We are back with another rousing edition of the Big Ten football power rankings. There is a bit of a shakeup on both ends, but four teams were out of action this week as this season slogs to its upcoming end.
Here’s where everything stands:
1. Ohio State (5-0, Last week: 1)
OSU needed to get back on the field last week and has to make statements the rest of the year to prove a playoff case. They took down Michigan State 52-12 and it would not be all that surprising if they surpassed this if they play Michigan this weekend.
2. Indiana (6-1, Last week: 2)
Indiana just keeps finding ways to get it done with a 14-6 win over Wisconsin as its latest victory. Their long-term success will be interesting to look at, but the fire and attitude Tom Allen has his guys playing with is special.
3. Northwestern (5-1, Last week: 3)
Northwestern was supposed to play Minnesota this week but was unable to due to COVID positives within the Gophers football program. It’s hard to make the case they should move as the team to beat in the West.
4. Iowa (5-2, Last week: 5)
Iowa has been one of the most impressive teams in the conference over the last month or so, rattling off five-straight victories. Their latest came in the form of a 35-21 win over Illinois
5. Wisconsin (2-2, Last week: 4)
Wisconsin has lost to the two best teams on its schedule so far this season. They just have not been able to put it together since starting 2-0.
6. Maryland (2-2, Last week: 6)
Maryland was ready to bring its offensive attack to Ann Arbor last week before COVID positives in the Michigan program wiped the game off the slate. That is probably good news in terms of saving face of what Mike Locksley would have looked to do with Josh Gattis on the other sideline.
7. Illinois (2-4, Last week: 7)
Illinois lost this week and has an argument to slide down, but when you look at what comes after this, I’m just not sure where to put them.
8. Penn State (2-5, Last week: 12)
PSU has some momentum going that will not save its putrid start to the season, but at least they can save a little bit of face down the stretch. They host Michigan State this weekend in their regular season finale.
9. Michigan State (2-4, Last week: 8)
Getting shelled by Ohio State happens to the best of them, so MSU does not drop too far this week. The Spartans have a shot to grab what would be a nice third victory in Mel Tucker’s first year this weekend at Penn State.
10. Rutgers (2-5, Last week: 9)
Rutgers continues to play hard, but does not quite have the wins to show for it. A 23-7 loss to Penn State is not the worst thing in the world for them.
11. Minnesota (2-3, Last week: 11)
Minnesota did not play this week, so there’s no argument to drop them.
12. Purdue (2-4, Last week: 10)
The last month or so for Purdue has been ugly after looking early like they might be able to make some noise in the West. A home loss to Nebraska is the low point of the season.
13. Nebraska (2-4, Last week: 14)
Considering Nebraska was 14th last week and won, this is progress for the Jekyll and Hyde Cornhuskers. The overall body of work for Purdue is better, so they get the nod above them.
14. Michigan (2-4, Last week: 13)
Everything is broken. They did not play last week and look unlikely to this weekend. There’s a COVID outbreak and now contract extension “will they or won’t they” talks that are here a week out from signing day. Fire this entire season into the sun.