Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Five
1. Ohio State (5-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) Wisconsin 31-24
This week: @ Northwestern (4-0)
Braxton Miller came back into the starting quarterback spot on Saturday against Wisconsin and simply racked up four touchdowns. The run offense did more than impress the nation by holding the third ranked rushing attack to 104 yards.
The big question comes from the secondary as the Buckeyes top corner Bradley Roby was thwarted multiple times by the Joel Stave/Jared Abbrederis connection. The entire nation will be watching this weekend, as the Buckeyes will travel to Northwestern for a Big Ten Championship preview. –Ryan Stevens
2. Northwestern (4-0)
Last week: BYE
This week: Ohio State (5-0)
To set the stage, we are going to bump Northwestern up one spot for Saturday’s showdown with Ohio State, in Evanston. Regardless, the Wildcats could definitely make a strong case as the second best team in the Big Ten.
The offense is statistically better than the likes of Michigan, as they have better rankings in passing and rushing yards per game, as well as points per game. This will be the biggest game Northwestern has had in its recent history and could potentially be the boost they need heading into conference play. –Tyler Feldman
3. Michigan (4-0)
Last week: BYE
This week: Minnesota (4-1)
Without even playing a game this past weekend, Michigan drops a spot. ESPN GameDay will be traveling to Evanston, Ill., as No. 4 Ohio State rolls in to Ryan Field to try and steal one from No. 16 Northwestern.
If the Wolverines are able to hang on and win against a very good Minnesota squad, they will most likely find themselves back at the #2 spot next week. Devin Gardner, who struggled two weeks ago against Connecticut, will need to lead this Wolverines offense and prove to the Big House that they are indeed for real this season. –Tyler Feldman
4. Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) @ Ohio State 31-24
This week: BYE
The highly vaunted rushing attack of Wisconsin was shut down on Saturday. Melvin Gordon, the nation’s leading rusher, was held under 100 yards for the first time this season and also suffered a leg injury in the fourth quarter.
The play of quarterback Joel Stave is something the Badgers will look to build on, as long as teams stack the line trying to stop the run game. Wisconsin will look to get healthy in a bye week, as Northwestern will head into Camp Randall in two weeks. –Ryan Stevens
5. Michigan State (3-1)
Last week: BYE
This week: @ Iowa (4-1)
Ryan and I had to “Rock, Paper, Scissors…Shoot” to determine the positioning of Wisconsin and Michigan State in the rankings. After nearly pulling off the upset over the highly touted Buckeyes, the Badgers got the nod at #4.
The Spartans face a dangerous Iowa team in Kinnick Stadium and will have to overcome the Hawkeyes potent rushing attack led by Mark Weisman. Luckily for Michigan State, they are ranked No. 2 in the nation in rush defense, allowing just 59.5 rushing yards per game. –Tyler Feldman
6. Nebraska (3-1)
Last week: BYE
This week: Illinois (3-1)
Watching Illinois destroy Miami (OH) 50-14 at home during the bye week should certainly have Bo Pelini’s squad realize that this Saturday will be at true test. The Illini are 19th in the nation in passing yards per game compared to the Cornhuskers ranked 89th in pass defense.
This may come as a scare to Nebraska, but don’t worry, the Cornhuskers are 14th in the nation in rushing offense, and the Illini average an allowance of 160.5 rushing yards per contest. See how running the ball and controlling the pace of the game will work out for ya, Bo. –Tyler Feldman
7. Penn State (3-1)
Last week: BYE
This week: @ Indiana (2-2)
You would have never guessed it was a bye week for the Nittany Lions with the buzz surrounding the football program. The announcement that the NCAA will start reducing the scholarship ban starting this year allowed for a lot of optimism and new energy around the program.
The problem at hand this week will be with the high-flying Kevin Wilson offense of Indiana. With an inexperienced secondary, a shootout could ensue in Bloomington this weekend. –Ryan Stevens
8. Illinois (3-1)
Last week: (W) Miami (OH) 50-14
This week: @ Nebraska (3-1)
Nathan Scheelhaase and the rest of the Illini offense had their best day of the season compiling 601 yards against one of the worst statistical defenses in the FBS. 11 different receivers caught a pass last week from the quarterback committee of Scheelhaase, Reilly O’Toole and Aaron Bailey.
Illinois will travel to Lincoln this week for the first time as Big Ten opponents and will need a repeat performance on offense to upset Nebraska. –Ryan Stevens
9. Iowa (3-1, 1-0 Big Ten)
Last week: (W) @ Minnesota 23-7
This week: Michigan State (3-1)
A prime opportunity for Kirk Ferentz’s team to prove that they are worth a look to be atop the Big Ten by the end of the season. I don’t see that being the case though, as the Hawkeyes face a very tough and disciplined team in Michigan State.
Looking at Iowa’s schedule, they have arguably the toughest next four weeks in the nation. After their bout against the Spartans this weekend, the Hawkeyes must face Ohio State, Northwestern and Wisconsin. May the force be with you, Iowa. –Tyler Feldman
10. Minnesota (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) Iowa 23-7
This week: @ Michigan (4-0)
The fact that a 4-1 Minnesota team is at the bottom of the Big Ten speaks volumes to how talented the conference is this year. But that is not a surprise! The Big Ten is a powerhouse conference year in, year out when it comes to football.
I still think the Golden Gophers have the talent and the coach to achieve success. The team must bear down defensively (currently allowing 34.8 ppg) if they want to win in the Big House this Saturday. –Tyler Feldman
11. Indiana (2-2)
Last week: BYE
This week: Penn State (3-1)
After a disappointing performance last time out, Indiana is still looking for a quarterback heading into the start of conference play. Sophomore Nate Sudfeld appeared to have the advantage, but after going 21 for 39 with three interceptions in the first half against Missouri, that left the door open for sophomore Tre Roberson.
Roberson is more of a dual-threat option and played pretty well against Missouri. Indiana will need to win all their home conference games with Ohio State, Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin on the road schedule to make a bowl game this year. –Ryan Stevens
12. Purdue (1-4, 0-1 Big Ten)
Last week: (L) Northern Illinois 55-24
This week: BYE
The eyesore of the Big Ten only got worse on Saturday at the hands of another MAC school. Northern Illinois became the first MAC school to beat two Big Ten schools in one season and they tied the biggest winning margin over a Big Ten school.
No matter how bad it gets this year, it’s clear the Boilermakers are willing to take their lumps as long as freshman quarterback Danny Etling gets more snaps under center. Purdue may not win another game this year, but they are thinking about the hopeful future with Etling a big recruit to build around. –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.