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Sam McKewon's Big Ten football power rankings, Week One

Sam McKewon's Big Ten football power rankings, Week One

Nebraska was among the most vocal programs in the country speaking in favor of playing this season.

The World-Herald's Sam McKewon compiled his Big Ten football power rankings entering Week One of the season.

* * *

1. Ohio State

This week: vs. Nebraska, 11 a.m., Fox

The Buckeyes believe they have a College Football Playoff team and Heisman Trophy quarterback. They won’t show much mercy in an eight-game slate, but NU might get a little.

2. Penn State

This week: at Indiana, 2:30 p.m., FS1

James Franklin will have his team ready for the trip to Bloomington. His defense will have its hands full, though.

3. Wisconsin

This week: vs. Illinois, 7 p.m. Friday, BTN

The Badgers’ offense has to be good around redshirt freshman quarterback Graham Mertz.

4. Minnesota

This week: vs. Michigan, 6:30 p.m., ABC

The media are all-in on P.J. Fleck as “College GameDay” visits Minneapolis on Saturday. We’ll see.

5. Michigan

This week: at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., ABC

Jim Harbaugh is taking quite a bit of heat from the media to start 2020. C’mon, people. It’s a pandemic.

6. Iowa

This week: at Purdue, 2:30 p.m., BTN

The Hawkeyes have been rocked again by allegations of racial discrimination, this time in the form of a $20 million lawsuit brought by former players.

7. Indiana

This week: vs. Penn State, 2:30 p.m., FS1

IU isn’t going to win the Big Ten East, but a 6-2 regular season isn’t out of the question, especially if the Hoosiers upset the Nittany Lions.

8. Purdue

This week: vs. Iowa, 2:30 p.m., BTN

The Boilermakers have three quarterbacks who could start, and may play two. More to the point: They have Rondale Moore back.

9. Nebraska

This week: at Ohio State, 11 a.m., Fox

NU gets a brutal draw to open the season. Don’t take too much from it. The Huskers’ offense should hum pretty well this season.

10. Northwestern

This week: vs. Maryland, 6:30 p.m., BTN

The Wildcats’ four COVID-19 opt-outs hurt them. And while Northwestern has a new, solid starting quarterback in Peyton Ramsey, he’s not throwing to Indiana’s receivers and tight ends anymore.

11. Illinois

This week: at Wisconsin, 7 p.m. Friday, BTN

The Illini have flown under the radar all offseason. If they’re the weakest Big Ten West team, it won’t be by much.

12. Michigan State

This week: vs. Rutgers, 11 a.m., BTN

Mark Dantonio’s style had clearly grown stale in East Lansing. Mel Tucker will loosen up a tightly wound team, but the quarterback Sparty needs may not be in the building.

13. Rutgers

This week: at Michigan State, 11 a.m., BTN

The rebuild begins under Greg Schiano. It’ll take a few years, but the Scarlet Knights will get bigger and more physical as time progresses.

14. Maryland

This week: at Northwestern, 6:30 p.m., BTN

The Terps are probably a year away. Lots of young talent — emphasis on young — that needs shaping from Mike Locksley. This season could be a little rough.

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