Nebraska football is middle of the pack in season’s first Big Ten Power Rankings

(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images) /
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The Nebraska football team finds itself pretty far from the top of the list in this season’s first Big Ten Power rankings on Husker Corner.

It’s that time of year again. It’s time to take a look at how the Big Ten, and most importantly the Nebraska football team shapes up when it comes to Power Rankings.

At Husker Corner, we’ll be doing this after each week of the regular season. This, of course, is the very first. A kind of preseason ranking.

Fair warning that the Huskers aren’t really anywhere near the top yet, considering we already predicted they’ll go 8-4 at best. Check out where they rank and where the rest of the Big Ten ranks in the inaugural 2018 Big Ten Power Ranking starting with the bottom tier

The Illinois Fighting Illini are the worst team in the Big Ten. It’s not really close.

How bad are they? Even the Nebraska football team were able to beat them a year ago.

Lovie Smith is supposedly making some progress, but he’s also still looking for a quarterback. The team has more talent than it has since he got there. That doesn’t necessarily mean they’re going to be very good at all.

Last season the team had the 127th best overall offense and the 86th best total defense. They were also 106th in the country in turnover margin. Illinois wasn’t good in 2017 and they likely won’t be good in 2018.

Coming of a 4-8 season, there was a time when the Maryland Terapins might have been one of the sleepers of the Big Ten. This spring, a Terp player died in a way that was entirely avoidable.

Now Maryland head coach DJ Durkin is on administrative leave. It doesn’t appear he’s going to have a job for very much longer.

That’s bad enough news. The fact that Maryland has to face off against Michigan, Iowa, Michigan State, Ohio State and Penn State is even worse news for Terp fans. It’s too bad the Nebraska football team won’t get to face them.

There may not be a team in the Big Ten that benefits more from Maryland’s struggles and poor head coach. Rutgers finished last season with the 129th ranked total offense.

There is some reason to hope Chris Ash is finally going to get the program turned around, at least a little bit. The problem is that the Scarlet Knights play in the Big Ten East.

When you have to face off against Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Penn State every year, it’s hard to make much of a move in the standings.

The other spot of good news is that Rutgers doesn’t have a real tough non-conference. In fact, with Kansas, Texas State and Buffalo, 3-0 in those games is expected. The also get to play Maryland and Illinois so we’ll see if they manage to stay ahead of those two teams as the season goes on.

Of all the teams on the bottom rung, Minnesota might have the best chance of making some noise. PJ Fleck has had success wherever he’s been.

Last season his offense held back a team that actually had an incredibly stout defense. The problem is they haven’t really settled on a quarterback this year and even when they do, it’s not going to be a guy that’s got experience playing in college football.

Perhaps some good news is that they don’t have the easiest schedule in the Big Ten, but it’s also not the toughest. If they can get a passing game, they could move up a couple of rungs.