Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 11
After being considered possibly the best conference in college football last year, the Big Ten is in chaos after the Big Ten East has begun to crumble. In the craziest weekend of Big Ten football yet this year, Penn State and Ohio State both fell on the road, all but eliminating themselves from College Football playoff contention. Wisconsin may be the lone hope left in the Big Ten, but the question still remains: Are the Badgers the actual best team in the Big Ten?
1. Ohio State (7-2, 5-1) Previous Rank 1– Even after getting dominated in every facet against Iowa, the Buckeyes are still the best team in the Big Ten. If they were to play Wisconsin right now, Ohio State would win easily, as it probably still will in the Big Ten title game. Unless another loss for Ohio State were to occur at the hands of either Michigan or Michigan State, the Buckeyes still get the opportunity to make their case for the College Football Playoff as the Big Ten representative. J.T. Barrett had possibly the worst game of his career against Iowa, after one of his best against Penn State. He will need to find consistency in order to keep the Buckeyes on pace for the Big Ten title.
2. Wisconsin (9-0, 6-0) Previous Rank 3 – There is a strong case to be made for the Badgers as the best team in the conference. Yet a lack of strength of schedule and impressive wins continues to be the Achilles heel for Wisconsin. If it were to play Ohio State it is likely they would be outplayed based on the talent from the Buckeyes.
3. Michigan State (7-2, 5-1) Previous Rank 5 – The Spartans ran into Penn State at the right time and were able to pick up a tough win last Saturday. Both teams faced adversity when the game went through a long lightening delay, and Michigan State appeared to handle that delay better than Penn State. Brian Lewerke outplayed both Trace McSorley and Saquon Barkley, who could not get the ball in space. The Spartans defense continues to look top notch and they will control their own destiny the rest of the season. If they beat Ohio State this weekend they will have a clear path to the Big Ten championship.
4. Penn State (7-2, 4-2) Previous Rank 2 – Back-to-back heartbreaking road losses can be demoralizing to a team and a program. James Franklin’s one game at a time mentality will come in handy as there is still a lot to play for. While it is incredibly unlikely, Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State are all still in the playoff hunt. The Nittany Lions had a strong argument to make the Playoff a year ago so you have to believe it is possible again. Penn State will have to blow people out to get back in the conversation but with Rutgers, Nebraska and Maryland remaining on the schedule the Nittany Lions still have a chance.
5. Michigan (7-2, 4-2) Previous Rank 4 – Michigan appears to finally have returned to form after beating Minnesota and Rutgers soundly in back-to-back weeks. Even after getting scorched a few weeks ago by Penn State, the defense still plays at a high level. The remainder of their season lies at the end of November. The play Wisconsin and Ohio State in consecutive weeks and can ruin the hopes of either of these teams. If they have any hope of returning to national prominence and making a New Year’s Six bowl game those are both games they need to win or at least compete in. Harbaugh is not yet on the hot seat but if he continues to have disappointing seasons, he may not last in Ann Arbor.
6. Iowa: Previous Rank 8
7. Northwestern: Previous Rank 6
8. Nebraska: Previous Rank 7
9. Maryland: Previous Rank 9
10. Indiana: Previous Rank 11
11. Rutgers: Previous Rank 12
12. Purdue: Previous Rank 13
13. Minnesota: Previous Rank 10
14. Illinois: Previous Rank 14
Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him email firstname.lastname@example.org.