By Blake Dowson
The Big Ten boasts six teams in the top-45 rankings, making it one of the best conferences in the nation. A conference typically dominated by Michigan, a number of teams will battle for the title this season.
It’s basically impossible to contest what school should be No. 1 on this list — Indiana’s schedule speaks for itself. Already, the Hoosiers have two wins over No. 2 Texas, two wins over No. 8 Florida, along with wins over No. 13 Tennessee and No. 18 Kentucky.
Sitting at No. 16 in the most recent collegeswimming.com poll, the Wolverines are actually one spot below the Wisconsin Badgers. History plays a roll in Michigan being higher here, as it has dominated the conference recently.
3. Ohio State
The No. 18 Buckeyes haven’t exactly been tested this season, but their talent is impressive. Ohio State set a number of pool records at its most recent meet, the Cincinnati Quad Meet.
A 185-115 drubbing of Wisconsin has the Gophers ahead of the Badgers here. Minnesota has also added a win over Iowa by roughly the same score. The Gophers are as solid as teams come.
The Badgers are winless this season, though still ranked No. 15 in the nation. A 143-114 loss to USC in Los Angeles is a bit misleading — Wisconsin had just gotten done with an intense training session over its winter break before taking on the Trojans.
6. Penn State
The No. 41 Nittany Lions are a talented squad that hasn’t quite hit their stride yet. A fourth place finish at the Ohio State Invitational was encouraging in November.
The Hawkeyes have a good nucleus of Jack Smith, Jerzy Twarowski, Jackson Halsmer, and Kenneth Mende, but the depth of this team needs to get a boost if it wants to seriously compete.
The Boilermakers narrowly lost to the Hawkeyes, 151-149 back in November. They did just put a beating on Michigan State though, 179-111. Dual meets against Indiana and Minnesota coming up will show who the Boilermakers really are this season.
The Wildcats don’t really have any bad losses on the year. Losing to North Carolina State, Duke, Kentucky, and Missouri is nothing to be ashamed of. But there haven’t been any legitimate wins, that’s the problem.
10. Michigan State
The one win the Spartans have this year was over Bowling Green, and it was by 10 points. Michigan State is good at a lot of sports. Right now, swimming is not one of them.