A few weeks ago, we checked in on what the Dorks thought about the Big Ten after five games. Today, we’ll see where things have gone after ten games, because nothing turns nerds on like numbers divisible by five and ten. All stats via SP+.
First: THE Ohio State Buckeyes
Preseason: 3rd overall (29.7), 1st in conference. Offense 1st, Defense 15th
Five Games: 5-0, 2nd overall (30.6), 1st in conference. Offense 1st, Defense 8th
Now: 10-0, 2nd overall (32.4), 1st in conference. Offense 5th, Defense 5th
The Buckeyes continue to tick up and are just barely behind Georgia for the top ranked team in the land. Even though their offensive struggles have pushed them down a bit relative to other teams, their defense has picked up the slack. Things still on track for a mega-showdown in two weeks.
Second: Michigan Wolverines
Preseason: 6th overall (21.4), 2nd in conference. Offense 6th, Defense 17th
Five Games: 5-0, 4th overall (25.4), 2nd in conference. Offense 6th, Defense 11th
Now: 10-0, 3rd overall (30.1), 2nd in conference. Offense 20th, Defense 3rd
Michigan has moved up even more than Ohio State. It’s important to keep in mind that SP+ does include preseason rankings in their ongoing rankings, but they get less important over time. That probably explains why Michigan’s relative rankings are worse on offense despite them being just fine on the field over the past five games. Remember coming into the season, when we thought their passing game would be big time, but had questions about their defense? Shows what we know.
Third: Penn State Nittany Lions
Preseason: 13th overall (16.5), 3rd in conference. Offense 48th, Defense 6th
Five Games: 5-0, 14th overall (17.5), 4th in conference. Offense 45th, Defense 5th.
Now: 8-2, 7th overall (19.9), 3rd in conference. Offense 26th, Defense 16th.
Woody Hayes said “there’s nothing that cleanses the soul like getting the hell kicked out of you.” So it is for Penn State, who got horsewhipped by Michigan but responded by playing OSU pretty evenly and blowing out everyone else. They have grown into a very solid team.
Fourth: Minnesota Golden Gophers
Preseason: 31st overall (12.4), 7th in conference. Offense 59th, Defense 9th
Five Games: 4-1, 10th overall (18.7), 3rd in conference. Offense 43rd, Defense 3rd
Now: 7-3, 16th overall (15.1), 4th in conference. Offense 71st, Defense 6th
Minny has dropped, but not quite like a rock. The offense has struggled in their losses, but outside of a wide loss to Penn State, the defense has given them a puncher’s chance in every game. If only they had some more punch.
Fifth: Iowa Hawkeyes
Preseason: 27th overall (13.3), 6th in conference. Offense 63rd, Defense 8th.
Five Games: 3-2, 29th overall (12.9), 7th in conference. Offense 93rd, Defense 1st.
Now: 6-4, 20th overall (12.8), 5th in conference, Offense 107th, Defense 1st.
Iowa’s offense keeps sinking, but offense is for jocks. Kirk Ferentz is primed to win the West yet again. By the end of the season they might be dead last in offense while winning the conference.
Sixth: Illinois Fighting Illini
Preseason: 79th overall (-2.4), 11th in conference. Offense 104th, Defense 42nd.
After five games: 4-1, 44th overall (8.6), 10th in conference. Offense 88th, Defense 9th.
Now: 7-3, 26th overall (11.7), 6th in conference, Offense 97th, Defense 4th.
Illini fans are salty after a couple bad results, but you have to hand it to Bert to bring this team from the absolute dregs to a legit team in two seasons. All hail Bert. Their defensive coordinator may start getting some head coach chatter in the MAC.
Seventh: Wisconsin Badgers
Preseason: 17th overall (15.6), 5th in conference. Offense 57th, Defense 5th
Five Games: 2-3, 33rd overall (11.7), 8th in conference. Offense 67th, Defense 14th
Now: 5-5, 33rd overall (9.3), 7th in conference. Offense 65th, Defense 20th.
The Badgers aren’t far off from What We Thought They Were in the beginning, except that their defense has been merely fine instead of great, which is the difference between contending for the West and whatever they are doing now.
Eighth: Maryland Terrapins
Preseason: 54th overall (4.1), 10th in conference. Offense 29th, Defense 89th.
Five games: 4-1, 24th overall (14.2), 5th in conference. Offense 17th, Defense 54th.
Now: 6-4, 41st overall (7.6), 8th in conference. Offense 44th, Defense 50th.
There and back again. Maryland was predicted to be average, looked pretty good for a while, and now looks like crap again. The complete Maryland experience.
Ninth: Purdue Boilermakers
Preseason: 34th overall (9.9), 8th in conference. Offense 45th, Defense 32nd.
Five games: 3-2, 25th overall (14.2), 6th in conference. Offense 34th, Defense 20th.
Now: 6-4, 47th overall (5.9), 9th in conference. Offense 30th, Defense 73rd.
I was surprised to see Purdue so low. They’ve fallen farther than Maryland by the FancyStats, mostly due to their defense going from competent outfit to something less than that. They still have a shot at the West, but the trend line isn’t in their favor.
Tenth: Michigan State Spartans
Preseason: Overall 15th (16.1), 4th on conference. Offense 20th, Defense 20th.
Five games: 2-3, Overall 37th (10.4), 9th in conference. Offense 32nd, Defense 41st.
Now: 5-5, Overall 58th (4.2), 10th in conference. Offense 49th, Defense 57th.
Sparty has fallen by the same amount over the season that Illinois has risen. The stats reflect what we’ve seen on the field, which is that Sparty isn’t actually good at anything, but they aren’t godawful either.
Eleventh: Nebraska Cornhuskers
Preseason: 44th Overall (8.3), 9th in conference. Offense 53rd, Defense 33rd.
Five games: 2-3, 63rd overall (4.0), 11th in conference. Offense 50th, Defense 74th
Now: 3-7, 75th Overall (-2.6), 11th in conference. Offense 68th, Defense 80th.
What’s left to say about Nebraska? They are interviewing Matt Rhule or Deion Sanders or whoever and we will check back with them next year.
Twelfth: Rutgers Scarlet Knights
Preseason: Overall 80th (-2.7), 12th in conference. Offense 96th, Defense 56th.
Five games: 3-2, Overall 77th (-0.4), 12th in conference. Offense 103rd, Defense 42nd.
Now: 4-6, Overall 84th (-5.9), 12th in conference. Offense 117th, Defense 38th
No surprise Rutgers chopped their offensive coordinator, given their offense has been even worse than Iowa’s over the course of the season. That’s really holding this team back - the defense has been just fine.
Thirteenth: Indiana Hoosiers
Preseason: 86th overall (-5.0), 13th in conference. Offense 98th, Defense 67th
Five games: 3-2, 83rd overall (-2.1), 13th in conference. Offense 92nd, Defense 73rd
Now: 3-7, 92nd overall (-7.9), 13th in conference. Offense 66th, Defense 112th
This team is bad and should feel bad.
Fourteenth: Northwestern Wildcats
Preseason: 89th overall (-5.6), 14th in conference. Offense 107th, Defense 60th
Five games: 1-4, 88th overall (-5.1), 14th in conference. Offense 110th, Defense 60th.
Now: 1-9, 108th overall (-14.1), 14th in conference. Offense 112th, Defense 79th.
The offense is putrid. The defense isn’t any better than last year. Not sure where this team goes from here.