As the second full week of the season has come and gone, a lot of uncertainty remains with just how good several of the Big Ten’s teams actually are.
While Ohio State has certainly distanced themselves as the cream of the crop, the rest of the conference is in a state of limbo, with many of the teams on a similar playing field of talent and coaching.
With Big Ten play on the horizon, here’s a look at some of the storylines worth monitoring around the conference as the week unfolds
Not a pretty week for Michigan
In what turned into one of the biggest stories of a jam-packed college football Saturday, then-No. 7 Michigan found itself in a battle with Army.
The Wolverines were 22-point favorites coming into the contest, but the Black Knights did not back down from the challenge of playing in the “Big House”. Shea Patterson struggled and Michigan’s defense had trouble with the triple option attack from Army, with the Black Knights fighting tooth-and-nail with the home side throughout regulation time.
The Black Knights actually had a chance to win the game, but the visitors missed a field goal as time expired, sending the game to overtime.
In the extra session, both teams scored touchdowns to keep the game going. The second overtime session saw the Wolverines score a touchdown to open the period, before forcing, and recovering an Army fumble to end the game and narrowly escape an upset bid.
Michigan’s national perception certainly took a hit after this week’s effort. The Wolverines are off this week before they will travel to Madison for a date with the Badgers next Saturday.
Terrapins on the rise, while Nebraska stumbles
One program that has impressed in the first two weeks of the season has been No. 20 Maryland.
After a 79-0 drubbing of Howard in their opening game, the Terps put up 63 on then-No. 23 Syracuse, including 42 points in the first half.
In what was one of the more impressive showings of the weekend, Maryland has vaulted itself into the Big Ten conversation with this performance. The Terrapins will host Penn State on Sept. 27.
On the other side of the coin, Nebraska was far less fortunate.
The Cornhuskers came into the season with plenty of hype behind quarterback Adrian Martinez and co. However, Nebraska was unable to prevail in its first nonconference test of the season, falling at Colorado 34-31 in an overtime thriller.
The Cornhuskers blew multiple leads and surrendered 24 points to the Buffalos in the fourth quarter on their way to a disappointing overtime defeat.
Now, Nebraska has a couple of weeks to regain its footing before Ohio State comes to Lincoln at the end of the month.
In the Polls
The latest installment of the AP Poll was released on Sunday, and the Big Ten saw seven teams ranked in the Top 25 for the third consecutive week.
Penn State vaulted up to No. 13 after its victory over Buffalo, while Ohio State and Michigan fell to No. 6 and No. 10 respectively, despite starting the season 2-0.
Wisconsin moved up three spots to No. 14 after its second straight emphatic victory, while Iowa and Michigan State moved up one spot apiece after convincing victories in their respective games.
Rounding out the Big Ten’s involvement in the Top 25 was Maryland. The Terps got into the rankings following their rout of Syracuse, replacing Nebraska, who the only Big Ten team to drop out of the rankings.
While the conference should cannibalize each other in the coming weeks, the chance to impress out of conference is still at large for most of these programs.