Hello there and welcome to the Big Ten Power Rankings! Each week we’ll rank how the teams across the conference are playing, in the hopes of seeing just who is a contender, and who is a pretender over the course of the season.
The rules are few, but resolute:
- Teams are ranked by how they’re playing at that time. Not body of work, not rankings in the polls, but simply how each team is playing at that point in the season.
- The approach to the rankings is not necessarily on the field results (though those do count, as an obvious, tangible data point), but more generally if the two teams played at a neutral site 100 times, which team would win 51 times (or more).
- These rankings are subjective. As the author I get to follow the rules as closely or loosely as I want to, and if you don’t like the rankings, you’re wrong.
Week 7 is in the books and a clear gulf is forming between the best of the Big Ten and the rest. Let’s get to it!
1. Ohio State
Ohio State was idle, but holds onto the top spot, by virtue of having murked everyone they’ve played so far.
Next up, home vs Iowa.
I’d really rather not talk about this game too much, other than point out that the 41-17 score was much, much closer than the game itself would indicate, and simply note that the top 2 teams in the league are head and shoulders above everyone else.
Next up, idle.
The Boilermakers hung on against the Cornhuskers, winning 43-37, and have put themselves in prime position in the West. The showdown with Illinois looms as what will likely decide the fate of the Big Ten West.
Next up, away at Wisconsin.
Maryland has been a bit of a Jekyll and Hyde this year, playing more or less to the level of their opponent. If you’ll recall, they lost by just a touchdown to Michigan earlier in the year, and now this week just barely beat Indiana 38-33. A win is a win, however.
Next up, home vs. Northwestern.
5. Penn State
I’m feeling a bit generous this morning by not placing the Lions in the foundation, beneath the basement of these rankings. That was an awful performance in virtually every facet of the game. Michigan does not out-recruit Penn State, spends similar money on facilities, coaching staffs, etc., and yet PSU looked like a JV squad out there. Supremely frustrating to always be the bridesmaid, but somehow the team has to bounce back because the coming week won’t be much better.
Next up, home vs. Minnesota.
The Illini took care of Minnesota, 26-14, setting up a showdown with Purdue later in the season for the West. The turnaround that Bret Bielema has accomplished is nothing short of amazing, and I’m starting to root for the dudes in orange.
Next up, idle.
The Gophers got Mo Ibrahim back, but it didn’t matter, as the Illini got the win. Minnesota is still a tough team, make no bones about it, but their chance for a B1G title game appearance has all but vanished. Two teams will face off this coming week with seemingly very little on the line.
Next up, away at Penn State.
8. Michigan State
Speaking of little on the line, the Spartans could very easily have thrown in the towel on their season, but they battled and got the 34-28 win over Wisconsin in double overtime.
Next up, idle.
The Hawkeyes were idle, and get to face off against a murder machine next week.
Next up, away at Ohio State.
Just when Big Red had some momentum going in these rankings, they fail to pull off the upset over Purdue. Maybe next season!
Next up, idle.
Speaking of losing momentum, Wisconsin looked like it had finally sorted out its offensive issues, then goes and lays an egg against Michigan State. The battle for the bottom of the West is a fierce one.
Next up, home vs Purdue.
The Scarlet Knights were idle, and hop back into the bottom of the East’s fray this week.
Next up, home vs Indiana.
Two weeks in a row the Hoosiers played a good opponent close, but couldn’t quite seal the deal. Gives you some hope for them for the rest of the season, starting with this week’s game against RU.
Next up, away at Rutgers.
The Wildcats sat idle, preventing them from dropping further in these rankings. Can they claw their way up the ladder in the second half of their season?.
Next up, away at Maryland.
Off to squiggle squiggle land.
OSU and Michigan have separated themselves at the top, while Purdue and Maryland rise. Penn State drops, and Illinois is on the rise. Minnesota slips a spot, while Michigan State, Iowa, Nebraska, and Wisconsin all shuffle (check out that convergence point, y’all). Rutgers and Indiana will battle for Worst in the East™, and Northwestern does it’s thing at the bottom.
On to Week 8!