The top of the conference is very steady, but the middle is becoming a logjam of also-rans. The bottom is also very steady, but in a bad way.
As a reminder, this isn’t a ranking of teams based on record, or place in the polls, but rather my assessment of how the teams are playing at the time. If two teams met on a neutral field and played 100 times, a team that wins 51 times gets ranked ahead of the team that wins 49 times.
Let’s see what we got this week, shall we?
1. Ohio State
The Buckeyes were on the bye, and retain their spot at the top.
The Badgers just eviscerated Michigan state 38-0. The biggest weak spot for Wisconsin is their secondary, but it may not matter as every other portion of their game will grind you into dust. The upcoming Wisconsin-OSU game will tell us a lot about both of these teams.
3. Penn State
The Lions went out and defeated Iowa 17-12, in a game they should have won at least 21-12 if not more. They were tested on the road against a tough defense, let’s see how they do at home against a tough Michigan defense this week.
Of the teams at the top, the Wolverines had the worst win. 42-25 over Illinois looks reasonable, until you realize that Michigan squandered a 28-0 lead, letting the Illini get back to 28-25, before pulling away. Illinois is not good at football, and Michigan will need to be better against Penn State in the White Out this week.
Don’t look know, but the Golden Gophers just blasted Nebraska 34-7. Barring anything crazy, Minnesota should be undefeated when Penn State visits town in November, as their next two opponents are Rutgers and Maryland. Let’s add another ranked road game for the Lions, shall we?
Here’s where things start to get messy. Iowa lost 17-12 in a game that wasn’t as close as the score would have you believe. Don’t get me wrong, the Hawkeyes played some fantastic defense, but if the game were called correctly, they lose by at least 4 more points, and likely more. But everyone behind them is increasingly terrible, so the Hawks hang out in the top half.
Then there’s Maryland, who will hang on to their #7 ranking despite being blown out by Purdue, 40-14. Why? Because....
8. Michigan State
The Spartans lost 38-0 to Wisconsin....
Indiana is a 2-loss team who “only” beat Rutgers this weekend....
And Nebraska just got obliterated by Minnesota, 34-7. You could legitimately rank #7 to #10 in any order and it would make sense, or at least have an argument for it. Like I said, after the top 5 teams, the conference is not great. Not ACC-level bad, mind you, but not great.
Yes, the Boilermakers just trounced Maryland, but they’re still a 2-4 team with some odious losses. A single decent win is a start, but doesn’t catapult you into the top half of the conference.
The Wildcats were on a bye, and managed to be passed up by both Indiana and Purdue.
The Illini fought hard to get back into the game with Michigan, and were it not for a late score, would have kept it within 10 points. But they just couldn’t hang on, and so retain their spot down here.
In all seriousness, should someone check on Rutgers? Poke them with a stick or something? Make sure they’re actually still a football program? This is getting heinous.
And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, your updated standings!
The top is getting tight, as OSU, Wisconsin, PSU, and Michigan are all unchanged. Minnesota rises as Iowa falls. Maryland, Michigan State, Indiana, and Nebraska are all interchangeable. Purdue is the best of the worst, while Northwestern falls. Illinois and Rutgers round out the bottom.
Let’s see what week eight brings us!