Big Ten football notebook: Week 1 upsets lead to AP Poll reshuffling

Ahead of Week 2 of the college football season, The Daily Iowan examines the latest Big Ten Conference storylines.


Jerod Ringwald

Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck answers questions during day one of Big Ten Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on Thursday, July 22.

Chloe Peterson, Assistant Sports Editor

On Tuesday, the Associated Press updated its top 25 poll in preparation for Week 2 of the college football season. Four Big Ten teams are ranked in the top 25 this week.

Previously ranked 17th, Indiana football dropped out of the AP Top 25 following its season-opening loss to then-No. 18 Iowa at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City Saturday.

Iowa jumped up eight spots in the AP Poll ahead of its annual Cy-Hawk matchup with No. 9 Iowa State. The Hawkeyes slid into the No. 10 spot in the latest rankings.

Week 1’s other matchup between ranked Big Ten teams came at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wisconsin. Then-No. 19 Penn State defeated then-No. 12 Wisconsin, 16-10, Saturday.

The Nittany Lions intercepted two of Wisconsin quarterback Graham Mertz’s passes in the last three minutes of the game.

In this week’s rankings, Penn State came in at No. 11. The Nittany Lions will take on Ball State this weekend as part of their nonconference slate.

Wisconsin dropped six spots to No. 18. The Badgers will play Mid-American Conference opponent Eastern Michigan in Madison this weekend.

Last week, then-No. 4 Ohio State earned a victory over Minnesota, 45-31. The Buckeyes moved up one spot in the AP Poll this week, coming in at No. 3 in the nation.

Minnesota running back Mohamed Ibrahim out for season

Minnesota senior running back Mohamed Ibrahim, the reigning Big Ten Running Back of the Year, sustained a season-ending injury in the Gophers’ Week 1 loss to Ohio State. 

In the Gophers’ season-opener, the preseason second-team All-American rushed for 163 yards and notched two touchdowns before injuring his leg trying to escape a tackle at the end of the third quarter.

The fifth-year senior is undergoing surgery Tuesday to repair a left lower leg injury. His recovery is estimated to be four to six months.

“This isn’t like you can just say, ‘OK, we’ll just put the next guy in.’ You can’t do that,” Minnesota head coach P.J. Fleck told reporters Monday. “He’s such a special player, and I think he’s the best back in the country for a lot of reasons. One of the biggest reasons is he’s an unbelievable person, the hardest worker on this team, the heartbeat of the team … But it’s football. You can’t control the injuries when you get onto the field and you’re playing in games.”

Ibrahim will be eligible for a medical redshirt if he elects to return to Minnesota for a sixth season in 2022-23. He could also forego that year of eligibility to pursue an NFL career.

Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell out for season

Michigan wide receiver Ronnie Bell also went down with a season-ending knee injury during the Wolverines’ 47-14 victory over Western Michigan in Week 1.

The three-year letterman started all six of Michigan’s games at wide receiver in 2020, leading the Wolverines with 401 receiving yards.

In Michigan’s 2021 season-opener, Bell notched a 76-yard touchdown reception and a 31-yard punt return before injuring his right knee in the second quarter.

“It will be very difficult to replace Ronnie Bell,” Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh told reporters Monday. “Really tough. Seasoned. Experienced. Tremendous blocker. So competitive and such a gamer. Now, somebody has to try to fill those shoes.”

Michigan will take on Washington this weekend in Ann Arbor.