I've heard some complaints about other media members (especially at BTN) putting Nebraska in the middle of the pack in the Big Ten standings. Well, I did the exact same thing this week. I can't, in good conscience, put Nebraska any higher than fifth. This week is the acid test though; Nebraska hasn't done anything to warrant a higher ranking to this point. Beat UCLA, and all bets are off. A good solid victory might be reason to vote Nebraska as high as #2. A loss, on the other hand, likely moves Nebraska down the list. Nebraska is unproven at this point, so middle of the pack is all it is worthy of at this point.
So here's my ballot after week 2.
Solid opening week performance against a nobody, then a win against Notre Dame. Nobody else has that resume at this point.
Played two nobodies, throttled two nobodies. This week against Arizona State counts for much more.
Two BCS conference opponents, two victories. Maybe a little closer than they should be against teams that will likely be way down the standings this season, but that's still a better resume than anybody else in the Big Ten.
4. Ohio State
Didn't look great against a bad Buffalo squad to open the season. Looked better against San Diego State, though.
Wyoming may be better than originally thought after their 42-10 win over Idaho. This week is the mid-term exam for the Huskers. Nebraska doesn't need this game to win the West division this season, but Nebraska desperately needs to win to break the national perception of getting beaten badly in big games.
6. Penn State
Putting together a solid season.
7. Michigan State
The defense is great. The offense is simply horrible. Michigan State has scored two offensive touchdowns against teams that couldn't even win a home game against a 1-AA opponent. They get a 1-AA opponent of their own, and then reality sets in. If the offense can't find a way to become merely mediocre, the Spartans won't even make it to bowl eligibility.
Not terribly impressive, but lacking a reason to rank them any lower.
Last week after a scare from 1-AA Southern Illinois, the Illini pounded Cincinnati. Which one is the real Illinois? Keeping them at #9 for now.
Losing to Northern Illinois is probably forgivable. Having a bad Missouri Valley team hanging around in the fourth quarter is not.
Navy isn't bad...but it tempers the optimism from blowing out Indiana State.
After Illinois blasted Cincy, that season opening loss to the Bearcats looks even worse.