Every Tuesday, we rank the SEC and Big Ten teams in one power poll.

This was one of the worst weeks in recent memory for the Big Ten. Ohio State and Michigan State, the conference’s best hopes for a College Football Playoff spot, lost non-conference games to Virginia Tech and Oregon.

Michigan got crushed in a high-profile game with Notre Dame, ending their annual series, at least for now.

Iowa, Nebraska and Illinois secured last-minute wins, but hardly avoided embarrassment.

Northwestern and Purdue lost to MAC teams, while even Western Illinois was able to corral Melvin Gordon as it chose to disregard the Badgers’ impotent passing game.

RELATED: SEC power rankings: Week 2

Meanwhile, the SEC demoralized its opponents, many of which were the weakest on the schedule all season.

Everyone, including Saturday Down South, has been quick to dismiss the Big Ten as a dead conference, at least for 2014. That may prove to be the case. (How huge does Braxton Miller’s injury look right now?)

But Michigan State could re-emerge as a true national contender. If the Spartans knock off Nebraska, Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State, they should enter the Big Ten Championship as a one-loss team. If that one loss is to the Pac-12 champion, on the road and early in the year, they’re in the discussion.

The Spartans still would need Florida State to lose, maybe more than once, and likely would need the Baylor-Oklahoma winner to lose to someone else as well.

Beyond that, the Big Ten is in trouble, as it seems beyond realistic to expect Ohio State and Wisconsin to win out with their quarterback situations.

Right now, there are four SEC teams clearly ahead of Michigan State, and LSU has a good argument as well. Wisconsin and Ohio State are the only other Big Ten teams in the Top 10 between the two conferences.

The Big Ten also claims three of the four worst teams between the two conferences, but Vanderbilt represents the SEC in that mix.


All SEC, all the time here. The Big Ten has no logical argument that it’s anywhere close to the SEC on the football field this season, and that won’t change no matter what happens between now and January.

1. Georgia
2. Alabama
3. Auburn
4. Texas A&M


5. Michigan State
6. LSU


Wisconsin’s running game and Ole Miss’ defensive front are elite units. Both teams have playmakers elsewhere as well. But there are too many holes and inconsistencies overall by these two programs right now.

7. Wisconsin
8. Ole Miss


Ohio State lost. We don’t yet know what Florida is going to be. Mississippi State’s defense looked shaky against UAB and Nebraska struggled against McNeese State. But they all have the talent to put things together in the next few weeks and finish with a darn good 2014.

9. Ohio State
10. Florida
11. Mississippi State
12. Nebraska


Penn State may be bowl eligible this season thanks to an out-of-nowhere Monday lift of the post-Jerry Sandusky sanctions, but James Franklin’s team doesn’t have enough depth to compete for a Big Ten title yet. South Carolina and Missouri are reloading and could compete in the SEC East this year, but should get better in 2015.

13. Penn State
14. Missouri
15. South Carolina
16. Iowa


Rutgers is a surprise 2-0, while Brady Hoke is on his way to unemployment. Mark Stoops has the Kentucky fan base buzzing. And Jerry Kill quietly has turned the Gophers into an eight-win program.

17. Rutgers
18. Michigan
19. Kentucky
20. Minnesota


These teams may struggle to get to six wins after garnering some hope for the fan base during the non-conference schedule.

21. Tennessee
22. Maryland
23. Arkansas
24. Indiana


If you watch one of these teams play, you’re either a fan or you’re celebrating a win by your favorite program. There are no other valid excuses.

25. Illinois
26. Northwestern
27. Purdue
28. Vanderbilt