Week 7 Big 10 Power Rankings
As mentioned by Devin Jackson and myself on this week’s B1G Shots Podcast (available on iTunes and Spotify), the “mushy middle” of the B1G conference expands every week. If I’m being truly honest, I only have a real good feeling about who 4 of the teams in the conference truly are, the rest are inconsistent or suffering through some form of identity crisis, but alas, I am back once again to definitively rank the conference once again.
Ohio State (Last Week: #1)
Surprise, surprise, Ohio State won in convincing fashion. Granted, Michigan St was by far the toughest challenge they’ve faced to date and had the Buckeyes not had a few lucky bounces, the game would have been a lot closer than the 34-10 final. Next week the Buckeyes get a week off, so I don’t expect them to go anywhere in the rankings anytime soon.
Wisconsin (Last Week: #2)
What is there to say about Wisconsin this past week? They faced Kent State while the rest of the conference played games that mattered. Jonathan Taylor did what he does, scoring 5 TDs in the first half. This is what should have happened, glad to see the Badgers didn’t play down to their competition. This coming week is a true test in a hungry Michigan State team.
Penn State (Last Week: #3)
Penn State kicked Purdue while they were down last week and the front 7 looked dominant as ever racking up 10 sacks on a defenseless Jack Plummer. The offense did what it needed to do and ultimate the Nittany Lions waltzed out with a 35-7 win. Penn State has Iowa this week.
Minnesota (Last Week: #6)
As long as Minnesota keeps winning, they’ll keep climbing the rankings. If you’ve read these pieces before, national ranking means nothing, so despite being unranked, the Gophers still come in higher than 2 B1G teams that are in the national top 25. Minnesota won with a running game that looked unlocked for the first time this year. This gives the Golden Gophers an edge going forward as they have a dynamic offense, something most teams in the conference have struggled to achieve this year.
Michigan State (Last Week: #5)
The Spartans looked good in their effort against the Buckeyes last week. They held Ohio State to their lowest point total of the season and the front 7 was their usual self. Brian Lewerke had a slight uptick on his usual performance, as mentioned in my stock report. While they came up short in the end, Michigan State still comes in at 4-2 and one of the more consistent teams in the conference
Michigan (Last Week: #7)
Congrats Michigan, you finally got yourself out of the #7 seed in the conference after two weeks there, you only had to play one of the most boring games I’ve had to watch in a long while. The Wolverines’ defense came to play, annihilating the Hawkeyes’ bookend offensive tackles. Kwity Paye showed out by getting 2.5 sacks, and Michigan came away with 4 turnovers. The reason I haven’t mentioned the offense, it’s still being led by Shea Patterson who did everything in his power to try to throw the game away. This game was ugly, but at least Michigan’s defense has awoken.
Iowa (Last week: #4)
Oh boy Iowa. Where to even start? This game was bowling shoe ugly and Iowa’s offense looked even worse. When you immediately upstage Joel Klatt who says, “Iowa has only turned the ball over once all season” and then you fumble and turn it over on your first play, that’s a sign. Nate Stanley went from 0 interceptions in 4 games to 3 interceptions in one week, that’s rough. When you go from having potentially B1G contending team to playing hot potato with Michigan, you fall 3 places in the standings. The vaunted Iowa offensive line got its wings clipped this week and Alaric Jackson and Tristan Wirfs were replaced by traffic cones it seems. Ugly week, and as a result, I’m scared to see the outcome vs Penn St.
Indiana (Last Week: #8)
The Hoosiers had a bye and will not move up or down as a result
Nebraska (Last Week: #9)
Nebraska won ugly; however, Adrian Martinez left the game with injury, something to note going forward. This Cornhusker team is a tough one to determine, they win, but never convincingly and may end up being an overrated 8 win team by season’s end.
Maryland (Last Week: #10)
The Terps beat Rutgers, as is precedent in these rankings that is treated as a bye week.
Illinois (Last Week: #12)
Illinois lost, but they move up this week due to a difference in confidence between them and their competition for the position. The Illini are 2-3 but could just as easily be 4-1. Lovie Smith needs to save this season, or his job will be in serious jeopardy come late November.
Northwestern (Last Week: #11)
At least Northwestern stopped banging their head against a brick wall trying to make Hunter Johnson happen. They learned their lesson and sat him this week. It made no difference. The Wildcats couldn’t beat a Nebraska team that was vulnerable with injury while also playing down to the level of competition. This season has been a disappointment. If Pat Fitzgerald wasn’t so beloved in Evanston for all he’s done, he’d be on the hot seat. Things are looking bleak in terms of a bowl game as Northwestern sits at 1-4 with games against Ohio State, Iowa and Minnesota still to come.
Purdue (Last Week: #13)
Purdue got creamed as everyone expected they would, playing with “more names on their injury list than there are signatures on the Declaration of Independence” as I put it on this weeks B1G Shots. The good news for Purdue is that Rondale Moore’s injury looks more optimistic now than it did at the time. What was believed to be a potentially ugly knee injury that could cost him his season has been diagnosed as a tweaked hamstring and his status is week to week. QB Elijah Sindelar however is likely done for the season (Out 6-8 weeks with a broken collarbone). This season is cooked, and whereas last year he stuck around, don’t be shocked if Jeff Brohm bails for another school this offseason,
Rutgers (Last Week: #14)
Rutgers did what they do best this week against Maryland, they allowed a team to find their mojo against them. First it was Michigan, now it’s Maryland. This coming week is Indiana. The Rutgers Scarlet Night Off- I mean Knights- got even more bad news this week when it was announced that starting QB Art Sitkowski and offensive weapon Raheem Blackshear have opted to redshirt themselves as the program plays out the rest of the year without a viable head coach. The Knights are looking down the barrel of a schedule that only sees them face one team below .500 (Illinois on November 2). This has a 1-11 season written all over it.