Looking through Sagarin's rankings to get any insights into the coming match-ups, I noticed something interesting about SoS of BigTen teams. Several BigTen teams have really abysmal SoS and that may be making them look better than they are. Cases in point (figures in parantheses are the current SoS ranking followed by current national rank) :
OSU (118, 6): Easily the worst SoS in top 20. It has been easy for them to win against easy competition - will they be able to elevate their game agaist sterner tests?
Iowa (128, 27): Second worst SoS in top 30 after Nebraska. I am picking Iowa for this year's second most disappointing team compared to pre-season expectations. The first choice is of course Penn State.
Wisconsin (133, 31): Second worst SoS for FBS teams in top 40 after Nebraska. Although has had trouble putting away teams (except the last one) convincingly - it is also their style. The low variance run oriented approach fives you Ws without too much drama. So I expect them to rise up to stronger schedule coming up.
MSU (157, 41): Worst SoS among all top 50 teams. I doubt they will hold up to better scrutiny. I bet they will fold against Wisconsin this Sat because like last year, they will be totally working for next week's Michigan game. Sparty does not mind a loss if it gives them the Michigan win.
Indiana (200, 85): Worst SoS among all top 100 teams. I think their 3-0 is a product of the ridiculous schedule. Their defense will soon get exposed and their high variance pass oriented offense will stall enough for not being able to make up for the defense's shortcomings.
The four teams above are notable for having the worst SoS in the country for their national rank. I had some idea that Big Ten's SoS is weak but I had not thought it to be this bad.
Michigan's (77, 26) has had a decent scheule for its rank. Penn State has a better SoS at 66 because of the Alabama game but since they lost that game convincingly, I don't think the current rank of 22 is justified for them. Illinois (113, 61) seems to have an okay SoS for its rank.
Well - what I am concluding from the above is that we have a decent shot against even apparently well ranked teams like OSU, Iowa and Wisconsin - and surely a very very good shot against teams that have hardly played anybody like Indiana and MSU. I am a little more calm in my head for next two weeks after looking through the data. Of course, the next two weeks of Big Ten matchups will give us much more information to have a better idea about Big Ten teams.
Sagarin's rankings are available here: http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbt10.htm?loc=interstitialskip
PS> My very first diary. Yay!