No. 2 – Iowa Hawkeyes 2-0 (0-0)
The Iowa Hawkeyes entered the season as heavy favorites to win the Big Ten West. More competition has emerged from a division that many didn’t see able to compete with the Hawkeyes this season. The Hawkeyes picked up where they left off last year by proving it wasn’t a fluke. Iowa has won both games by a combined 63 points.
The Hawkeyes defense was much better in week two with Josey Jewell back in the middle. Led by freshman Anthony Nelson and senior Jaleel Johnson, the Hawkeyes have had no problems stopping the run. They’ve held their opponents to just 3.7 yards per carry while averaging 6.3 yards themselves. The defense is still not in midseason form, which should be a scary thought for the rest of the Big Ten.
The duo of LeShun Daniels Jr and Akrum Wadley has worked to a tee thus far on offense. Wadley is averaging an insane 8.1 yards per carry and with Daniels 7.8 yards just a smidgen behind. That being said, both have three touchdowns and Daniels has broken two 43-yard touchdown runs already.
Quarterback C.J. Beathard has been as good as ever for the Hawkeyes. Kirk Ferentz let him air it out in week two against Iowa State, to much success. Beathard finished with 235 yards and three passing touchdowns. He continues to make smart plays and uses his mobility to not get sacked. Even though the Hawkeyes don’t rely on passing the ball, Beathard’s intelligence in the huddle and at the line are underrated aspects of his game.
When it comes down to it, the Hawkeyes could be the best team in the West, but they haven’t played a decent team yet to prove it. They’ve won big against mediocre teams, and that’s what they needed to do. They own a 14 game regular season winning streak and should still be favorites to win the West.
Next: No. 1