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Big Ten Power Rankings — Week 6

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Sparty rises, while the Wolverines fall.

NCAA Football: Michigan State at Michigan Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

1. Penn State (6-0, 3-0)

The Nittany Lions have been far from perfect this year, but if you look at the rest of the Big Ten, I think it’s fair to say Penn State is the most complete team. Yes, the offense isn’t playing to the level it was at the end of the 2016 season, but this is still the best unit in the Big Ten. Toss in a really freaking good defense, and the Nittany Lions will be tough to beat.

2. Ohio State (5-1, 3-0)

Not to take anything away from scoring 62 points, but this is the exact same thing Ohio State offense did last year. It could score at will against inferior opponents, but froze up when going against better teams. Until the Buckeyes prove this isn’t the same old story, I’m still hesitant to believe in the offense.

3. Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0)

Despite Nebraska being a pile of hot garbage, going into Lincoln at night is no joke. The Badgers are who they have been for the past 20 years — power running game, strong defense. With their two toughest games (Iowa and Michigan) at home, it’s difficult to see the Badgers not finishing at worst 11-1.

4. Michigan State (4-1, 2-0)

Welcome back, Sparty. Mark Dantonio has turned things around in East Lansing, beating Michigan in the Big House 14-10. The next three games — @Minnesota, Indiana, and @Northwestern — shouldn’t be too tough for Michigan State, meaning the Spartans should be 7-1 when they host Penn State on November 4th.

5. Michigan (4-1, 1-1)

This Michigan squad is 2011 Penn State, except there’s no Rob Bolden. Seriously, how can Michigan’s offense be so bad? As soon as it went down 14-3, the game was pretty much over. Unfortunately for the Wolverines, the schedule doesn’t get any easier, with @Penn State, @Wisconsin, and Ohio State still on the docket.

6. Iowa (4-2, 1-2)

The Hawkeyes took care of business against Illinois, but despite the 45-16 scoreline, this game was closer than what the box score says. Iowa only led 24-16 heading into the 4th quarter, and while it pulled away, you’d like to think the Hawkeyes wouldn’t struggle against one of the Big Ten bottom-feeders.

7. Purdue (3-2, 1-1)

Purdue came from behind to defeat Minnesota 31-17 in a pivotal game for the Boilermakers. Now at three wins, Purdue is sitting pretty for a bowl trip. H*ck, 8-4 isn’t out of the question from Jeff Brohm’s squad.

8. Indiana (3-2, 0-2)

The Hoosiers cruised past Charleston Southern, but now the real test begins. Indiana will face Michigan, @Michigan State, and Wisconsin in three of its next four games, making it without a doubt the toughest stretch of the season.

9. Northwestern (2-3, 0-2)

Honestly, the Big Ten gets pretty bad down here. The Wildcats have no offensive line, and Clayton Thorson’s struggles aren’t helping much. Going to College Park to face Maryland will be a good litmus test for Northwestern.

10. Maryland (3-2, 1-1)

What once looked like a promising season for Maryland, doesn’t look exactly promising anymore. The Terrapins very well could be down to their fourth-string quarterback. Not sure any program has had worse luck with quarterbacks staying healthy than Maryland.

11. Minnesota (3-2, 0-2)

Purdue was a game that the Gophers needed to win if they wanted to get back to a bowl game, because the rest of the schedule isn’t kind.

12. Nebraska (3-3, 2-1)

Scott Frost and UCF massacred Cincinnati.

13. Illinois (2-3, 0-2)

Illinois bad.

14. Rutgers (1-4, 0-2)

Rutgers didn’t lose because it didn’t play this week.