Post-Week Seven Big Ten Power Rankings

Andy Lyons - Getty Images

Even though there weren't any major upsets this past week (and you were so close Indiana!), there's been some movement in the power rankings after Iowa's double overtime win over Michigan State.

Rank Team Record Division Change Result This Week
1 Ohio St. 7-0 (3-0) Leaders* --- W @ Indiana (52-49) vs. Purdue
2 Michigan 4-2 (2-0) Legends --- W vs. Illinois (45-0) vs. Michigan St.
3 Penn St. 4-2 (2-0) Leaders* --- Idle @ Iowa
4 Northwestern 6-1 (1-1) Legends --- W @ Minnesota (21-13) vs. Nebraska
5 Wisconsin 5-2 (2-1) Leaders --- W @ Purdue (38-14) vs. Minnesota
6 Iowa 4-2 (2-0) Legends +2 W @ Michigan St. (19-16, 2OT) vs. Penn St.
7 Nebraska 4-2 (1-1) Legends --- Idle @ Northwestern
8 Michigan St. 4-3 (1-2) Legends -2 L vs. Iowa (19-16, 2OT) @ Michigan
9 Minnesota 4-2 (0-2) Legends +1 L vs. Northwestern (21-13) @ Wisconsin
10 Indiana 2-4 (0-3) Leaders +1 L vs. Ohio State (52-49) @ Navy
11 Purdue 3-3 (0-2) Leaders -2 L vs. Wisconsin (38-14) @ Ohio St.
12 Illinois 2-5 (0-3) Leaders --- L @ Michigan (45-0) Idle

*Ohio State and Penn State are ineligible to play in the Big Ten Championship.

Despite conceding 49 points to Indiana, Ohio State retains the top spot, mostly because Michigan's win wasn't notable enough -- Illinois is terrible, basically -- to push them ahead. The Buckeyes have a potent offense with Braxton Miller, Carlos Hyde, and Devin Smith, but their defense has some serious issues (depth, poor tackling, lapses in coverage, you name it) and will probably cost them a few games down the line. The jury's still out on Michigan -- the Wolverines looked awful against two top five teams but just dominated two of the worst teams in the country. This weekend's game against Michigan State should provide much more clarity, although it's not hard to see that Michigan's defense is extremely solid (especially budding star Jake Ryan), and the offense can do fairly well if Denard Robinson isn't throwing horrible interceptions. Penn State had a bye week, and the only other team who's undefeated in conference play, Iowa, has lost to Central Michigan at home this year.

Northwestern and Wisconsin are basically even -- each team has lost a Big Ten game on the road, but the Wildcats rode an easy non-conference schedule to a 4-0 mark against non-Big Ten foes, while Wisconsin lost to #8 Oregon State on the road. Northwestern's offense is a little inconsistent, although there is a lot of big play potential with Venric Mark and Kain Colter in the backfield. There's still concern about Northwestern's defense though; even though they contained a mediocre Minnesota offense, they still fared poorly against Indiana and Penn State. On the other hand, Wisconsin seems to be rounding into form -- the Badger offense finally looked good (it was against Purdue, so caveats apply), Montee Ball seems to have regained some of his form from last year, and Wisconsin's defense has been playing well all year. With Ohio State and Penn State ineligible, and with Purdue, Indiana and Illinois all winless in conference play, the Badgers have essentially locked in a spot to the Big Ten title game. Along with Northwestern and Wisconsin, Nebraska only has one conference loss, but they were idle and that blowout loss to Ohio State a week ago exposed the Husker defense.

Michigan State is perilously close to being eliminated from the conference race with a stunning home loss to Iowa. Both offenses are pretty bad, but Michigan State allowed a late touchdown drive from Iowa to send the game to overtime and lost on a critical Andrew Maxwell interception. The Spartan defense isn't quite as good as it was supposed to be entering the season, although there's enough talent to keep MSU in games. Still, unless some things are fixed on offense, it's hard to see Michigan State as a team that's capable of contending for a conference crown (and a loss to Michigan this weekend would basically end any chance of that anyways). Iowa's offense looked every bit as bad as Michigan State's did -- maybe even worse -- but the Hawkeyes won and are tied atop the Legends division. They face a tough test against Penn State this weekend, so we'll see if they're capable of making a run at the division title or not. It's hard to imagine that they are -- their loss to Central Michigan (who's now 2-4 on the season) looms large, but the Big Ten might be bad enough to let Iowa have a realistic shot at the division.

Minnesota, Indiana, Purdue and Illinois bring up the rear and each are winless in conference play. Minnesota was able to go undefeated in its non-conference schedule, so they still have a shot at becoming bowl eligible at 4-2. Indiana lost each of its first three Big Ten games, but their offense has looked increasingly impressive with Cameron Coffman at the helm and the Hoosiers will probably pull an upset or two before the year is over. Purdue played well against non-conference opponents but was dominated at home by Michigan and Wisconsin in consecutive weeks. Even though it's getting ugly in West Lafayette, things could possibly still turn around with the Boilermakers sitting at 3-3. Illinois has been blown out several times already, so their season is essentially over.

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