell Hazell's squad.
12. Indiana (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Southern Illinois, 48-47
This week: vs. Florida International (1-0)
Oh, so you thought Saturday's game against Southern Illinois would be an easy walk in the park, didn't you? An FCS school that finished 6-6 last year, in our house after an entire offseason of anticipation, would be no problem, right?
You must be new here, friend.
Luckily, the Hoosiers bailed themselves out by stopping a last-second two-point conversion attempt, but the story is the same in Bloomington right now: the offense may be a pinball machine, but the defense needs a ton of work. As for the nine players that were suspended for the first game, eight will be back on Saturday. Only problem is, the one who won't be is Tegray Scales - he was suspended for two games and won't be back until the WKU contest.
Tier 3: Solid showings against worse teams
11. Rutgers (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Norfolk State, 63-13
This week: vs. Washington State (1-0)
Though they let Norfolk State score first, Rutgers had little trouble from then on. The Scarlet Knights won, but the team has larger issues, as five players were recently kicked off the team after being charged with assault. But it still might take a while before Rutgers faces a decent opponent - they have non-conference games coming up with Washington State and Kansas, who were the only two Power 5 schools to lose to FCS opponents over the weekend.
10. Maryland (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Richmond, 50-21
This week: vs. Bowling Green (0-1)
This game answered the question of who would win in a fight between a turtle and a spider.
9. Illinois (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Kent State, 52-3
This week: vs. Western Illinois (1-0)
New head coach? Game delayed a day due to lightning? No problem for the Illini, who pummeled through Kent State and will likely do the same thing to Western Illinois, which has one of the coolest nicknames in college football (the Leathernecks).
8. Iowa (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Illinois State, 31-14
This week: at Iowa State (1-0)
Before last Saturday, I put the Hawkeyes on upset watch against Tre Roberson and Illinois State. That didn't last long. Soon enough, Kirk Ferentz of all people was going for fake field goals, as the Hawkeyes blew out the Redbirds. Next up is the Cy-Hawk game, which our buddies over at Every Day Should Be Saturday have renamed El Assico.
Tier 2: Valiant efforts that fell short
7. Wisconsin (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Alabama, 35-17
This week: vs. Miami-Ohio (1-0)
So the Badgers became Bama's latest victim in their string of season-opener neutral-site games. Considering the Tide did the same thing to Michigan, Virginia Tech, and WVU in the past three years, this isn't all too surprising. What should be a concern for the Badgers, however, is their run game. Bama's defense dominated Wisconsin's running game, which has been a strength for the team since Barry Alvarez took over 25 years ago and has continued through his successors, holding the Badgers to only 40 yards on the ground. If Paul Chryst can't get that fixed, and Corey Clement struggles to replace what Melvin Gordon brought to the team, it could be a long season in Madison.
6. Michigan (0-1)
Last week: Lost to Utah, 24-17
This week: vs. Oregon State (1-0)
The much-anticipated Jim Harbaugh debut ended with a whimper, as the Utes cruised past Michigan. Though former Iowa QB Jake Rudock looked lost for the Wolverines (unless he was checking down to tight end Jake Butt), Michigan was never fully out of the game, and Jabrill Peppers seems like he could be a game-changer on defense. The Harbaugh rebuild won't happen overnight, but at least the first game wasn't a total disaster.
5. Nebraska (0-1)
Last week: Lost to BYU, 33-28
This week: vs. South Alabama (1-0)
A Hail Mary (or a BYU fans have called it, Hail Joseph) ruined the debut of Mike Riley in Lincoln last week. He should have a much easier go of it against South Alabama next weekend.
4. Minnesota (0-1)
Last week: Lost to TCU, 23-17
This week: at Colorado State (1-0)
Played well on defense and stopped TCU from scoring too many points; however their offense didn't show much life until a hurry-up drive late in the 4th quarter. Next week, a potential trap game looms for the Gophers, as they travel to Colorado State, who won 10 games last season (but lost their coach to Florida).
Tier 1.5: Well, I wasn't expecting this
3. Northwestern (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Stanford, 16-6
This week: vs. Eastern Illinois (0-1)
Yep, you're as shocked as I am. Stanford has been a paragon of consistency for the past half-decade, but the post-Andrew Luck shine seems to finally be wearing off. Since the beginning of last season, Northwestern has now defeated Wisconsin, Notre Dame, and Stanford. In all other games, they're 3-7.
Tier 1: Still atop the conference
2. Michigan State (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Western Michigan, 37-24
This week: vs. Oregon (1-0)
Sparty didn't rout a frisky Western team in Kalamazoo, but they controlled the pace of the play and performed nicely in a warm-up to next weekend's marquee matchup. Oregon seems to have found yet another QB who fits their system well in Vernon Adams; however, the Ducks' defense gave up 42 points to Eastern Washington last week. A performance like that in East Lansing could cause trouble.
1. Ohio State (1-0)
Last week: Defeated Virginia Tech, 42-24
This week: vs. Hawaii (1-0)
I made these rankings on Sunday night. For about a half hour last night, I thought I'd have to rewrite the entire piece, as the Buckeyes struggled against Virginia Tech in the second quarter. But after Braxton Miller put the spin move on a bunch of unsuspecting Hokie defenders, the rout was on. The Buckeyes have a few weaknesses, but they probably have the three best quarterbacks in the B1G. And one of them plays wide receiver.
And their best defensive player didn't even suit up in this one.