I'll agree with Bo Pelini that Nebraska "left a lot on the table" against Wyoming on both sides of the ball. But the only time I can primarily use "potential" or "expectations" in ranking is on the preseason ballot. So I've got one performance from each team to look at, and that's what I used in voting on this week's Big Ten Power Poll. I still have to use expectations for determining the relative strength of the opponent, though.
Easily (and unfortunately as well) the Big Ten's best performance on opening week.
Badgers were also dominant. I think Central Michigan is probably better than UMass, though...hence, advantage Weasels.
Road win against BCS conference opponent with your starting quarterback out? Even if Cal may not be very good, that's a good opener.
4. Penn State
True freshman quarterback getting the start in the Meadowlands. Now, can you consider the new AAC a BCS conference? Technically they are.
5. Ohio State
When you have to resort to two-point conversions and still can't beat the spread against a bad MAC team, you've got issues.
Offense was inconsistent, and the defense from the safeties and linebackers were atrocious. If Bo Pelini can find fixes there with the youngsters, all is not lost. We saw major improvement on the defensive line, so it's not the same problems as last year.
7. Michigan State
The defense is scary good. The offense has regressed even further. I rank the Huskers ahead of Sparty because I think Nebraska has more room for improvement than Michigan State, and because I think Wyoming is going to be a much better team in 2013 than Western Michigan.
Defense is improved, and offense isn't nearly as as bad as Michigan State's.
Big numbers on offense...but against a 1-AA opponent.
Probably being harsh here for losing to a BCS bowl team, but it's still a loss at home.
Got absolutely wiped out by Cincinnati.
Southern Illinois had the ball on the Illinois three yard line when the game ended. If they could have scored and converted a two-point conversion, the 1-AA team would have sent Illinois to overtime.