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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 6

Here are my Big Ten power rankings after the first five weeks of the season.

Welcome to week six everyone!

It’s time for another Big Ten power rankings and despite a rather uneventful weekend, I am prepared to share some scorching hot takes that I am sure will send some serious shock waves through the Big Ten world.

I am mixing it up this week by adding in tiers, because, quite frankly, some of these teams are so bad I can’t differentiate between them. Let’s get into it!

The terrible, awful, bottom of the barrel:

14. Indiana Hooisers (2-3)

Indiana checks in at 14. They got beaten so bad I thought about putting them at 15.

Indiana had everything going in the right direction during the 2020 COVID season. What happened?

I thought they would maybe be a tad bit better this year but after Maryland beat them 44-17, I think it’s safe to say they are a lock to finish in the bottom position in the conference.

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers(2-3)

I mean, they didn’t even get off the bus last week.

Scott Frost was a lock to at least cover in this game. Nebraska might’ve even scored points in the first half with him at the helm!

I am sure Nebraska has a few surprising wins left in them this year, but they are trending toward missing a bowl game yet again.

12. Minnesota Golden Gophers(3-2)

Minnesota checks in here because they lost to Northwestern two weeks ago and even though they beat Louisiana-Lafayette, they still had to sweat that one out.

Are there actually 12 teams better than Minnesota in the Big Ten? Probably not. I think they’ll win their fair share of games against bad Big Ten West opponents.

But, for now, that Northwestern loss is burned into my memory.

11. Michigan State Spartans(2-3)

I want to put Michigan State lower, but I can’t. I cannot sit here in my armchair and say they are worse than the three teams behind them. They should have found a way to beat Iowa last weekend.

I would understand if people had a problem with MSU being ahead of Minnesota but that debate will be settled in week nine.

Possibly something more than awful

10. Illinois Fighting Illini(2-3)

Illinois losing to Purdue did not surprise me. The manner in which they lost was surprising though.

Purdue dominated especially in the second half. Where in the world is the Illinois defense that was touted all through the offseason? Jim Leonhard deserves better!

I will acknowledge there were some missed opportunities for Illinois so I don’t think the score says it all, but this is not the start Illinois was expected to have to the season.

9. Northwestern Wildcats(2-3)

Yes, Northwestern is at 9. This will likely be their last week in the top 10. That win over Minnesota has inflated their position in my brain.

I watched their first-half performance against Penn State and I thought, ‘Is Northwestern actually not bad?’ and then the second half happened.

They aren’t good but they are frisky enough to cause teams problems if they hang around long enough.


8. Purdue Boilermakers(2-3)

I am on the Purdue wagon. They are going to be Wisconsin’s best friend moving forward. Their win against Illinois confirmed to me that they are going to be tough out the rest of the way. They have a solid offense with a defense that will slowly get better throughout the year.

I’ll be rooting for them outside of their scheduled losses against Michigan and Ohio State later this year. Chaos is Purdue in the West!

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers, welcome to the party. They are an improved football team and even though they have a tough schedule they are going to pick a few teams off this year.

Could it happen this weekend against Wisconsin? I really hope not. But they have a good running game and a stingy defense. Watch out for Rutgers everyone.

More Questions than Answers

6. Iowa Hawkeyes(4-1)

Iowa beat Michigan State but lost their starting quarterback, Cade McNamara, for the rest of the year.

Wisconsin transfer Deacon Hill is now their starting quarterback and even though he pulled this one out, I am not sure he’ll keep Iowa in the race for the west.

Their special teams and defense should keep them in every game…but we’ll see how they look against Purdue this weekend before we know for sure what sort of chances Iowa has this year.

5. Wisconsin Badgers(3-1)

Yes, I dropped Wisconsin even though they had a bye. But, we still have a ton of questions about how good this team can be. The run defense has been suspect and the Badgers offense has been hot and cold.

They are clearly the front runners in the West with Iowa losing their starting quarterback but that doesn’t mean they won’t slip up somewhere along the way.

Hopefully, they’ll only get better but the transition they are going through is still going to cause problems going forward.

4. Maryland Terrapins(5-0)

Maryland looks like it will be a very tough out this year, even for the big-time programs in the East. They are kind of balling out? Especially last week against Indiana.

This week, we’ll learn a lot more when they play Ohio State. I’m excited to see what happens with them from here on out.

Playoff Contenders

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

Yes, I know their win against Notre Dame is impressive but they also seem to be a notch below where they have been in years past.

If they beat up on Maryland this week then I think I can justify moving them up but for now, I still think they have quite a bit to prove.

2. Penn State Nittany Lions

First half Penn State did not look like the number two team in the conference this week. Second half Penn State is absolutely the number two team in the conference.

They have a bye, a cupcake, and then Ohio State. Fingers crossed they are both undefeated and headed into that game.

1. Michigan Wolverines

Good Job Michigan. You beat up on Nebraska just like you should have. Now do us a favor and do the same to Minnesota this week.

There are a couple of teams right on Michigan’s heels in this power ranking but they have met the eye test to this point.