The Big 10 Shakes up Rankings

By Thomas Burton

This past weekend, The Big Ten returned to college football with dominant performances from the “blue bloods” in the conference and shocking upset in the conference’s return. Ohio State came out and showed why they are at the top of the conference and are in the hunt to compete for a national title, with a dominating performance defeating Nebraska 52-17 with a near-perfect performance from their leader and potential Heisman candidate, Quarterback Justin Fields. He was 20-21 with 276 yards and two touchdowns through the air, with 15 carries for 54 yards and a touchdown on the ground. Another top team was not so dominant, and that was the number eight ranked Penn State Nittany Lions, who were upset by the unranked Indiana Hoosiers. The Hoosiers won on a final drive led by their Quarterback Michel Penix Jr. who scored the controversial two-point conversion to win the game. Penix Jr. finished the game 19-36 for 170 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Penn State now falls to the number eighteen ranked team in the country as Indiana is now the number seventeen ranked team after their victory.  The Big Ten’s return complicates the college football playoff landscape because the Big Ten has no room for error with eight straight regular season games. Conference play started later than the other power five conferences which may complicate the committee’s selection process because other teams like number 1 Clemson Tigers, and number 4 Notre Dame have already played multiple games. How will the committee handle selecting the top four teams with categories that they have considered in the past like strength of schedule and signature wins? This bodes well for the Big Ten because the conference has shown the ability to be competitive from top to bottom. This may create a platform for the teams like Ohio State because they may have signature wins in close, competitive games. Also, it will show that the schedule was more difficult in the conference than other top teams around the country in other conferences like the SEC or ACC, where there is not any competition for teams like the Clemson Tigers or Alabama Crimson Tide. If Ohio State would lose a game in conference, I believe that Ohio State would still be one of the best teams in the country due to the competition in conference. This college football season may have the most drama when selecting the college football playoff teams, and will this create changes in the future of the criteria used to select the teams for the college football playoffs? We will have to wait and see.