As we all know, every single week we need some way to figure out what’s going on in college football. It’s how we create content, baby. With that in mind, here is the Daily Cardinal’s super serious and ironclad power rankings after week one.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes. Sure, Urban Meyer is gone, but guess what — Justin Fields is there. And the kid is pretty good. The former blue-chip UGA quarterback, who was rarely seen on the field except during a dreadful fake punt attempt in the SEC Championship game against Alabama, showed out in his first game in the scarlet and gray, scoring four total times and running the offense in a 45-21 win over FAU. After winning the NCAA transfer roulette, the Buckeyes are surely happy to see Fields play so well in the opener, and there’s no reason to think they aren’t the favorite in the Big Ten.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions. Kicked Idaho’s butts 79-7 which is great because that’s a big scoreline and their running game had a massive seven rushing touchdowns, but it was also rude because Idaho is a crucial state in the union. If not for Idaho, we might not have our beloved potatoes, and without that, we wouldn’t have fries or hash browns. Luckily for Penn State, that shouldn’t affect the potato industry, and they seem like they had fun in their first game.
3. Michigan Wolverines. Under new offensive coordinator Josh Gattis and the spread offense, the Wolverines took down Middle Tennessee 40-21. Army should provide them a tough-test, but it should come as no surprise to see Michigan near the top of the power rankings. As any fan will tell you, they are a prestigious university with a storied history in football, even if they haven’t won a Big Ten title since 2004.
4. Wisconsin Badgers. Jonathan Taylor did normal Jonathan Taylor things, rushing for 135 yards and two touchdowns while adding two receiving touchdowns for good measure. More importantly, quarterback Jack Coan looked poised, throwing for 199 yards and two touchdowns.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes. They’ve won four straight since the end of last year, and now face a whole bunch of bad teams in a row. Hawkeye fans will rejoice while they steadily climb the rankings before they get put back into their place by Michigan and Penn State in weeks five and six.
6. Michigan State Spartans. The Spartans were bad last year, but they have a great coaching staff which always puts them in the mix. Quarterback Zach Smith looked “ehh” in the opener, but strong running is Michigan State’s bread and butter anyway.
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights. Folks, Rutgers won a game. Shooting up the rankings. Buzzing for the lads.
8. Illinois Illini. Folks, Illinois won a game. They’re getting too good at football. (Just let Illinois and Rutgers enjoy the high for right now people. They’ll drop soon).
9. Minnesota Gophers. I don’t like gophers, not really sure who does. Weird little ground critters. I much prefer Badgers.
10. Indiana Hoosiers. Indiana is our sleeper, they’ve slowly improved for each of the last three years, and have a promising young quarterback and running back. They’re getting thrown straight into the fire though, when they’ll host Ohio State in Week 3.
11. Nebraska Cornhuskers. Scott Frost, you sly dog. I see your plan. You get those high expectations, then have a clunker in the opener so we’re off your scent as a “good” team. 35-21 against South Alabama. Needing three non-offensive touchdowns to win. We’ll be watching.
12. Maryland Terrapins. They beat FCS Howard, by like a lot. It looked impressive. They might even be higher on this list if we here at the Daily Cardinal endorsed not giving water breaks. We'll see if they can gain our trust back later this year.
13. Purdue Boilermakers. Purdue lost, but they also let a kid have a scholarship because he hit a 56-yard field goal against them to win. Good job, Jeff Brohm, for being more player-friendly than most the NCAA.
14. Northwestern Wildcats. Not only did they lose to Stanford last weekend, but their head coach Pat Fitzgerald is anti-union and anti-millennial, and the Daily Cardinal Sports Desk does not endorse those positions.
—These rankings were debated over, lauded over and written about by sports editors Nathan Denzin and Jared Schwartz and senior writer Bremen Keasey