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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 8

College football across the country and within the Big Ten saw some stellar performances.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

It was a truly wonderful weekend of college football. With some really big flashy performances and four members of the Big Ten Conference on bye, let’s see how the conference measured up this week.

Here’s an update to the Big Ten Power Rankings.

14. Indiana Hoosiers (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 11

It’s hard to fathom this is the same Indiana team that gave Illinois its lone loss of the season. Even leading Maryland late into the second half in their latest loss, the Hoosiers still couldn’t close this game. Losing the turnover battle again cost Indiana another game as a late offensive drive to reclaim the lead was cut short due to a fumble. With the amount this offense struggles through the second half of games, the Hoosiers will continue to find difficulty in getting another win in conference.

Up next: Rutgers

13. Northwestern Wildcats (1-5, 1-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 13

Luckily Northwestern had the week off, but it does face an offensive power this weekend in Maryland. The Wildcats are second-last in points per game in the conference and will likely struggle to keep up with the Terrapins. Their inability to score, coupled with a bottom tier defense, is a recipe for disaster.

Up next: Maryland

12. Rutgers Scarlet Knight (3-3, 0-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 12

A team that hasn’t won since Week 3 is Rutgers. Without a win in conference, the Scarlet Knights are on a downward spiral with little hope of an alternate trajectory. After blowing the game to Nebraska, Rutgers will need to find some consistent offense if it wants to withstand the Hoosiers. This matchup will truly determine who is at the bottom of the Big Ten East.

Up next: Indiana

11. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-3, 1-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 11

After somehow still being the butt of the jokes during a bye week, the Hawkeyes return to face Ohio State. With the Buckeyes having the best offense in the conference, this will likely be a long day for the Hawkeyes. Hopefully with some defensive might, it will stall the inevitable, but there isn’t much hope to find the end zone. At least not from anything the offense did.

Up next: Ohio State

10. Wisconsin Badgers (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 8

Wisconsin must be down right bad. After coming out swinging after the firing of Paul Chryst, the Badgers blew it in double overtime to the objectively bad Michigan State Spartans. With a fumble during double overtime, the Badgers lost on a subsequent touchdown from MSU. Despite leading at half and well into the third, Wisconsin wasn’t able to keep MSU out of the end zone.

Up next: Purdue

9. Michigan State Spartans (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 14

After scoring the winning touchdown in double overtime, Michigan State collected its first win in conference play. Despite being called for 103 penalty yards, MSU’s ability to trade scores with Wisconsin kept them alive in this game. The Spartans continue to struggle on the ground offensively and to get stops defensively. Regardless of everything, they will be on cloud nine as they head into the bye to prepare for Michigan.

Up next: Bye

8. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 9

I don’t want to believe it either, but the Cornhuskers are still third in the Big Ten West. Despite losing to Purdue, they attempted to mount a comeback near the end of the third quarter. They pulled within a score, but their second interception of the game would extinguish the flame. Nebraska’s defense is still abysmal, as it allowed Purdue 608 total yards. The Cornhuskers have been playing much better football after Scott Frost’s firing, but probably not good enough to win the division with how Illinois is playing.

Up next: Bye

7. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2, 1-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 5

Minnesota was promising out of the Big Ten West for the first four weeks, but haven’t gotten a win in conference in its last two games. The Golden Gophers fell once again to another hopeful out of the West, Illinois. They were outgained 472-180, the most they have allowed all season. Minnesota had three turnovers and 12 first downs, while putting up only 38 passing yards. A sputtering offense and the loss of a defensive identity cost them this game and potentially a shot at Indianapolis.

Up next: Penn State

6. Maryland Terrapins (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 7

With exceptional talent at quarterback and an offense to par with it, the Terrapins collected their second win in conference. Despite their quarterback going down with injury, their next man up, Billy Edwards Jr., had the drive to close out this game for the Terrapins. About halfway through the fourth, Maryland would reclaim the lead. A late turnover by the Hoosiers set up Maryland’s final score of the game. Even though penalties still plague this Maryland team, it still finds ways to win.

Up next: Northwestern

5. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 3

For a team that wants to be all talk, it doesn’t even have that after losing to Michigan. Penn State prided itself on defense, but then gave up 418 rushing yards and four rushing touchdowns. Offensively didn’t fare much better as Sean Clifford was held to a career low 120 yards and was replaced late in the game. Their running back duo was also shut down. This was a total domination.

Up next: Minnesota

4. Purdue Boilermakers (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 6

It’s looking like Purdue is going to be contending for a chance at Indy with the Fighting Illini as the Boilermakers claimed their third win in conference. While it wasn’t always pretty against Nebraska, quarterback Aidan O’Connell threw for 391 yards, four touchdowns and one interception to lift the Boilermakers to victory. Purdue would end the game with 608 total yards and held possession of the ball for 42 minutes to Nebraska’s 17. Luckily, a big pick late in the game would stop Nebraska’s comeback in its tracks.

Up next: Wisconsin

3. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 4

The way the Big Ten West has come in and out of the top five all season is hilarious, but the Fighting Illini are truly making themselves known. After collecting their sixth win of the season this past week against Minnesota, the Illini are officially bowl eligible. While Illinois has found some struggles offensively this season, that wasn’t a problem against Minnesota. The Illini had 27 first downs to Minnesota’s 12 and they held the Gophers to just 38 passing yards. Illinois is looking like a real threat out of the West, for whatever that is worth.

Up next: Bye

2. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 1

Now that Michigan has made itself the clear contender to take on Ohio State for the Big Ten East, people have been considering the Buckeyes’ own capabilities of beating “good” teams. It doesn’t help that they play a lousy Iowa team this weekend, but they get Penn State on the road the week after, so that’s when we will see what this OSU team is made of.

Up next: Iowa

1. Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 2

The game speaks for itself. Michigan went against what was previously the fifth-ranked rush defense in the country and posted 418 rushing yards. Blake Corum and Donovan Edwards each rushed for more than 100 yards while the Nittany Lions, on average, only allowed 78.6 rushing yards per game heading into the game. The Wolverines were the definition of dominant and put the Big Ten and the rest of the country on notice.

Up next: Bye