LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – This is where the Big Ten sits in football this season:

Wishing, hoping, praying that Minnesota can pull a shocker at TCU Saturday or that Illinois can deliver a miracle at Washington. And, of course, that something silly doesn't happen this weekend, like Iowa losing to Iowa State or Nebraska stumbling at Fresno.

Because it's pretty much basketball season for the Big Ten, and considering the league has not won a national title in that sport since 2000, that's not really a reason for standing ovations.

Seems like the perfect time for Louisville athletic director Tom Jurich to pick up the phone to set up a home-and-home series with a Big Ten team. Any Big Ten team.

It wasn't simply that Michigan State, Ohio State and Michigan all lost last weekend. It was the way they lost. In prime time. By an average of 21.3 points. To teams that looked faster, deeper, stronger, better. On an afternoon when two other Big Ten teams lost to Mid-American Conference opponents.

It's not good. But it's not going away. So it's on to my weekly Big Ten power ratings.


1.     Wisconsin Basketball (0-0) – The Badgers are talking return trip to the Final Four. The Badgers are showing up big in all the pre-season magazines. And the Badgers are the only shot the Big Ten has to win a national championship in a sport that matters this season.

2.     Penn State (2-0) – I know the Nittany Lions needed a field goal to escape Central Florida. But the energy created from their unexpected NCAA pardon should push Penn State to six straight wins before they host Ohio State in October.

3.     Michigan State (1-1) – Something to consider before piling on the Spartans. The press box squawks when teams play FCS opponents. Michigan State deserves credit for playing at Oregon – even if the Spartans only played about 33 minutes of the trip.

4.     Wisconsin (1-1) – The Badgers aren't awful for a team with a starting quarterback who has as many interceptions (three) as touchdowns.

5.     Nebraska (2-0) – Unless Bo Pelini has a secret desire to be coaching in the Gateway Conference next season, he needs to remember to give Ameer Abdullah the football and get out of the way.

6.     Ohio State (1-1) – After falling to Virginia Tech Saturday, the Buckeyes return to the safety of playing a team from the Mid-American Conference. Ohio State is 29-1 against the MAC. The one loss? That was to Akron on Sept. 5, 1894. I think I still have my press pass.

7.     Maryland (2-0) – Would you be impressed by a team with two receivers averaging at least 15 yards per reception? Well, the Terps have two.

8.     Iowa (2-0) – The Hawkeyes are unbeaten, but if you check the fine print you'll notice they only beat Northern Iowa by eight and Ball State by four.

9.     Minnesota (2-0) – The Gophers' trip to TCU this weekend has not stirred much national attention, but it actually is a game that could help the Big Ten with its perception problems.

10. Michigan (1-1) – Hard to imagine that Lloyd Carr has been as difficult to replace as John Wooden, but it certainly seems that way in Ann Arbor.

11. Rutgers (2-0) – The Scarlet Knights' season-opening victory at Washington State doesn't seem as wonderful now that WSU also lost to Nevada.

12. Indiana (1-0) – Western Kentucky's beatdown of the Falcons made this a game the Hoosiers must win for A) regional credibility and B) bowl eligibility.

13. Illinois (2-0) – If the Illini can win at Washington Saturday, the Big Ten can regain some of its lost … never mind.

14. Northwestern (0-2) – Maybe Pat Fitzgerald should have taken one of those jobs he's been offered in the last three years.

15. Purdue (1-1) – When the Boilermakers' press notes recognize Ryan Griggs' fourth field goal of the season as the top highlight of the week, you know a dumpster fire is raging in West Lafayette.

AVERAGE ATTENDANCE (League ranking, national ranking)

1.     (1) Ohio State 107,517

2.     (2) Michigan 106,811

3.     (7) Penn State 97,354

4.     (10) Nebraska 91,262

5.     (18) Wisconsin 77,125

6.     (20) Michigan State 75,127

7.     (22) Iowa 65,508

8.     (43) Rutgers 48,040

9.     (45) Minnesota 45,784

10. (48) Maryland 45,080

11. (55) Indiana 38,006

12. (56) Northwestern 37,684

13. (58) Illinois 37,390

14. (59) Purdue 36,721

Source: Stats.NCAA.org

RED ZONE CONVERSIONS (Offense scoring  either TD or FG inside 20-yardline)

1.     Michigan State: 9 for 9, 100 percent.

2.     Michigan, Minnesota: 6 for 6, 100 percent

4.     Northwestern: 4 for 4, 100 percent

5.     Nebraska: 8 for 9, 89 percent

6.     Rutgers: 7 for 8, 87.5 percent

7.     Purdue: 6 for 7, 85.7 percent

8.     Maryland: 8 for 10, 80 percent

9.     Wisconsin: 7 for 9, 77.8 percent

10. Penn State: 6 for 8, 75 percent

11. Ohio State: 5 for 7, 71.4 percent

12. Illinois: 7 for 10, 70 percent

13. Indiana: 3 for 5, 60 percent

14. Iowa: 7 for 12: 58.3 percent

Source: cfbstats.com

Copyright 2014 WDRB News. All Rights Reserved.