Here’s our eighth edition of Big Ten power rankings:
14. Rutgers 1-5 (Last Week: 14)
Rutgers got bombed by Indiana this week. It was the third time this season the Scarlet Knights have been shut out this season.
13. Illinois 2-4 (Last Week: 13)
Illinois showed some fight in the second half against Michigan. I’m not sure it reached the point where U-M fans actually thought the Wolverines would lose, but it certainly had everyone worried. Unfortunately, I think Saturday’s game said more about Michigan than it did Illinois.
12. Northwestern 1-4 (Last Week: 11)
Northwestern was on a bye last week. It plays Ohio State this week (on Friday).
11. Nebraska (4-3) (Last Week: 10)
Nebraska got pounded by Minnesota, scoring a late touchdown just to avoid being shut out.
10. Maryland 3-3 (Last Week: 9)
One of the most disappointing performances of the week came courtesy of the Terrapins. Losing to Purdue is one thing, but getting blown out without its starting quarterback? Big yikes. Maryland faces a must-win game this week against Indiana.
9. Purdue 2-4 (Last Week: 12)
Purdue looked great in its dominating win over Maryland. I don’t like ranking Purdue this highly, but it’s appropriate to place the Boilermakers ahead of the team they just beat. Is quarterback Jack Plummer the real deal?
8. Indiana 4-2 (Last Week: 8)
Indiana enjoyed its pseudo bye week, thrashing Rutgers 35-0. IU returned a fumble for a touchdown on the first play of the game. Freshman quarterback Michael Penix Jr. had another nice game, throwing for three touchdowns. The big stat of the day: Rutgers finished the game with only one passing yard. Losing to Michigan State is going to be a game this team wished it had back.
7. Michigan State 4-3 (Last Week: 7)
Talk about ugly. The Spartans looked horrendous against Wisconsin, frankly, even worse than Michigan did (and that’s saying something). The defense that was once feared is falling apart and the offense is as miserable as ever. One has to think this will be Mark Dantonio’s last season.
6. Minnesota 6-0 (Last Week: 6)
The upstart Gophers continued winning this week versus Nebraska. This team is now ranked in the AP Poll which is nice, but I can’t move Minnesota farther up this list until a team ahead completely implodes or the Gophers beat someone relevant. They should pick up another pair of wins before that happens, with Rutgers and Maryland up next.
5. Iowa 4-2 (Last Week: 5)
It’s been a bad couple of weeks for the Hawkeyes, especially on offense. If you had told Iowa fans that the team would give up 10 and 17 points, respectively, to Michigan and Penn State, they probably would have been happy, expecting to win both games. Not the case, but still not convinced Minnesota is better.
4. Michigan 5-1 (Last Week: 4)
This has to be one of the most uninspiring 5-1 starts a team has ever had. The Wolverines are getting the wins, but it’s excruciating to watch this team. Awful offense, solid but spotty defense, mediocre special teams. This week’s game against Penn State is going to define the season, and right now it doesn’t look good.
3. Penn State 6-0 (Last Week: 3)
Winning at Iowa is never easy, so Saturday’s win is a big one for the Nittany Lions. Now, they get to have the home field advantage with a night game against Michigan. It’s a winnable game for Michigan, but Penn State is an overwhelming favorite.
2. Wisconsin 6-0 (Last Week: 2)
Wisconsin shredded Michigan State to improve to 6-0. It appears that the Badgers are on a collision course with Minnesota for the West Division crown, which Wisconsin figures to win. It gets one more tune up game against Illinois before a huge showdown with Ohio State.
1. Ohio State 6-0 (Last Week: 1)
The Buckeyes were on a bye last week. They travel to Northwestern before heading home for Wisconsin.