We have a new clear No. 1 in the conference after last weekend. Honestly, a lot of the reason Iowa is No. 1 is not based on how they played, but that they just ended up winning the game and now they stay in the driver seat for the rest of the season as they play all unranked teams in their road to the Big Ten Championship. However, the East looks as mixed as ever where it is anyone’s chance to win it. By anyone, we mean Penn State, OSU, Michigan and Michigan State as none of these four top-10 teams have played each other yet despite the season being half over. Expect a wild ride as the second half of the season gets underway.
October 11th Big Ten Football Power Rankings
No. 14 Northwestern (2-3, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last: Bye
Northwestern was off this week. They host Rutgers on Saturday.
No. 13 Illinois (2-5, 1-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last: Loss against Wisconsin 24-0
Illinois laid their first goose egg of the 2021-22 season this year when they lost to Wisconsin 24-0 this past week. The Fighting Illini had virtually no offense with a total of 67 passing yards and 26 rushing yards for the entire game. Their defense gave up 100 passing yards…that’s good, right? The bad news is they gave up 391 rushing yards, 176 of which coming from just two players. Things do not get any easier for Illinois after their upcoming bye week as they travel to Happy Valley on Oct. 23, facing an angry Penn State. I don’t know about you but I am thinking back-to-back goose eggs.
No. 12 Maryland (4-2, 1-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last: Loss at No. 7 Ohio State 66-17
The Terrapins defense is exactly who we thought they were. The problem? Their offense did not produce the way they had the first four weeks of the season. No.7 Ohio State took care of business against Maryland and handed them their biggest loss of the season of 66-17. Maryland’s defense gave up over 400 yards in the air and over 150 on the ground. The Terrapins also have a bye; then, they will travel to Minnesota looking for a bounce back win.
No. 11 Indiana (2-3, 0-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last: Bye
Indiana did not play this week as it was their bye week. The Hoosiers will take the break to get healthy on both sides of the ball and prepare to host No. 10 Michigan State next weekend. MSU will be fourth top ten opponent in six games for Indiana. Certainly there are no excuses, for the Hoosiers but their schedule has been a gauntlet, and it does not stop anytime soon.
No. 10 Rutgers (3-3, 0-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last: Loss against No. 11 Michigan St. 31-13
Predictably, Rutgers is again struggling after starting the season off hot against lesser teams. They lost to Michigan State in convincing fashion 31-13 and just cannot seem to keep up with much of the Big Ten competition. In particular their defense had given up nearly 350 yards passing and 250 yards rushing against Michigan State, which isn’t easy to overcome at the end of the day.
No. 9 Wisconsin (2-3, 1-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: Win at Illinois 24-0
A much needed win for Wisconsin on the road at Illinois. They played great football and relied on their running backs to chew up nearly 400 yards on the day. It is tough to say where Wisconsin lies in the rankings (in the top pool or bottom pool of the conference), but at this point they still have not proven themselves to be at the same level as any of the currently ranked teams.
No. 8 Purdue (3-2, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: Bye
Purdue didn’t play this week as they get ready to travel to No. 2 Iowa. Good luck, it won’t be easy. Their best wins on the season have been to Oregon St. and Illinois by less than two touchdowns combined.
No. 7 Minnesota (3-2, 1-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last: Bye
Some good news: after suffering an injury at Purdue, Minnesota RB Trey Potts returned to Minneapolis on Friday after six days in the hospital. The bad news: the injury sidelined Potts for the season. Gophers had a bye week and face Nebraska on Saturday.
No. 6 Nebraska (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: Loss against No. 9 Michigan 32-29
After falling behind 13-0 at halftime, Nebraska deserves credit for fighting back and jumping out in front of Michigan before the conclusion of the third quarter. The Huskers even held a lead late in the fourth, but a crushing Adrian Martinez fumble with 2:33 left led to a game-winning Wolverine field goal. Frankly, it’s hard to find three more wins on Nebraska’s schedule, which they need for bowl eligibility.
No. 5 Penn State (5-1, 2-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last: Loss at No. 3 Iowa 23-20
After jumping ahead to a 17-3 lead, Penn State fell apart. QB Sean Clifford was ruled out of the game with an undisclosed injury in the second quarter, initiating a complete offensive collapse. Clifford’s replacement sophomore Ta’Quan Roberson struggled mightily, finishing with two interceptions and only 34 yards. Despite a strong defensive performance, PSU’s offensive woes were simply too much to overcome. Clifford’s injury and status remain unclear. Luckily, Penn State has a bye week coming up before posting Illinois on October 23.
No. 4 Michigan State (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last: Win at Rutgers 31-13
There are six teams in the Big Ten West with three or fewer wins. MSU has notched three *true road* wins this year, including Saturday. The Spartans had a player throw for 300+ yards (Payton Thorne), run for 200+ yards (Kenneth Walker III), and grab 200+ receiving yards (Jalen Nailor) in the same game. That’s the 5th such occurrence in FBS history. Next up? A trip to Bloomington to face IU.
No. 3 Michigan (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last: Win at Nebraska 32-29
Cade McNamara did throw his first pick of the season, but a powerful rushing attack led by Hassan Haskins’ 123 yards and two TDs led Michigan to its sixth win in six games. All 29 points that the Wolverines gave up came in the second half, so that will be an area of focus for Harbaugh during the bye week.
No. 2 Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last: Win vs. Maryland 66-17
Ohio State blew out Maryland in impressive fashion. CJ Stroud threw for 406 yards and five touchdowns with four different receivers registering more than 60 yards. In particular, Chris Olave continues to stake his claim as the best receiver in the nation with another 120 yards and two touchdowns this weekend on seven receptions for an average of 17.1 yards per catch. The Buckeyes have a bye week before traveling to Bloomington to take on IU.
No. 1 Iowa (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last: Win against No. 4 Penn State 23-20
Iowa has proven their dominance over the B1G with their latest victory coming against No. 4 ranked Penn State. The Hawkeyes defense continued to perform at a high level, snagging four interceptions and increasing their margin for most in the country. The offense was slow in the first half but made the big plays necessary when needed to walk away with a top 10 ranked victory and move them to No. 2 in the latest AP top 25 poll.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ