Big Ten Power Rankings: 11/4
1) Michigan State: Another week, another number one ranking for Sparty. However, this is the first time in a long time that their spot atop the rankings could be at jeopardy. Michigan State takes on Ohio State this weekend at home, in what is the biggest game in the Big Ten this year. The winner will most likely finish the season as the top Big Ten team, and will be the only team in the Big Ten with a shot at the playoff. Overall, Michigan State is the better team; let’s see if they stick as the number one team after Saturday.
Last Week: 1
2) Ohio State: After a scare at Penn State, Ohio State returned to form Saturday as they dispatched Illinois to the tune of a 55-17 victory. As I just mentioned, all eyes will be on the Michigan State/Ohio State game Saturday as this will be the first true test for the Buckeyes since falling to Virginia Tech. The most important thing for Ohio State is what J.T. Barrett will show up? The one who threw for only 74 yards against Penn State, or the one who has been putting away teams all season?
Last Week: 2
3) Nebraska: The Cornhuskers became the first Big Ten team to reach eight wins on the season as they beat Purdue 35-14. Nebraska was without Ameer Abdullah for most of the game as the running back left the game with what is now being called an MCL sprain. Without Abdullah, the team is not a top 25 team. Luckily for Nebraska, they have a bye week before they take on another run heavy team in Wisconsin.
Last Week: 3
4) Wisconsin: The Badgers played their most complete game of the season, shutting out Rutgers 37-0. Melvin Gordon produced what is just a pedestrian day for him, accounting for 128 yards on the ground and two touchdowns. If Wisconsin can make it past Purdue unscathed, they will have a true test against Nebraska, in a game that will most likely determine who represents the West division in the Big Ten title game.
Last Week: 4
5) Iowa: What a drubbing Iowa gave Northwestern. After their 48-7 rout, it is safe to say that the Hawkeyes definitely belong in the upper-tier of Big Ten teams this year. They don’t do anything special, but they are a hardnosed football team that likes to run it down opponent’s throats. Although the win was thoroughly impressive, they will have a better test next week against upstart Minnesota.
Last Week: 5
6) Maryland: Sure, Penn State isn’t a good football team this year, but you have to give the Terrapins credit for getting their first win ever in Happy Valley. For once, the team was able to win a close game that wasn’t a shootout, albeit against a mediocre Penn State offensive attack. Still, the win snapped a semi-rough stretch for Maryland who now has a bye week to enjoy sitting at 6-3 before they welcome Michigan State into College Park.
Last Week: 9
7) Minnesota: Based on Maryland’s performance, and the terrible game they played against Illinois two weeks ago, the Golden Gophers drop a spot. This is still a very good team however, and they will have a chance to show that the Illinois game was just a hiccup this weekend when they take on Iowa. David Cobb will need to come up big for Minnesota against a stout front seven for Iowa.
Last Week: 6
8) Penn State: The fact that a team who has lost four straight can be eight on a power rankings list tells you all you need to know about the Big Ten this year. Penn State’s last two games have been agonizingly close, but this team just can’t produce on offense. Other than kicker Sam Ficken, Penn State hasn’t had a dominant offensive performer this year.
Last Week: 8
9) Michigan: The Wolverines had their biggest win since week three when they beat Miami (OH) by the same score of 34-10. They are by no means a good team, and they aren’t going to go anywhere this year, but with two more winnable games against a free falling Northwestern team, and a one-sided Maryland team, they could actually finish this season at .500. (I’m counting on a loss to Ohio State at the end of the season)
Last Week: 13
10) Rutgers: Like I said, rough waters for the Scarlet Knights. Fans are probably thankful more than anything else that the last three weeks are now over. After taking on Ohio State, Nebraska and Wisconsin, Rutgers gets a much needed bye week before they have essentially another bye when they take on Indiana the week after.
Last Week: 10
11) Purdue: At this point it’s pick your poison. None of the teams left are good, some are just bad. Purdue gets the nod in the 11 spot because they have a bright future with Austin Appleby. He had his first terrible game since taking over under center, but he was fairly impressive the two weeks before in close loses. We’re not looking at the 3-6 record here, we’re looking into the future.
Last Week: 11
12) Illinois: No one really expected the Fighting Illini to beat Ohio State right? You can’t fault the team for losing a game they were supposed to, so we won’t. All but one of Illinois’ wins have come with Wes Lunt under center, but he has now missed three straight games. He was putting together a great year with 13 touchdowns and three interceptions in just five games. This team may have won a few more games had he been healthy.
Last Week: 12
13) Northwestern: I was dead wrong about this team. After the big win over Penn State and the close home win against Wisconsin the week after, I thought they were showing a lot of promise. However, three straight loses and most recently at 48-7 one at the hands of Iowa, show that this team isn’t going to make any more of a splash this year.
Last Week: 7
14) Indiana: At this point I’m starting to think that this team beating Missouri was just a dream that the whole country happened to share. Since then, their only win has been against North Texas and all of their loses have been by double digits. The Hoosiers have been at the bottom of the list for a while and they will most likely stay there.
Last Week: 14
Jack Milewski is a freshman majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him please email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.