With a smattering of close games and beatdowns, the winningest teams continue to shine while those on a downward spiral continue to spiral. Things look like they are settling in the Big Ten West with a current outright leader, but it is still up for grabs. The Big Ten East looks at its top dogs to meet in their rivalry showdown.
Here are this week’s Big Ten power rankings.
14. Northwestern Wildcats (1-6, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 13
Now dropping six games in a row, it’s starting to settle in the Wildcats could very well be 1-11 this year. Even after leading at the half, Northwestern went scoreless in the third and allowed two touchdowns to go down seven. The Wildcats would tie the game late, but quarterback Brendan Sullivan’s second interception would halt the comeback in its tracks. Turnovers and lack of defensive stops readily cost Northwestern another close game.
Up next: Iowa
13. Indiana Hoosiers (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 14
The Hoosiers made history, and not in a good way. After dropping their fifth loss in a row, Indiana now has 700 total losses as a program. Even after jumping up 14 points early, Indiana would go stale the next two quarters and lose to Rutgers.
Up next: Bye
12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 12
Even after Indiana got off to a hot start, Rutgers was able to string together its last three quarters to find the win at home and snap a 21 conference game losing streak at home. It was also the Scarlet Knights’ first win in conference this season.
Up next: Minnesota
11. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 11
It didn’t seem like things would be that bad for Iowa after holding the Buckeyes to a field goal on their opening drive, then getting a fumble return for a touchdown, but it went downhill pretty fast. The Hawkeyes would end the game with six turnovers and only 81 total passing yards between two quarterbacks. After being shut out in the second half, the Hawkeyes need to make some changes or they could end up losing to Northwestern.
Up next: Northwestern
10. Michigan State Spartans (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 9
Michigan State was on bye this past week and now seek to carry momentum found against Wisconsin forward to the game against Michigan — MSU’s Super Bowl. It would truly be a huge upset if the Spartans found a way to get things to work defensively and find a way to win. Though that won’t be easy, as Michigan has the best rushing offense in the conference.
Up next: Michigan
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 7
After starting out fiery and with arguably one of the better defenses in the Big Ten, Minnesota has quickly fizzled out. Now dropping their third game in a row, the Golden Gophers need to figure out something fast. While the remainder of their schedule should be a walk in the park, their performance as of late both offensively and defensively leaves them vulnerable.
Up next: Rutgers
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers: (3-4, 2-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 8
The Cornhuskers will be coming out of a bye to take on the current Big Ten West leader in Illinois. Nebraska has the worst defense in the Big Ten, but luckily Illinois is only 10th in the conference for offense.
Up next: Illinois
7. Wisconsin Badgers: (4-4, 2-3 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 10
It looks like Wisconsin does its best after having a disappointing loss. The Badgers bounced back from their loss to the Spartans by beating Purdue at home. A pick six and another interception set up a Badgers touchdown that helped them seal the deal against the Boilermakers. They get a week to rest before finishing the regular season.
Up next: Bye
6. Purdue Boilermakers: (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 4
Purdue looked like it was finally in a rhythm after getting four wins in a row, but then got disrupted by Wisconsin. It was definitely an off day for the Boilermakers as Wisconsin wasn’t statistically better than Purdue, it’s just the Boilermakers lost the turnover differential 3-1. While Wisconsin was held scoreless in the fourth quarter, it was too little too late for Purdue.
Up next: Bye
5. Maryland Terrapins: (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 6
Even without starting quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa, the Terrapins didn’t falter and instead found their rhythm on the ground. Running back Roman Hemby rushed for 179 yards and three touchdowns to ensure Maryland got the win. Penalties still plagued this team, but the lack of turnovers and a late 75-yard rushing score helped the Terrapins escape a late push from the Wildcats.
Up next: Bye
4. Illinois Fighting Illini (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 3
The Fighting Illini will return to action after being on bye last week to take on Nebraska on the road. Current projections have them beating the Cornhuskers by eight. Luckily for them, the Cornhuskers have one of the worst defenses in the conference, which should bode well for them as they themselves have a bottom tier offense in the Big Ten.
Up next: Nebraska
3. Penn State Nittany Lions (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 5
Sean Clifford had his worst performance of his collegiate career against Michigan the week prior, but would end this game against Minnesota with 295 yards and four touchdowns. Their rushing performance bounced back as well, as they ran for 175 yards. Even after getting off to a slow start, Penn State was still able to come away with a double-digit win against a once formidable Minnesota defense.
Up next: Ohio State
2. No. 4 Michigan Wolverines (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 1
The Wolverines were on bye this past week and now their impressive performance against Penn State looks arguably better after the Nittany Lions’ beatdown against Minnesota. Michigan will take on in-state foe Michigan State this upcoming weekend. With Michigan favored by 22, it’s looking like a another beatdown is coming Saturday night. The Wolverines lead the conference in rushing yards per game and MSU has one of the worst defenses in the conference. Should be fun!
Up next: Michigan State
1. No. 2 Ohio State Buckeyes (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten) — Last week’s rank: 2
The Buckeyes absolutely pummeled Iowa this past weekend, though they arguably had their worst offensive performance this season. The Buckeyes had 360 total yards, and only 66 of them were rushing yards. Regardless, they only punted three times and scored on every other drive except for two that ended in turnovers. Even on a more off day, C.J. Stroud still threw for 286 yards and four touchdowns.
Up next: Penn State