Here are this week’s Big Ten Power Rankings:
- Ohio State. Did what championship teams do – pull away from a team not on their level. The Buckeyes have won each of their games by at least 21 points. Can Wisconsin break that trend?
- Michigan. Holy Harbaugh, that 78 point win over Rutgers is the absolute definition of “domination”. So many eye-popping stats came out of that annihilation, that picking one doesn’t do justice to the totality of that victory. The Wolverines will face a tougher test this week when they are idle.
- Wisconsin. Coming off of their bye week, the Badgers get Ohio State at Camp Randall. In classic “something’s gotta give” matchup, Ohio State is averaging 53 points per game. Wisconsin has not allowed more than 14 points to FBS competition.
- Nebraska. Back in the Top Ten for the first time in five years, are the Cornhuskers for real? I dunno. The argument can be made that Wyoming is their best win. Coming off the bye week, Nebraska will be battling Indiana and injuries – and not necessarily in that order.
- Penn State. The Nitany Lions handled previously unbeaten Maryland 38-14 for their best win of the year. Now, they get a week off to prepare for Ohio State. After that, the rest of their schedule (Purdue, Iowa, Indiana, Rutgers, Michigan State) looks doable.
- Indiana. The final score of the Ohio State loss doesn’t show that the Hoosiers played the #2 Buckeyes pretty close for a good chunk of the game. That fact should not be lost on the top ten team Indiana faces this weekend (Nebraska)
- Iowa. Since blowing out Iowa State, the Hawkeyes are 2-2, with four unimpressive outings. Is this a long hangover from how their 2015 season ended? Or after a magical season where almost everything went their way, are they returning to the norm?
- Maryland. Last week, we speculated that Maryland’s (then) undefeated record might be a mirage, a theory proven emphatically by Penn State. A tangle with Minnesota should help confirm or debunk that notion.
- Northwestern. The Wildcats are 2-3 overall, but don’t count them out of the West race yet. They come off of their bye week with an intriguing matchup against Michigan State (as much as a game featuring two 2-3 Big Ten teams can be intriguing)
- Michigan State. What is going on in East Lansing? The Spartans are 2-3 and have lost three straight. If they are going to salvage a bowl game out this season, beating Northwestern this weekend will be huge.
- Minnesota. The Gophers are not technically out of the West division race, but to keep their hopes alive, they better not lose another game in the next month (at Maryland, Rutgers, at Illinois, Purdue).
- Purdue. It wasn’t pretty, but give credit to Purdue for earning a rare conference road win. With Iowa coming to town, the Boilermakers have an opportunity to keep moving up.
- Illinois. Illini fans are probably the only people in the conference happy that Rutgers is a member of the Big Ten. My condolences to whomever has to broadcast the Illinois – Rutgers game this week. I recommend drinking heavily.
- Rutgers. After losing back to back games by scores of 58-0 and 78-0, I cannot in good conscious put Rutgers at 14. Last place just doesn’t do this team justice. I don’t care that both teams are in the Top 5. I’ll lay down a gauntlet for the Scarlet Knights: Beat Illinois, and you may get #13 next week. Lose to the Illini, and I’ll consider promoting you to #14. Get blown out, and I’ll run these rankings all the way to 50.