LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) – Last week I was convinced that life could not get worse for Big Ten football. Impossible. Unthinkable. Unimaginable.

I was wrong. It got worse.

How? The league played more non-conference games – and it lost more non-conference games, a half-dozen, if you're counting.

Big Ten teams went 3-6 in non-league games last week, stumbling to an 0-3 performance against the Big 12 and an 0-1 mark the Pac-12. Blend in Indiana's ugly loss to Bowling Green and Purdue's whiff against Notre Dame, and the Big Ten has officially secured its spot as Number Five among the five power conferences for the 2014 season.

Case closed.

Actually, that's not true. It's not closed. It can get worse, starting this weekend.

With non-conference play winding down, four more Big Ten teams opened as underdogs this weekend – Indiana at Missouri; Iowa at Pittsburgh; Maryland at Syracuse and Rutgers at Navy.

For the record, that's not like playing Oregon, Notre Dame and Virginia Tech. Missouri is the only ranked team in the group.

I'm out of excuses. I'm finished defending. The league needs an off-season summit of all of its athletic directors to address the problems because its struggles are not going away.

TEAM RANKINGS (the floor is officially open for debate).

1.     (1) Vacant – What's the best way to stay ahead in the Big Ten? Schedule an off week. Ohio State follows that plan this weekend.

2.     (NR) Indiana soccer – Simply call it football. Europeans do. Talk about your eight NCAA titles. Hope nobody notices. Got a better idea?

3.     Nick Saban – Former Michigan State head coach. Current unbeaten Alabama head coach. Claim him as one of yours.

4.     Les Miles – Former Michigan lineman and assistant coach. Current unbeaten LSU head coach. Claim him, too. Twice, if you can.

5.     Kevin Sumlin – Former Purdue linebacker and assistant coach at Purdue and Minnesota. Current unbeaten Texas A&M head coach. He's as hot as any coach in the nation. Claim him – or offer him the Michigan job, the one that Miles has always resisted.

6.     Bob Stoops – Former Iowa defensive back and graduate assistant. Current unbeaten Oklahoma head coach. (Anybody see a pattern here of guys with major Big Ten ties fleeing the league to have success elsewhere? All four of these guys are currently in the Top 10.)

7.     Desmond Howard, Lee Corso, Kirk Herbstreit – The current headliners on ESPN's GameDay crew include a former Michigan receiver (Howard), former Indiana coach (Corso) and former Ohio State quarterback (Herbstreit).

8.     Gary Danielson – Former Purdue quarterback, current CBS analyst primarily on SEC telecasts with Verne Lundquist.

9.     Brent Musburger – Northwestern graduate, currently top play-by-play man on the SEC Network. (So media guys are abandoning the Big Ten for the SEC, too? I'm afraid so.)

10. (14-way tie) – Penn State, Nebraska, Michigan State, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Rutgers, Iowa, Maryland, Minnesota, Michigan, Northwestern, Illinois, Purdue, Indiana.

SOURCE: Dr. Bo's Vast Football Knowledge.

OFFENSIVE PLAYS PER GAME (Teams that are playing fast – or getting extra snaps in overtime games.)

1.     Indiana 82.5

2.     Northwestern 80.5

3.     Michigan State 78.5

4.     Iowa 76.3

5.     Purdue 75.3

6.     Nebraska 74.0

7.     Penn State 73.3

8.     Maryland 72.7

9.     Ohio State 70.3

10. Illinois 67.3

11. Wisconsin 65.5

12. Rutgers 64.0

13. Michigan 63.0

14. Minnesota 62.3

SOURCE: ncaa.stats.org

TURNOVER MARGIN (Teams that are winning the takeaway battle. Only two of 14 teams in the Big Ten? That explains part of the problem.)

1.     Michigan State, plus-0.5.

2.     Minnesota, plus-0.3

3.     Maryland, Ohio State, Wisconsin, 0.0

6. Penn State, Iowa, Nebraska, minus-0.3.

9. Indiana, Nebraska, minus-0.5

11. Rutgers, minus-0.67.

12. Illinois, Purdue, minus-1

14. Michigan, minus-2.3

SOURCE: cfbstats.com

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