Rank the teams in the Big Ten West Heading into Conference Season

MNVCGUY

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The non-conf season is basically over (a few teams still have a non-conf game to play) so seemed like a good time to take stock of where the teams in the West stand heading into conference play. For what it is worth here is my take:

1. Minnesota - Has yet to play a good team but has completely dominated the 3 bad teams it has played to this point which is what good teams do. Bell injury is a bit of a buzz kill but there is some depth at WR. Most importantly it appears that Mo, Potts, and Williams are all back at 100% following their season ending injuries last year which give the Gophers an extremely formidable backfield for teams to contend with. Combined with an OC who understands how to attack defenses and a defense that looks very strong, the Gophers are the easy pick for the top team in the West right now.

2. Wisconsin - I struggled a little bit with Wisconsin or Purdue in the 2 spot but will give the nod to the Badgers. Defense does not appear to be as dominant as last year and the home loss to Washington State was a shocker. Mertz is playing a little better but Allen does not seem as explosive as last year. Badgers look solid but not spectacular.

3. Purdue - Tough team to get a handle on. They clearly have some talent but can't seem to get out of their own way. And most importantly, they can't run the football. Hard fought loss at home against what looks like a very good Penn State team and then they melted down with penalties to give Syracuse the yardage it needed to get the game winning score last week. Their schedule is favorable but feels like a team that will find a way to beat itself.

4. Illinois - Going to give them the slight nod over Iowa for the #4 spot. They have some weapons on offense but they just don't feel like a contender at this point. Bielema does seem to have them moving in the right direction. Will be an interesting team to watch as conference play kicks into high gear.

5. Iowa - Defense looks very strong, Special Teams (especially the punter) look amazing, Offense.....yeah, not so much. Scary putting them this low but with the schedule they have and how their already weak offense from last year appears to have actually gotten worse, I just don't think the Hawkeyes are going to be in the mix for the West this year.

6. Northwestern - They have won one game and that is over the team that comes next. Will be shocked if they are in the mix for the West this year even though it is an even year and that usually means they contend lately. Just looks like a bad team....but not as bad as.....

7. Nebraska - Head coach has been fired, DC has been fired, and my guess is the wheels will come totally off in Nebraska following the Oklahoma loss. They still have some playmakers but this team is a complete train wreck right now and is the easy pick for #7 in the West.

Agree/Disagree.....scared to feel confident? What read to others have on the West as we get ready to get fully into conference play?
 

Triple D

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Agree with the list but this week will be a big week to evaluate, if we beat Michigan State and Wisconsin gets blown out by Ohio State we’ll know.
 

MNVCGUY

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Agree with the list but this week will be a big week to evaluate, if we beat Michigan State and Wisconsin gets blown out by Ohio State we’ll know.
Yep, I am sure things will change some as the season goes on. Right now though we are in a great spot and are one of the only teams in the West without major question marks/concerns right now.
 

Stan

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Through the non-conference games I would agree with this. I can see Illinois jumping Purdue or they could fall to 6th.
 

JayBobDobbins

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Looks like a good list to me also. The Gophers game this weekend will be a great test to see where they're at. They played 3 crappy teams, but blew them out which was exactly what they were supposed to do. So I think they're the only team in the West who did exactly what they should have. I think they're the leaders for the west title. I'm not sure Ohio State pounding Wisconsin will tell much about either team since Ohio State will likely pound all the west teams. I'm really sick of Ohio State. :)
 


MNVCGUY

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Through the non-conference games I would agree with this. I can see Illinois jumping Purdue or they could fall to 6th.
Illinois is probably the toughest team to get a read on right now in the West. They have a layup non-conf game this week then play Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota in the 3 weeks after that so will know what they are all about soon enough.
 

cjbfbp

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Agree with the list but this week will be a big week to evaluate, if we beat Michigan State and Wisconsin gets blown out by Ohio State we’ll know.

Beating Michigan State on the road definitely should make us feel better about our chances this season. I'm not confident that OSU blowing out Wisconsin precludes Wisconsin from beating us. Lots of teams get blown out by OSU and still have good seasons.
 


cjbfbp

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1. Minnesota
2. wisconsin
3-5. Iowa, Illinois, Purdue (pretty much interchangeable)
6. Northwestern
7. Nebraska

I like your 3-5. I agree that we really don't know how good or bad those teams are yet and in what order they will finish but they look likely to be occupying those spaces at this point.
 




Some guy

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Illinois is probably the toughest team to get a read on right now in the West. They have a layup non-conf game this week then play Wisconsin, Iowa and Minnesota in the 3 weeks after that so will know what they are all about soon enough.
Illinois is the EASIEST team of the top 5 to get a read on. They lost to Indiana.

They’re competitive but not good.
 


MNVCGUY

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Illinois is the EASIEST team of the top 5 to get a read on. They lost to Indiana.

They’re competitive but not good.
Maybe, but first games are weird and they had the lead on the road up to the final drive when Indiana went 75 yards for the game winning TD.

Don't think Indiana is anything special but they do seem a little better than last year.

I don't feel like Illinois is a contender but don't think they will be an easy out most weekends either.
 





MNVCGUY

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I think Nebraska is better than Northwestern even after losing to them.

Really good list and I appreciate your weekly write-ups.
Thanks

As for Nebraska and Northwestern both look really bad this year. I would say Nebraska has significantly more talent than Northwestern but Northwestern is much better coached. If they played 10 times they would probably split. Thankfully nobody has to be subjected to that kind of torture....tough enough to watch them against other teams.
 

cjbfbp

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Maybe, but first games are weird and they had the lead on the road up to the final drive when Indiana went 75 yards for the game winning TD.

Don't think Indiana is anything special but they do seem a little better than last year.

I don't feel like Illinois is a contender but don't think they will be an easy out most weekends either.

I'm confident in saying that Indiana is far more special this season than Bowling Green was last year but we lost to the latter and still won 9 games.
 

Triple D

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Beating Michigan State on the road definitely should make us feel better about our chances this season. I'm not confident that OSU blowing out Wisconsin precludes Wisconsin from beating us. Lots of teams get blown out by OSU and still have good seasons.
I’m basing my reasoning for how tough we played Ohio State last year until Mo went down, but realize it’s a new year
 


Some guy

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I'm sure a lot of people around the league last year said the same thing about us after we lost to Bowling Green but we ended the season with 9 wins.
Competitive but not a contender would have been an accurate assessment for a team that wasn’t controlling their own destiny for most of the season
 

PoockItInfor6

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It’s funny, because other than Northwestern (best case they finish 6th), Nebraska (best case 3rd), Wisconsin (worst case 5th, and Minnesota (worst case 3rd), it’s still feasible for any other team to finish in any spot as far as I’m concerned.
 

PoockItInfor6

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It’s funny, because other than Northwestern (best case they finish 6th), Nebraska (best case 3rd), Wisconsin (worst case 5th, and Minnesota (worst case 3rd), it’s still feasible for any other team to finish in any spot as far as I’m concerned.
That said I agree with OP. The margins just aren’t that wide (post CRAB Injury news).
 

Some guy

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It’s funny, because other than Northwestern (best case they finish 6th), Nebraska (best case 3rd), Wisconsin (worst case 5th, and Minnesota (worst case 3rd), it’s still feasible for any other team to finish in any spot as far as I’m concerned.
You think northwestern’s best case is lower than nevraska’s

Nebraska already lost to the worst team in the conference. If they lose this week they’re staring at 1-11. They’re awful on both lines and in the back 7 on defense.

How many drugs are you smoking?
 


PoockItInfor6

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You think northwestern’s best case is lower than nevraska’s

How many drugs are you smoking?
They’d need something to galvanize their talent… but they are capable of beating decent teams (not saying the will). NW just doesn’t have the talent… I think MN/IA/WI could all play their D game and still beat NW with some comfort.
 

Some guy

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They’d need something to galvanize their talent… but they are capable of beating decent teams (not saying the will). NW just doesn’t have the talent… I think MN/IA/WI could all play their D game and still beat NW with some comfort.
They are not capable of beating decent teams and have shown that by not beating decent teams or even bad teams 5 consecutive years.

Having a bunch of 4 star skill guys that all play the same positions and all didn’t pan out doesn’t mean you are talented
 

PoockItInfor6

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They are not capable of beating decent teams and have shown that by not beating decent teams or even bad teams 5 consecutive years.

Having a bunch of 4 star skill guys that all play the same positions and all didn’t pan out doesn’t mean you are talented
I’m not picking this hill to die on, just my opinion! 😂😂
 

Otis

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B1G rankings
1. tOSU
2. Michigan
3. PSU - took Gophers spot with Auburn beat-down
4. Gophers
5. MSU
6. Wisconsin
7. Maryland
8. Purdue
9. Indiana
10. Illinois
11. Iowa
12. Rutgers
13. Northwestern
14. Nebraska

That’s pretty ugly for the B1G West! Gophers have a tough game but i feel it is very winnable and we should be favored. Whisky will lose to the Buckeyes. Iowa could very easily lose at Rutgers. These three results would leave the Gophers tied with NW at 1-0 for the B1G west lead.
 

Gophergrandpa

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I think that because Nebraska is now free of Frost’s laziness and toxicity, and just yesterday fired the worst DC in the B1G, it has a chance over the course of the season to begin utilizing its talent to move to the middle of the West pack. No. 7 now, yes, but it will be a few spots higher by season’s end.
 

MaxyJR1

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Illinois is the EASIEST team of the top 5 to get a read on. They lost to Indiana.

They’re competitive but not good.
I just think that MN is the most balanced, well-rounded team in the West.

I don't see anyone other than MN/WI playing in Indy.
 




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