1. OHIO STATE (2-0)
Previous: 1. Last week: W 42-0 vs. Cincinnati.
The No. 6 Buckeyes rolled again, shutting out in-state foe Cincinnati and outgaining the Bearcats 508 yards to 273. Ryan Day’s team showed offensive balance and racked up five sacks. OSU begins Big Ten play this weekend with a trip to Indiana.
2. PENN STATE (2-0)
Previous: 3. Last week: W 45-13 vs. Buffalo.
Sean Clifford passed for 279 yards and four scores, and rushed for 51 more yards as the No. 13 Nittany Lions eventually rolled for the second straight week. It was not nearly as easy in Week 2, though, as PSU trailed 10-7 at halftime and was actually outgained 429-357 by Buffalo. Still, James Franklin’s team is 2-0 and closes its nonconference slate this weekend against Pitt.
3. MICHIGAN (2-0)
Previous: 2. Last week: W 24-21 2OT vs. Army.
The No. 10 Wolverines barely escaped with a double-overtime win against visiting Army. Barely. The Knights missed a field goal at the end of regulation that would have won it. UM held Army to 243 yards but rushed for just 108 on 45 attempts and nearly lost on its home turf, which would surely have ruined any College Football Playoff aspirations for Jim Harbaugh’s team. A bye week is next before a major early-season showdown at Wisconsin. Michigan doesn’t tumble far in these rankings, but needs to play better quickly.
4. WISCONSIN (2-0)
Previous: 4. Last week: W 61-0 vs. Central Michigan.
The No. 14 Badgers dominated for the second straight week and have now outscored their first two opponents 110-0. Jack Coan had the biggest day of his career, throwing for 363 yards and three scores. Star tailback Jonathan Taylor had four total touchdowns — he has eight through two games — and recently reinstated wide receiver Quintez Cephus had six catches for 130 and two scores. UW has a week off, then hosts Michigan in a major early-season game in Madison.
5. IOWA (2-0, 1-0)
Previous: 5. Last week: W 30-0 vs. Rutgers.
The No. 19 Hawkeyes put an early league win on the board by shutting out the Scarlet Knights in Iowa City. Nate Stanley threw three touchdown passes and Rutgers managed just 125 total yards — 41 passing — in the lopsided contest. Iowa has a big one this weekend as they visit in-state rival Iowa State, where ESPN’s "College Gameday" will be setting up shop.
6. MARYLAND (2-0)
Previous: 9. Last week: W 63-20 vs. Syracuse.
The No. 21 Terps put together the most impressive performance of the week, beating a ranked Syracuse team by six scores. Mike Locksley’s offense is off to a white-hot start, racking up 142 points in two weeks. Maryland now makes a short trip to Temple this weekend.
7. MICHIGAN STATE (2-0)
Previous: 6. Last week: W 51-17 vs. Western Michigan.
Quarterback Brian Lewerke returned to form for the No. 18 Spartans, throwing for 314 yards and three touchdowns against Western Michigan. If MSU can score, it will be dangerous in the East. Freshman back Elijah Collins rushed 17 times for 192 yards for the Spartans. Next up is a home date against Arizona State.
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8. MINNESOTA (2-0)
Previous: 8. Last week: W 38-35 2OT at Fresno State.
The Gophers are two-for-two in heart-stoppers so far this year. They needed a last-second touchdown catch on fourth-and-13 from Rashod Bateman just to force overtime, then got an interception from Antoine Winfield to seal the win in double overtime. P.J. Fleck might have some gray hairs, but Minnesota is 2-0. The Gophers next host Georgia Southern on Saturday.
9. PURDUE (1-1)
Previous: 10. Last week: W 42-24 vs. Vanderbilt.
Elijah Sindelar threw for a whopping 509 yards, 220 of which went to star sophomore Rondale Moore on 13 grabs. That’s a good bounce-back for the Boilermakers, who blew a big lead last weekend at Nevada. Purdue’s intriguing nonconference slate continues this weekend with a home night game against TCU.
10. NEBRASKA (1-1)
Previous: 7. Last week: L 34-31 OT at Colorado.
The Huskers dominated at Colorado for a half but folded late. NU hasn’t started 2-0 since 2016 and now will have to try to bounce back against a tough Northern Illinois team at Memorial Stadium. A win would have marked a major shot of momentum for NU, but instead there are more questions than answers in Scott Frost’s program.
11. NORTHWESTERN (0-1)
Previous: 11. Last week: No game.
The Wildcats were off after a lackluster opener against Stanford. Pat Fitzgerald’s team will try to get on track offensively Saturday against UNLV at home.
12. INDIANA (2-0)
Previous: 12. Last week: W 52-0 vs. Eastern Illinois.
Indiana cruised over an FCS opponent and got good performances from both Michael Penix (197 passing yards and two TDs) and Payton Ramsey (226 and two TDs). The Hoosiers have a big ol’ challenge this weekend when they host Ohio State to open league play.
13. ILLINOIS (2-0)
Previous: 13. Last week: W 31-23 at UConn.
Illinois squeaked out a home win against UConn after trailing 10-0 in the first quarter. Brandon Peters threw four touchdowns and UI scored 24 points in the second quarter to regain control. The Illini host Eastern Michigan this weekend and then open Big Ten play by hosting Nebraska on Sept. 21.
14. RUTGERS (1-1, 0-1)
Previous: 14. Last week: L 30-0 at Iowa.
The Scarlet Knights' young quarterbacks combined to go 9-of-26 for 41 yards and two interceptions in a shutout loss at Iowa to open Big Ten play. It’s already shaping up to be another long year in New Jersey unless something changes radically on offense for Chris Ash’s program. Rutgers is off this week before a rugged stretch that includes Boston College, Michigan and Maryland in consecutive weeks.