Welcome to Week 7 everyone!
We are back for another addition of the Big Ten power rankings. Not a whole lot of surprises this week but there are still a number of very bad teams in this conference which makes this a harder project.
Thankfully, my rankings are thorough enough that I will not only rank them but place them into tiers and make sure to provide reasons why! These, of course, are official and should be taken very seriously. Let’s dive in!
14. Indiana Hoosiers (2-3)
Indiana was off last week. They currently rank 109th in total offense averaging and 64th in total defense. They only have 11 total touchdowns on the year and their young QB Tayven Jackson has struggled throwing only two TDs and 3 interceptions.
They have a ways to go on both sides of the ball and a difficult schedule left with Michigan, Penn State, and Wisconsin all still left on the schedule.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-4)
I have no idea what has happened to Illinois this year. Coming into the year, Illinois was a popular “sleeper” pick to win the West. At the very least, they should have been a lock to make a bowl game this year.
To this point, they haven’t shown any signs of being a team that should be feared. Their defense currently ranks 99th in total defense while their offense ranks 80th. If their defense doesn't start to improve, they’ll struggle to keep games competitive down the stretch.
12. Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-3)
Minnesota looked lost in their loss to Michigan on Saturday night.
Athan Kaliakamanis has not taken the next step that many were hoping he would. He’s thrown 6 TDs and 6 INTs, including two pick-sixes against Michigan.
Minnesota’s total offense currently ranks 118th which is 3rd worst in the B1G and their defense ranks 70th in total defense. Not a great recipe for a successful season.
At some point, Minnesota may start to put it together, but they need to get more from their passing game and their defense needs to improve to help keep them in games. I also think P.J. Fleck may have one foot out the door, but I guess we’ll see about that.
11. Michigan State Spartans (2-3)
I have no idea if Michigan State should be here or somewhere lower. The fires going on with the program have understandably affected the play on the field.
We’ll see how they finish the year, but their offense is shaky and their defense isn’t up to the task of keeping them in games.
10. Northwestern Wildcats (3-3)
Northwestern is still in the top 10 but Nebraska jumped them after last week. They barely beat Howard last week and that game should’ve been easier for them if they wanted to stay in the 9 spot. However, I think they could still cause some of their remaining opponents issues. If they get one more win, that would be a successful season in my book considering everything they had gone on before the season started.
Middle of the Big Ten West
9. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-3)
It pains me to put Nebraska this high, but they took care of business against Illinois and given how marginal the gap is between the bottom half of the B1G teams, they slot in at No. 9.
They are the biggest movers from last week. Nebraska currently ranks 27th in total defense and they are 102nd in total offense. Pretty much the typical B1G West team.
I think they have a favorable remaining schedule and a really strong opportunity to make a bowl game in Matt Rhule’s first year.
8. Purdue Boilermakers (2-4)
Purdue didn’t play great last week against Iowa and they still kept the game really close. Their offense struggled the entire game and will need to improve if they want to keep their current ranking.
They still feel like the 3rd best team in the West, which speaks more about the strength of the West than it does about Purdue.
We’ll see what happens when they play teams like Northwestern and Nebraska.
7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (4-2)
I gave Rutgers their own tier because they are literally right in the middle of the conference. They lost last week to Wisconsin but they don’t make many mistakes and their defense has kept them in games.
We’ll see if their offense, which currently ranks 108th in the NCAA, can improve and get them to a bowl game.
Worst offense in college football
6. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-1)
130th out of 130 total FBS teams in total offense. Last weekend, Deacon Hill completed only 6 passes, while zero of those completions were to wide receivers, and they still found a way to beat Purdue.
The good news for Iowa is that their defense ranks 29th in total defense and their special teams unit is as good as any in the country.
They can muddy up the games and cause problems for opposing offenses, which is still a recipe for success, even if their offense is awful.
Unknown and in the middle
5. Maryland (5-1)
If you watched the first half of the Maryland and Ohio State game last week, it looked like Maryland had a chance to knock off a big dog.
But, in the second half, Ohio State pulled away and showed that Maryland is still not up to the task of competing with the likes of the Top 3 teams in the East.
They’ll still make a decent bowl game, but I don’t think Maryland is anything more than that yet.
4. Wisconsin Badgers (4-1)
A nice win against Rutgers moves the Badgers up. If they take care of business this weekend, they should be able to Win the west without much problem.
They still haven’t played a complete game yet but I do think they have more potential than any other Big Ten West team at this point.
Our only hope
3. Ohio State Buckeyes (5-0)
Ohio State took care of business against Maryland but remains firm at number 3. They’ll get an opportunity to move up when they face Penn State in two weekends.
2. Penn State Nittany Lions (5-0)
Penn State was off last week and has a cupcake opponent this weekend. We won’t know how good Penn State truly is until they play Ohio State but their defense currently ranks 1st in all the FBS in total defense through five games, while their offense ranks 45th.
1. Michigan Wolverines (6-0)
Michigan blew the doors off of Minnesota last weekend and they appear to be rounding into mid-season form.
I wouldn’t be surprised if they made their remaining six games look just as easy as their first six games. We probably won’t know much more about Michigan until they play Penn State on the second Saturday of November.
At the moment, they are by far the best team in the Big Ten.