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There's a new team atop the Big Ten power rankings (and it's not a beast from the East)

There's a new team atop the Big Ten power rankings (and it's not a beast from the East)

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Iowa Iowa St Football

Iowa defensive lineman Zach VanValkenburg (97) and Iowa offensive lineman Jack Plumb (79) hoists the Cy-Hawk Trophy as their team shouts the Iowa fight song celebrating their 27-17 win over Iowa State on Saturday.

After an impressive two-week start for Iowa, and a stumble in the road for Ohio State, there is some movement atop Parker Gabriel's weekly league rankings.

1. Iowa (2-0, 1-0)

Previous: 2. Last week: W 27-17 at Iowa State.

Iowa has perhaps the two most impressive victories of the young season in the Big Ten and gets top billing for now because of it. Will Iowa stay at the top of these rankings for the long haul? Time will tell. But the Hawkeyes are off to the best start of anybody in the league so far.

2. Penn State (2-0, 1-0)

Previous: 3. LW: W 44-13 vs. Ball State.

PSU followed up a big-time opening-week win at Wisconsin by taking care of Ball State at home. Combined with Ohio State’s loss, the Nittany Lions likely feel like they can make a run at the East Division. If Sean Clifford (21-of-29 for 230 and a touchdown) plays well, James Franklin’s team has the offensive weapons and the defensive prowess to hang in the race. Next up, though? A tough test against Auburn.

3. Ohio State (1-1, 1-0)

Previous: 1. LW: L 35-28 vs. Oregon.

The Buckeyes got burned. Oregon came to Columbus and put it to Ryan Day’s team, particularly the OSU defense. The Ducks rolled up 505 yards of offense and held off a fourth-quarter charge from the Buckeyes. The good news? C.J. Stroud can really play. The not-so-good news? The Ducks rushed for 269 and three touchdowns one week after Minnesota pushed the Buckeyes around up front, too.

4. Michigan (2-0, 0-0)

Previous: 5. LW: W 31-10 vs. Washington.

At first blush, you might not think that a team would be in position to beat the Huskies comfortably if their quarterback went 7-of-15 for 44 yards. That was Cade McNamara’s day on Saturday. However, Michigan ran 56 times for 343 yards and four touchdowns — three of the scores from running back Blake Corum — and UM beat UW by three scores. Washington rushed for just 50 yards on 32 carries.

5. Minnesota (1-1, 0-1)

Previous: 4. LW: W 31-26 vs. Miami (Ohio).

It’s a bit of a new world for the Gophers without All-American running back Mohamed Ibrahim, who suffered a season-ending injury in UM’s opening loss to Ohio State. The Gophers sneaked by their MAC opponent, though, and Treyson Potts rushed 34 times for 178 and two touchdowns. P.J. Fleck’s team isn’t going anywhere in a wide-open West Division.

6. Wisconsin (1-1, 0-1)

Previous: 6. LW: W 34-7 vs. Eastern Michigan.

Paul Chryst’s team appears to have found something in Clemson transfer Chez Mellusi (265 yards and two TDs through two games), but the Badgers need better quarterback play going forward. Eastern Michigan? Just 92 total yards and three first downs compared to Wisconsin’s 518 and 26, respectively.

7. Michigan State (2-0, 1-0)

Previous: 7. LW: W 42-14 vs. Youngstown State

The Spartans followed a dominating Big Ten win against Northwestern by cruising past Youngstown State. Payton Thorne threw for four touchdowns, and has been a revelation in East Lansing. Super-interesting challenge on deck as Mel Tucker’s team goes to Miami this weekend before Nebraska comes to town.

8. Maryland (2-0, 0-0)

Previous: 8. LW: W 62-0 vs. Howard.

The Terps followed up their impressive opening win against West Virginia by pounding an FCS foe. Taulia Tagovailoa continued his hot start to the season, as did his talented group of receivers. Mike Locksley’s team overwhelmed Howard defensively, too. Now Maryland gets Illinois and Kent State.

9. Rutgers (2-0, 0-0)

Previous: 9. LW: W 17-7 at Syracuse.

The Scarlet Knights are 2-0 and have victories over a couple of regional teams in Temple and now Syracuse. Greg Schiano’s team only rushed for 50 yards on 43 carries, but Noah Vedral finished 22-of-28 for 145 and a touchdown. That was just enough for RU, which scored all of its points in the second half. They keep it on the East Coast for a game against Delaware.

10. Indiana (1-1, 0-1)

Previous: 10. LW: W 56-14 vs. Idaho.

The Hoosiers got a bounce-back win after a rough Week 1 loss at Iowa by crushing the Vandals. Tom Allen’s team had modest offensive numbers, but that was in part because of a punt return touchdown, a blocked punt for a touchdown and a 71-yard kick return to set up a short field. Now the Hoosiers have a big task in front of them as they host Cincinnati this weekend.

11. Purdue (2-0, 0-0)

Previous: 12. LW: W 49-0 at UConn.

The Boilermakers greeted the post-Randy Edsall era at UConn rudely, shutting out the reeling program. Jack Plummer threw four touchdowns, including three to David Bell (six catches for 121 yards) and PU followed up a putrid rushing performance last week with 187 yards and a touchdown in Week 2. Notre Dame is up next for Jeff Brohm’s team.

12. Illinois (1-2, 1-0)

Previous: 11. LW: L 42-17 at Virginia.

Things started so promising for Bret Bielema’s team with its opening win over Nebraska, but it’s been downhill since. The Hoos racked up 556 yards against the Illini. Quarterback Brennan Armstrong completed 27-of-36 for 405 yards and five touchdowns against the hapless UI defense. Illinois will try to stop the skid this weekend at home against Maryland.

13. Nebraska (2-1, 0-1)

Previous: 13. LW: W 28-3 vs. Buffalo.

The Huskers left a ton of points on the board, but got enough from quarterback Adrian Martinez and a salty defense to get by the Bulls without too much stress. Things get much more difficult from here, as the Huskers head to Norman, Oklahoma for a celebration of the 50th anniversary of the 1971 Game of the Century against the Sooners. That’ll be fun, though Scott Frost’s team will have to play much better to find any joy against its former Big 12 rival.

14. Northwestern (1-1, 0-1)

Previous: 14. LW: W 24-6 vs. Indiana State.

The Wildcats bounced back from a blowout Week 1 loss to top the Sycamores — not Bishop Sycamore, mind you — but Pat Fitzgerald’s team still has plenty to prove. Evan Hull rushed 22 times for 126 and two touchdowns, and NU held Indiana State to 169 total yards. The Wildcats also only had 275 of their own.

Contact the writer at or 402-473-7439. On Twitter @HuskerExtraPG.


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