By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Needless to say, 2020 has been a strange and surreal year, and that includes sports.
For proof, just look at my latest Big Ten football power rankings. The list starts with a blue blood program and ends with a blue blood program.
After an 0-2 start, Iowa has won back-to-back games by a combined 70 points, and also has moved up one spot in the rankings.
Iowa pounded Minnesota 35-7 this past Friday in Minneapolis, pushing its winning streak to six games against the Gophers.
The Hawkeyes will try to make it three consecutive wins when they play at winless Penn State on Saturday.
And speaking of Penn State, you’ll have to scroll way down in the rankings to find James Franklin’s struggling team.
- Ohio State, 3-0 – I gave serious consideration to ranking Ohio State’s second-team ahead of the seven teams in the conference with losing records.
2. Indiana, 4-0 – Hoosier fans would normally be counting the days until basketball season starts, but now they’re counting the hours until Saturday’s showdown with the Buckeyes.
3. Northwestern, 4-0 – The Wildcats move another step closer to being mauled by Ohio State in the Big Ten title game.
4. Wisconsin, 2-0 – Barry Alvarez was so impressed with Wisconsin’s dominance against Michigan that he might actually let Paul Chryst think for himself this week.
5. Purdue, 2-1 – Purdue without Rondale Moore is sort of like the Andy Griffith Show without Barney Fife.
6. Iowa, 2-2 – I had to call three timeouts before finally deciding where to rank the surging Hawkeyes.
7. Maryland, 2-1 – The Terrapins had to cancel this past Saturday’s game against Ohio State due to COVID-19 issues, which means the Buckeyes faced better competition just by practicing over the weekend.
8. Nebraska, 1-2 – Scott Frost now has 10 wins as the Nebraska head coach, and his cult-like fan base couldn’t care less that it took 27 games dating back to 2018 to reach that milestone.
9. Michigan, 1-3 – Ann Arbor, we have a problem.
10. Minnesota, 1-3 – It’s hard to row in a boat that’s sinking.
11. Illinois, 1-3 – This past Saturday’s victory at Rutgers was Illinois’ first win since becoming bowl eligible in the 10th game of last season.
12. Rutgers, 1-3 – The Scarlet Knights have now lost three games in a row, so 2020 is getting back to normal in some cases.
13. Michigan State, 1-3 – Even Todd Lickliter would be frustrated with Michigan State’s inability to score points on offense.
14. Penn State, 0-4 – The Nittany Lions are just the fourth team to start 0-4 after being ranked in the preseason AP Top 10, and the first since Pittsburgh in 1984.