Here’s our seventh edition of Big Ten power rankings:
14. Rutgers 1-4 (Last Week: 14)
I’m running out of things to say about this team. It’s best player, running back Raheem Blackshear, has decided to sit out the rest of the season to preserve a year of eligibility (likely to transfer).
13. Illinois 2-3 (Last Week: 13)
Illinois got spanked by Minnesota, further cementing its place just above Rutgers.
12. Purdue 1-4 (Last Week: 12)
Purdue had high hopes before the season, but at this point, it seems far more likely that this team won’t be headed to a Bowl Game. Injuries really hurt the Boilermakers in their loss to Penn State, and will continue to hold the team back.
11. Northwestern 1-4 (Last Week: 9)
The Wildcats had a chance to earn a road win at Nebraska, but couldn’t capitalize on their chances. It’s going to be a rough next two weeks with Ohio State and Iowa up next.
10. Nebraska 4-2 (Last Week: 11)
Nebraska squeaked out a 13-10 win over Northwestern thanks to a last second field goal. The big concern here is the health of quarterback Adrian Martinez, who went down in this game on the last play of the third quarter. The Husker need Martinez for the next few weeks, with difficult, but winnable games ahead.
9. Maryland 3-2 (Last Week: 10)
After back to back losses, Maryland got a break with a date with Rutgers. The Terps travel to Purdue next week.
8. Indiana 3-2 (Last Week: 8)
Indiana was on a bye last week. It’ll be welcomed back from the bye by Rutgers, which should get this team to four wins on the year.
7. Michigan State 4-2 (Last Week: 6)
It doesn’t feel right to bump a team down for losing to Ohio State, but MSU’s overall body of work isn’t very good. The offense only shows up against bad defenses and the defense has now looked awful two weeks in a row. A road trip to Madison is not exactly the best way to get back on track.
6. Minnesota 5-0 (Last Week: 7)
Unless a team like Iowa or Michigan collapses, Minnesota is going to have a hard time breaking into the top five, but it’s earned the chance to be ranked ahead of Michigan State. Sure beating Illinois isn’t anything to write home about, but the Gophers have two road wins this year and are getting the job done. Given the schedule, this should be a nine-win team.
5. Iowa 4-1 (Last Week: 3)
Michigan exposed Iowa a little bit on Saturday. The Hawkeyes offense was dreadful (Michigan’s strong defense obviously played a role in that) and while the defense looked good, I’d chalk that more up to U-M’s offense being a mess. Iowa is much more difficult to handle in Iowa City, where Penn State will visit this week in another huge game.
4. Michigan 4-1 (Last Week: 5)
Michigan picked up a giant win against Iowa over the weekend. It was a must-win game for U-M given how difficult the rest of the schedule is. However, the offense looked horrible and I have absolutely zero confidence that things will get better against Penn State on the road or Notre Dame. The Wolverines need some sort of offensive miracle in the coming weeks or we’re just going to have another season like 2017. Luckily, Illinois is a team they should be able to work out some problems against.
3. Penn State 5-0 (Last Week: 4)
Penn State cruised past Purdue to improve to 5-0. Now comes the Nittany Lions first real test of the year: a road trip to Iowa, where ranked teams go to die. If Penn State can pull off the victory, it shows this team is a real threat to win the Big Ten.
2. Wisconsin 5-0 (Last Week: 2)
Wisconsin took care of business against Kent State on Saturday and now can look ahead to Michigan State. It’s another test for the Badgers, but so far everything suggests they should be 7-0 when they travel to Ohio State at the end of the month.
1. Ohio State 6-0 (Last Week: 1)
The Big Ten has its first bowl eligible team. Ohio State has its eyes on something even better than a bowl game though: the College Football Playoff. The Buckeyes overcame a slow start to thrash MSU and are, in my eyes, playing like the best team in the country.