Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 10
The Big Ten championship picture became a bit clearer after last weekend with Ohio State’s impressive comeback win over Penn State. The conference has three teams in the top seven in the latest AP poll, so there is still a legitimate chance for the Big Ten to get two teams in the college football playoff if the cards fall correctly.
1. Ohio State (7-1, 5-0) Previous Rank 2 – The Buckeyes now have the win of the year in the Big ten in the de-facto Big Ten East championship game against Penn State. J.T. Barrett put himself back in the Heisman race with an outstanding performance against the Nittany Lions and looks as if he is ready to led Ohio State to another deep postseason run. While trailing the entire night, the Buckeyes defensive front seven made the difference late, pressuring Trace McSorley with consistency and stopping Saquon Barkley before he could get going. This took the attention off a beatable secondary that still could be a big weakness for Ohio State come playoff time.
2. Penn State (7-1, 4-1) Previous Rank 1 – Saquon Barkley and Trace McSorley have a chance to beat anyone in the country. The problem is this team’s offensive line is incredibly inconsistent. It appeared they had finally figured it out against a strong Michigan defense, but Ohio State’s defensive line had no trouble creating havoc in the Nittany Lion backfield. Penn State’s defense was also less than spectacular, allowing J.T. Barrett to pick them apart in the fourth quarter. The play-calling in the fourth quarter was frustrating to fans, reminding them of the nightmarish end to the Rose Bowl, essentially abandoning the passing game that got them the lead. While Penn State’s opponents haven’t been great outside of Ohio State and they do not have a signature win, this team is not quite eliminated from the playoff yet.
3. Wisconsin (8-0, 5-0) No Movement – Badger fans cannot be happy that, despite being undefeated, they are still widely considered to be worse than the one loss teams in Penn State and Ohio State. What the Badgers lack is clear and obvious: playmakers like Barkley and Barrett. Everyone knows that Wisconsin should be undefeated come the Big Ten championship, but any loss along the way would knock them out of playoff contention. Even if the Badgers were to win the Big Ten Championship, there is no guarantee that they make the playoff because of their style of play. Their style, or lack of it, means it will take a lot for the Badgers to pass the Nittany Lions or Buckeyes.
4. Michigan (6-2, 3-2) Previous Rank 5 – Jim Harbaugh finally made a change offensively on Saturday, switching quarterbacks and inserting Brandon Peters at signal caller over John O’Korn. This seemed to spark the offense even against the poor Rutgers defense, scoring 35 points, which is the offense’s most on the season. The defense may not be the best in the country like people originally thought, but they still are good enough to be a top 25 team. The Wolverines season will likely swing depending on the last two weeks of the season when they travel to Wisconsin and Ohio State comes to Ann Arbor.
5. Michigan State (6-2, 4-1) Previous Rank 4 – Northwestern’s upset over the Spartans really ended any outside chances that Michigan State had of going to the playoff and Big Ten Championship. Had they beaten the Wildcats, they would’ve been in a clear second place in the Big Ten East with the chance to prove themselves against the Nittany Lions and Buckeyes. Instead, they are in danger of dropping out of the top 25 with matchups against Penn State and Ohio State. While their defense was good enough to stop a below average Michigan offense, it will be a different story against the top offenses of the Big Ten and the Spartans will be lucky to win once against either Penn State or Ohio State.
6. Northwestern: Previous Rank 6
7. Nebraska: Previous Rank 9
8. Iowa: Previous Rank 7
9. Maryland: Previous Rank 8
10. Minnesota: No Movement
11. Indiana: No Movement
12. Rutgers: Previous Rank 13
13. Purdue: Previous Rank 12
14. Illinois: No Movement
Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.