Often times, college football can shock, stun, and amaze. This past weekend, with five of the conference’s six ranked teams on a bye week, the Big Ten came and went relatively quietly. Purdue recorded a minor upset over Nebraska, while Michigan, Indiana, and Illinois took care of business.
See how rankings reflected the most recent slate of games below.
Big Ten Football Week 11 Power Rankings
No. 14 Rutgers (2-7, 0-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last Week: Loss at Illinois 10-38
After a strong victory last week, Rutgers started off strong in the first half against Illinois. After the 10-10 tie, however, the Scarlet Knights’ offense went dormant again. On a positive note, the team is trending upward for the first time in a long while. Can the team build week over week and carry some confidence into the off-season?
No. 13 Northwestern (1-7, 0-6 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last Week: Loss at Indiana 3-34
The loss to Indiana on Saturday finalized the Wildcats’ fate this season. There will be no bowl game after a Big Ten championship game appearance last season. Alarmingly, the Wildcats have not scored a touchdown in 13 quarters.
No. 12 Maryland (3-6, 1-5 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last Week: Loss against No. 14 Michigan 7-38
After their recent loss to Michigan, Maryland has now lost six out of their last seven games with no room for error if they want to reach bowl eligibility. The Terrapins face Ohio State, Nebraska and Michigan State to close out the season and are favored in the contest against the Cornhuskers. Bowl eligibility is not out of the question, but Maryland has to play like they did at the beginning of the season if they want to pull off two huge upsets.
No. 11 Nebraska (4-5, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last Week: Loss at Purdue 27-31
After a disappointing loss at Purdue, Nebraska looks unlikely to make a bowl game for a 3rd straight season, which would be the longest drought since 1955-1961. Scott Frost’s group has looked good in just one game this year, way back in week 3. The “Blackshirt” defense has given up at least 30 points in six of the last eight games.
No. 10 Purdue (3-6, 2-4 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last Week: Win against Nebraska 31-27
Drew Brees’ motivational speech must have worked. In a scrappy game, Purdue put together enough of an offense and enough of a defense to defeat the Huskers in the return of Adrian Martinez. Freshman wide receiver David Bell continues to be a strong part of the Boilermaker offense during Rondale Moore’s absence.
No. 9 Illinois (5-4, 3-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last Week: Win against Rutgers 38-10
Illinois has won three straight games after starting the season 2-4 and are inching closer to a bowl appearance with three games remaining. The Illini just need one more win and they will be bowling for the first time since 2014 with remaining games coming at Michigan State and Iowa then home against Northwestern.
No. 8 Michigan State (4-4, 2-3 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last Week: Bye Week
The Spartans have completed one of the toughest stretches in the Big Ten this season. According to Sagarin, they have had the 2nd-toughest schedule in the country (behind Northwestern). With Ohio State, Wisconsin, and Penn State out of the way, the Spartans have four chances (including stops at Illinois, Michigan, Rutgers, and Maryland) to earn bowl eligibility.
No. 7 Indiana (7-2, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last Week: Win against Northwestern 34-3
Indiana’s win over Northwestern improved them to 7-2 on the season with three games to go in the regular season. The Hoosiers have three more opportunities to impress the bowl committees for a better location in postseason play. Quarterback Michael Penix returned to start against the Wildcats but left in the second quarter due to an apparent injury. With their second bye week arriving, Tom Allen’s team has a week to get healthy before they finish the season against Penn State, Michigan and Purdue.
No. 6 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last Week: Bye Week
The Hawkeyes are coming off their second bye week of the season and carry a 3-2 conference record into their next matchup against Wisconsin. Both teams are tied for second place in the Big Ten West just two games behind Minnesota for the lead. Iowa faces Minnesota in two weeks and can change the landscape of the west division with wins over their next two opponents.
No. 5 Minnesota (8-0, 5-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 5; Last Week: Bye Week
The road up until this point has been fairly challenge-free for the Gophers. Now the schedule toughens up with three out of their next four opponents being ranked. They will face a top-five Penn State team at home before traveling to Iowa City in the following week.
No. 4 Wisconsin (6-2, 3-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 4; Last Week: Bye Week
Wisconsin will return back from the bye week to face Iowa in an attempt to end a three-game skid. Wisconsin has not lost three games consecutively since 2008 – over a decade ago. The good news is that Wisconsin still has two relatively winnable games before they face Minnesota, which will likely be a determining factor for who goes into the Big Ten Championship game.
No. 3 Michigan (7-2, 4-2 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last Week: Win at Maryland 38-7
In the past three weeks, Michigan lost by one possession to Penn State, crushed Notre Dame, and demolished Maryland. The team has turned around after their drubbing against Wisconsin. The Wolverines play three tough games to close the season against MSU, Indiana, and OSU.
No. 2 Penn State (8-0, 5-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last Week: Bye Week
Ranked #5 in the country, PSU sat back and watched other teams battle it out this weekend. Next week, the Nittany Lions’ push for the College Football Playoff heads to Minneapolis, as they take on the Gophers in a battle of unbeatens.
No. 1 Ohio State (8-0, 5-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last Week: Bye Week
After a week where they destroyed Wisconsin and swept the Big Ten Offensive (Dobbins) and Defensive (Young) Player of the Week awards, the Buckeyes rested up for the home stretch. Fun fact: head coach Ryan Day said his favorite Halloween candy is “peanut butter stuff”. The more you know.
Featured Photo: IndianaHQ