Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 12

Story posted November 15, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Brian McLaughlin

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 12

 

A crazy weekend in college football opens the door for the Big Ten once again in the College Football playoff race. Wisconsin still sitting undefeated and is likely the Big Ten’s best hope. However, Ohio State is not out of the race quite yet.

1. Ohio State (8-2, 6-1) No Movement: Ohio State responded to a tough loss to Iowa by blowing the doors off of Michigan State. The winner of this game got control of the Big Ten East and now Ohio State has the inside track to Indy barring any crazy upsets down the stretch. When at their best, Ohio State is as good as anybody in the country. However like games against Iowa, they can also have their struggles. The Buckeyes are looking to be the first team with two losses to ever make the College Football playoff and will need to win the Big Ten Championship to do so. They will be favored over Wisconsin, but nothing is set in stone yet as the Buckeyes have to go through Michigan before there matchup with the Badgers.

2. Wisconsin (10-0, 7-0) No Movement: Wisconsin played well against an Iowa team that made Ohio State loom terrible, but this doesn’t prove much because of Iowa’s struggles on the road. Wisconsin’s Jonathon Taylor has emerged as one of the best running backs in the country, but without any true tests, we know very little about Wisconsin. This week’s matchup with Michigan will be there biggest game of the season by far because one loss is likely to take them out of the playoff even if they were to win the Big Ten title.

3. Penn State (8-2, 5-2) Previous Rank 4: Saquon Barkley’s numbers continue to disappoint and, despite great talent, this team is not without their flaws. With an offensive line that couldn’t block a high school’s pass rush, they will not be able to compete even with great talent at the skill positions. On a neutral field, they probably beat both Ohio State and Michigan State, but the best teams find ways to win those games. A weak schedule down the stretch should give the Nittany Lions 10 wins and a solid case for a New Year’s Six bowl, but unless utter chaos reign’s in college football, the playoff seems out of reach.

4. Michigan State (7-3, 5-2) Previous Rank 3: The Spartans had a chance to prove they were legit against Ohio State this weekend after already beating both Penn State and Michigan, but failed to do so. Both games against Michigan and Penn State were in the middle of huge rain storms and they were able to take advantage of that, but this team leveled out and showed their true colors against Ohio State. Not quite yet the class of the Big Ten, but just on the outside. If this team was in the Big Ten West, they likely would have a great shot at the College Football playoff, but they are instead in the middle of one the sports toughest divisions.

5. Michigan (8-2, 5-2) No Movement: Riding a three game winning streak, the Wolverines still don’t have a great shot at the Big Ten title. They need a lot of hope and just haven’t looked the part even against lesser opponents. A disappointing season for Jim Harbaugh, this team has the opportunity to play spoiler with both Wisconsin and Ohio State still left on their schedule. If they could win both those games, it all of a sudden has a lot of momentum and optimism going forward. The defense will have to play out of their minds against Ohio State, but expect them to give the Badgers all they can handle this weekend and maybe pick up a win in Madison.

6.    Northwestern: Previous Rank 7

7.    Iowa: Previous Rank 6

8.    Minnesota: Previous Rank 13

9.    Nebraska: Previous Rank 8

10.  Maryland: Previous Rank 9

11.  Rutgers: No Movement

12.  Indiana: Previous Rank 12

13.  Purdue: Previous Rank 12

14.  Illinois: No Movement

 

Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bxm48@psu.edu