Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 12
1. Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Illinois 60-35
This week: vs. Indiana (4-6, 2-4)
If the Buckeyes are going to have any chance of making it to the National Championship, 35-point defensive lapses to Illinois can’t happen. When style points matter more than maybe ever in the BCS era, Ohio State had to keep their starters in the entire game. It’s the third time the Buckeyes have scored at least 60 points in a game this year, but it’s also the third time they’ve given up at least 30 points in a game.
Senior running back Carlos Hyde had a career day with five total touchdowns to go along with his 246 yards on the ground against Illinois. Junior quarterback Braxton Miller chipped in 184 rushing yards of his own, along with 150 passing yards and three total scores. A deflated Indiana team that looked as irrelevant as ever before, comes into Columbus, for the last test before the Buckeyes head north for the regular season finale against Michigan. –Ryan Stevens
2. Michigan State (9-1, 6-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Nebraska 41-28
This week: @ Northwestern (4-6, 0-6)
To no surprise the Michigan State Spartans took advantage of a BYE week. The Spartans traveled to Lincoln, and knocked off a very good Nebraska Cornhuskers team. Despite allowing a season-high 28 points, Mark Dantonio’s team used five Nebraska turnovers to pull away from the Cornhuskers. Running back Jeremy Langford was stellar on the ground, rushing 32 times for 151 yards and three scores.
Giving up just 13.2 points per game, good enough for fourth in the country, the Spartans have set themselves up nicely to end the Big Ten season undefeated atop the Legends Division. Sparty travels to Northwestern this week to try and stretch its winning streak to seven games. Expect another Michigan State victory on the road on Saturday. –Tyler Feldman
3. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) vs. Indiana 51-3
This week: @ Minnesota (7-2, 3-2)
It’s certainly up for debate whether the Wisconsin offense or defense had a better performance in Saturday’s blowout win against Indiana. Senior James White, sophomore Melvin Gordon and freshman Corey Clement all ran for over 100 yards leading the way for a team total of 554 rushing yards. The defense held the Indiana offense without a touchdown and held the Hoosiers under double-digits for the first time this year.
If Wisconsin still wants a shot at an at-large BCS bid, it starts this weekend with a trip to the hottest team in the Big Ten. Minnesota will be coming off the bye week and the Gophers haven’t won Paul Bunyan’s Axe since 2003. Wisconsin will have to stick to its guns and ride the ground game. The Badgers haven’t had a 100-yard rusher in only one of their games this season –Ryan Stevens
4. Minnesota (7-2, 3-2 Big Ten)
Last week: BYE
This week: vs. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-1)
With the BYE the Golden Gophers got a much need week off. With that being said, it is back to work for Minnesota, as they have an opportunity to continue to spin heads in the Big Ten this season. Luckily for Jerry Kill and Tracy Claeys, the coaching staff had an extra week to prepare for a very well balanced Wisconsin team.
Look for the Saturday’s bout to be a rushing one, as both Minnesota and Wisconsin sport two of the best rushing attacks in the country. For the Golden Gophers to have a chance against the Badgers, running back David Cobb is going to have to carry a heavy load. With a win over Wisconsin, the Golden Gophers will continue to raise their stock in the college football world. –Tyler Feldman
5. Nebraska (7-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Michigan State 41-28
This week: @ Penn State (6-4, 3-3)
Nebraska had a prime opportunity to shake things up in the Big Ten. Unfortunately, Michigan State’s defense was just too much for Bo Pelini’s offense. The Cornhuskers lost the turnover battle 5-0, making it nearly impossible to defeat the second best team in the conference. The only real bright spot for the Cornhuskers was Big Ten leading rusher Ameer Abdullah, who rushed 22 times for 123 yards.
Nebraska’s defense took a step back against Michigan State, allowing 41 points, 24 of which were off of the five turnovers. However, the Cornhuskers will look to get back on track this Saturday when they travel to State College, to face Penn State. –Tyler Feldman
6. Michigan (7-3, 3-3 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Northwestern 27-19 3OT
This week: @ Iowa (6-4, 3-3)
What a thrilling victory for the Wolverines this past Saturday. It was a heartbreaker for the Wildcats, but for Michigan, it was one of the most exhilarating victories of the season. Down 9-6, Devin Gardner led the Wolverines down the field to set up a 44-yard Brendan Gibbons field goal, as time expired to send the game into overtime. Even though the Wolverines were able to clinch the road victory in the third overtime, Michigan continues to struggle to punch the ball into the end zone.
With the win, Brady Hoke and his Wolverines moved to .500 in the Legends Division, but at this point in the season, it looks like Michigan is simply playing to obtain a decent bowl game. They face a tough road test at Iowa this Saturday before they end the regular season by taking on Ohio State in the Big House on Nov. 30. –Tyler Feldman
7. Iowa (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
Last week: BYE
This week: vs. Michigan (7-3, 3-3)
After beating Purdue last Saturday, the Hawkeyes became bowl eligible. Now, with just two games left on their regular season schedule, Iowa has its eyes set a obtaining an above-average bowl game. Even with no chance of winning the Big Ten crown, Kirk Ferentz still wants to win out.
Iowa’s three Big Ten losses have been to the three big guns in the conference (Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin). The Hawkeyes are only giving up 18.7 points per game, good enough for 12th in the country in points against. The strength of their defense gives them a fighting chance to beat Michigan at home this Saturday, and then on the road against Nebraska, the following weekend. –Tyler Feldman
8. Penn State (6-4, 3-3 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) vs. Purdue 45-21
This week: vs. Nebraska (7-3, 4-2)
Usually college teams are ecstatic when they get to six wins for obvious reasons. Even though we all know there won’t be a bowl season for still quite some time, getting a sixth win means a lot more than just getting to another bowl game. This was a typical Penn State win featuring a dominant ground game, added in with a passing game that did enough to keep the Purdue defense honest.
Senior Day in Happy Valley will stand for a little more than most schools around the country because of everything that has taken place over the past two years. Nebraska’s 16th best rushing attack will be a point of emphasis for the Nittany Lions this week, who have been thin all year in terms of depth in the front seven positions. Emotions will be swirling around Beaver Stadium on Saturday, as Penn State will look to once again defy the odds ending the 2013 home campaign. –Ryan Stevens
9. Northwestern (4-6, 0-6 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Michigan 27-19 3OT
This week: vs. Michigan State (9-1, 6-0)
The long season gets even longer for the Wildcats following a devastating 3OT loss against Michigan at home this past Saturday. Northwestern, in its America-themed jerseys, battled hard all game, but gave up a six-point lead in the fourth quarter, including a Michigan field goal as time expired that sent the game into overtime. Then in overtime, the Northwestern offense just could not get it done.
With the loss to Michigan, Pat Fitzgerald’s team has now lost six straight games. Additionally, the past four losses have come by one score or less. A season that began with a lot of promise is now all but in the dumps. Northwestern has proven this year that to be successful in the Big Ten Conference, you must be able to win the close games. The Wildcats face Michigan State at home this weekend, which will surely be a loss. –Tyler Feldman
10. Indiana (4-6, 2-4 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) @ Wisconsin 51-3
This week: @ Ohio State (10-0, 6-0)
Indiana’s offense joined its excuse of a defense in the bottom of the barrel after Saturday’s blow-out loss to Wisconsin Saturday. Sophomore quarterbacks Nate Sudfeld and Tre Roberson combined for 122 passing yards and 10 rushing yards. As mentioned before, the defense was on par giving up close to 700 total yards of offense to Wisconsin, including three different 100-yard rushers.
The Hoosiers will do everything in their power to play spoiler in Ohio State this Saturday. After seeing how questionable Ohio State’s defense can be, Indiana has a chance to be able to score with the Buckeyes. The only problem again will be that defense because the Buckeyes will feature the nations fourth best rushing attack in the country. –Ryan Stevens
11. Illinois (3-7, 0-6 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) vs. Ohio State 60-35
This week: @ Purdue (1-9, 0-6)
Illinois may be the first team ever to score 35 points in consecutive weeks, and still lose. For about three quarters, Illinois stayed relevant and kept Ohio State within striking distance of an upset until a pair of late touchdowns from senior running back Carlos Hyde all but sealed the deal. Senior quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase spread the ball around great completing 33 of his 50 passes for 288 yards and contributed 46 rushing yards as well.
The time for Illinois to get their first Big Ten win in the Tim Beckman era will be right in front of the Illini on Saturday, in West Lafayette. Purdue has won seven of the last eight meetings between the two, but Illinois’ offense should be enough to top Purdue. The “Game of the Weak,” will give one team some satisfaction ending the season. –Ryan Stevens
12. Purdue (1-9, 0-6 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) @ Penn State 45-21
This week: vs. Illinois (3-7, 0-6)
Purdue’s offense led by freshman quarterback Danny Etling, showed some positives Saturday, in a hostile environment. Etling had one rushing touchdown and one passing touchdown to junior tight end Justin Sinz in the second quarter. Purdue got as close as 28-21 in the third quarter, until Penn State rattled off 17 unanswered points to seal the deal.
As mentioned with Illinois, the best opportunity for Purdue to get a conference win for first year head coach Darrell Hazell. Purdue hasn’t had a lot to build on heading into next year, but a win on Saturday against Illinois could chance all of that. If Purdue’s offense can come alive and the defense can make timely stops, look for Purdue to come away with the win on Saturday. –Ryan Stevens
About the Contributors
Senior / Broadcast Journalism
Ryan is a senior from Bloomington, Illinois majoring in broadcast journalism with a minor in english. He has been involved with numerous radio shows, play-by-plays, beat writes and producing various Penn State athletics events since his first days of being on campus in the fall of 2012 with ComRadio. Since the fall of 2013, Ryan has been involved with State College’s ESPN Radio 1450 as an assistant producer intern and high school football reporter.
During the summer of 2014, Ryan co-hosted Sports Central with Cory Giger streaming over Altoona, Pa. and State College Pa. markets. Ryan also assisted USA Basketball media coverage in New York for World Cup of Basketball exhibition games.
Ryan was the marketing & communications intern for USA Track & Field at the national office in Indianapolis, Indiana. He was the media contact for the 2015 USATF Hershey Youth Outdoor Championships as well as the 2015 National Junior Olympics.
Senior / Broadcast Journalism and Marketing
Currently, Feldman is an executive producer, reporter and anchor for the Centre County Report, as well as ComRadio’s senior sports director. He also is the host of the Penn State Coaches Show featuring Guy Gadowsky, which airs live from Lettermans on ESPN Radio 1450 and GoPSUSports.com every Tuesday night at 6 p.m. Additionally, he was the first to report the hiring of Joe Moorhead as Penn State football’s new offensive coordinator on December 12, 2015.
He’s a member of the John Curley Center for Sports Journalism within the College of Communications and enrolled in the Smeal College of Business.
Feldman, a Pittsburgh native, has broadcasted sporting events from a number of international and professional venues, including Estadio Latinoamericano in Cuba, Madison Square Garden, CONSOL Energy Center, Wells Fargo Center, MetLife Stadium, M&T Bank Stadium, and EverBank Field.
Last spring, he traveled with the Penn State men’s volleyball team as their play-by-play man, announcing his very first NCAA tournament matches at Stanford’s Maples Pavilion.
He has gained valuable broadcasting and reporting experience interning and working at WTAJ-TV, MLB Network, GoPSUSports.com, 105.9 The X, 970 AM ESPN, Big Ten Network Student U, and State College’s ESPN Radio 1450.
Feldman has a strong passion for sports and dreams to become a sports anchor/reporter in a national market and/or a hockey play-by-play announcer.