It was not the best week for Big Ten teams and the conference took a step back with two teams being dropped for this weeks rankings. No. 16 Nebraska lost a close game in the Rose Bowl against UCLA on Saturday and that blew their chances of moving up in the rankings with Arkansas losing a shocker to UL-Monroe.
In another disappointing game, No. 13 Wisconsin traveled to Oregon State and lost to the Beavers in a low scoring affair, 10-7. This was a game that shocked a lot of people because Wisconsin was a popular pick for conference champs and they only scored seven points for a team that never scored fewer than 28 points in any game last season, they have scored just 33 points in two games this year.
Although the Big Ten had two teams dropped from the rankings, the conference remains one of the top in the country and has a solid three teams in the top 20 and another three receiving votes to be ranked.
Wisconsin had a tough week offensively, but showed promise on defense. They did allow 354 yards but just 10 points in the loss and a big reason for that was the time of possession being so lopsided in the Beavers’ favor. The Badgers went into the game as heavy favorites, but walked away as heavy disappointments.
Possibly the biggest disappointment of the game was the running game behind Montee Ball. Ball had a mere 15 carriers and ran for just over 60 yards and no touchdowns. Ball was one of the runner-ups for the Heisman trophy last season and this season was supposed to be his year to take home the hardware. He has rushed for 181 yards on 47 carries with only one touchdown this season, well under his numbers last year after two games.
Nebraska had some problems of their own on offense, but the defense may have been a bigger issue. The Cornhuskers allowed an astounding 653 total yards and 36 points for a team in a conference that is known for defense.
Taylor Martinez also struggled for Nebraska through the air, completing 17 of 31 passes for 179 yards and an interception a week after his five touchdown performance. One of the reasons for Nebraska’s offensive struggles through the air was the absence of running back Rex Burkhead and another option for Nebraska that would take the pressure off of Martinez’s arm and his legs as well.
Although Nebraska and Wisconsin were the two Big Ten teams dropped from the rankings, they were not the only teams in the conference that struggled mightily. Iowa lost a close, yet uneventful, 9-6 game against their in-state rival Iowa State on the road. This was a game that Iowa was supposed to run away with and many thought they would, yet they failed to deliver.
Penn State lost another game, this time to Virginia, dropping their record to 0-2 and their morale to an all-time low.
Illinois got blown out by a potent Arizona State offense 45-14. This 45 points is more than they allowed in any game last season, being one of the top defenses in the conference.
No. 19 Michigan barely edged out a weaker Air Force team at home, 31-25. This was the second straight week in which Brady Hoke’s team looked overrated.
Purdue put up possibly the biggest fight of the week, losing to No. 22 Notre Dame 20-17 in South Bend. They played well most of the game even with the loss of their starting quarterback Robert Marve to injury.
The Big Ten struggled to keep up with the rest of the country in week two. Won’t be too far away from hearing overrated chants about the conference and losing respect if things don’t turn around.
However, it’s not how you lose games, it’s how you respond to failure that proves what kind of team you are. Week three will be a huge bench mark for measuring the strength of the conference.
As for now, rough week, Big Ten, rough week.