Big Ten Power Rankings: 10/28

posted October 28, 2014 in Sports, CommRadio by Jack Milewski

1) Michigan State: Sparty is no longer the “little brother” as they have now beaten Michigan six of the last seven times following their 35-11 victory Saturday. The Spartans made it look fairly easy as they dispatched the Wolverines to move to 7-1 on the season. Connor Cook did little through the air as Jeremy Langford carried the ball 35 times for 177 yards and three touchdowns. The team heads into a bye week before they take on Ohio State in what will most likely determine who will be representing the East in the Big Ten Championship.

Last Week: 1

2) Ohio State: Buckeye fans can breathe a sigh of relief. After blowing a 17-point lead in the second half, Ohio State escaped the Whiteout game at Happy Valley in double overtime. J.T. Barrett showed he was human, as Penn State shutdown the dynamic quarterback through the air, intercepting him twice. Still, the Buckeyes used an aggressive pass rush to pressure Christian Hackenberg and ultimately win the game on a game-ending sack. They can’t overlook Illinois next week, but all eyes are on the November 8th showdown with Michigan State.

Last Week: 2

3) Nebraska: Ameer Abdullah continues to add to his Heisman pedigree as Nebraska continues to roll. They trampled Rutgers thanks to Abdullah’s 341 all-purpose yards. The running back now has four games with 200 or more rushing yards and four games with three or more total touchdowns. The Cornhuskers schedule is very favorable the rest of the way as they finish with games against Purdue, Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa. If they win out they will finish 11-1 and in very good position to get into the Big Ten title game.

Last Week: 3

4) Wisconsin: Save for a disappointing loss to Northwestern, the Badgers have been very good all year. Much like Nebraska, they are led by their Heisman candidate running back Melvin Gordon. As he goes, so do they. Despite being 5-2 on the season, if they can beat Nebraska in three weeks, they will suddenly be the front runner in the Big Ten West division.

Last Week: 4

5) Iowa: The Hawkeyes had the week off following a loss to Maryland. Their game against Northwestern this weekend will be big in terms of seeing if this team is legit or not. They can’t afford back-to-back losses to mediocre teams, especially if they want to stay in contention in a somewhat open Big Ten West. The team isn’t special in any facet of the game, but they need to improve in both the passing and running game if they want to beat some of the harder teams left on their schedule.

Last Week: 7

6) Minnesota: Some people may say that this team doesn’t deserve to be so high after getting beat by Illinois, who has been the bottom feeder of the Big Ten all season. However, this shows just how mediocre the Big Ten is this year. Despite the loss, Minnesota is still 6-2 and has one of the better records in the Big Ten. The Golden Gophers must beat Iowa in two weeks because they play Nebraska, Ohio State and Wisconsin in their last three games giving them a difficult finish to the season.

Last Week: 5

7) Northwestern: Sure, we will plug them in at seven this week. The Wildcats had a bye, they are 3-4 on the season, they have been up and down, but I still believe they are a solid team. Their offense needs to play up to the level of their defense if they ever want to be consistent. But the way their defense plays they are in every game. They have a big matchup against Notre Dame coming up in three weeks, but other than that, their toughest game left is Iowa. Northwestern could finish the season with a solid record if they take care of business.

Last Week: 8

8) Penn State: I’m not big into moral victories, but if there was ever such a thing, that’s what Penn State got out of their double overtime game against Ohio State. The Nittany Lions almost completed a miraculous comeback but fell just short to the 13th ranked Buckeyes. Still their defense played unbelievably well and their offense came around in the second half. While I still have many questions about this team, their schedule is very easy the rest of the way and they can build off a game like the one they played Saturday.

Last Week: 11

9) Maryland: At this point in the rankings it’s a toss-up because all of these teams are struggling. Maryland gave up more than 50 points for the second time in three weeks and their offense was completely shut down by Wisconsin. This team has no defense whatsoever, and the only way they can seem to win games is if they get into a shootout. It’s hard to see them beating Penn State, who boasts a top-10 ranked defense.

Last Week: 6

10)  Rutgers: As I mentioned in previous weeks, this part of the season is going to be rough for Rutgers. They have dropped two games in a row, giving up 98 points over that span. Things won’t get easier, and probably not better, as they take on a streaking Wisconsin and red-hot Melvin Gordon this weekend. It’s not time to throw away the season yet, but things don’t look promising for the Scarlet Knights.

Last Week: 9

11)  Purdue: They are 3-5, but the last two games this team has played very well. Austin Appleby is showing why the Boilermakers have such confidence in him as under his lead, the team has strung together convincing performances week after week. They are by no means going to turn this season around, but the future looks promising with Appleby under center.

Last Week: 12

12)  Illinois: And they’re on the board. The Fighting Illini picked up their first Big Ten win of the season after a comeback against Minnesota. Not only did they win, but they also beat a team who was playing well. Although they are 4-4 on the season, and Wes Lunt is having a very good year, the holes that are present throughout the rest of the team are too much to overcome.

Last Week: 14

13) Michigan: As many guessed, the jubilation was brief for the Wolverines as they got smashed by Sparty. The season seems lost for Brady Hoke and Michigan as they are out of title contention at 3-5. Though they don’t play any team that is very impressive the rest of the way other than Ohio State, Michigan has shown they can lose to underachieving teams. We will see what happens with the Wolverines and Hoke.

Last Week: 10

14)  Indiana: They are the only team without a Big Ten win, and other than Tevin Coleman, they really have no one exciting on either side of the ball. The bottom of the Big Ten is a toss-up as to who is the worst team, and due to their bye and other lower record teams winning this week, Indiana claims the last spot this week.

Last Week: 13

Jack Milewski is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him please email him at jbm250@psu.edu.