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 9 is in the books and the more I make tweaks to these rankings, the more they look like rankings of years past. Let’s get to it!
1. Ohio State
Ah so close. OSU was on the ropes against Penn State before throwing four haymakers in the fourth, putting the kibosh on any upset hopes the Lions had. Nice to have nonstop top 5 recruiting classes!
Next up, away at Northwestern (oh my sweet summer children).
The Wolverines beat Michigan State on the field, then Michigan State tried to beat the Wolverines off it. Neither went well for the Spartans.
Next up, away at Rutgers (oh my sweet summer children redux).
3. Penn State
The Lions came out and gave Ohio State all they could, but ultimately could not overcome four turnovers, succumbing 44-31. The Gauntlet is over, and PSU turns to November with eyes on a potential New Year’s Six bowl game.
Next up, away at Indiana (letdown time?).
The best team in the West, the Fighting Illini pasted Nebraska 26-9. As it stands right now, they will have the honor of being the team from the West that gets embarrassed by the winner of OSU/Michigan in Indianapolis in just over a month.
Next up, home vs. Michigan State.
The Terps were idle, but remain a tough foe in the East. A looming game in Madison could test their offense.
Next up, away at Wisconsin.
The Boilermakers were idle, and are looking up at Illinois in the rankings. Nothing else to it but to do it.
Next up, home vs. Iowa.
A week after getting pantsed by Penn State, the Gophers pantsed Rutgers 31-0. It’s not kind to pants people, kids.
Next up, away at Nebraska.
8. Michigan State
Not a great look for the Spartans having players appear to beat a Michigan player with their helmets, but we’ll let due process sort itself out. On the field, MSU appears to be in a death spiral, and will need to start stringing some wins together if they hope to make a bowl game.
Next up, away at Illinois.
The Cornhuskers got stomped by Illinois, and are in danger of missing the postseason. They’ll need to all but win out to get to a warmer destination this winter.
Next up, home vs. Minnesota.
The Badgers were idle, and will return to action facing a dynamic Maryland offense. Can Wisconsin continue the momentum it found against Purdue?
Next up, home vs. Maryland.
A 33-13 win over Northwestern isn’t really bragging rights, but a win is a win and if the Hawkeyes have any hopes of getting back to Indianapolis, they’ll need a bunch of them in November.
Next up, away at Purdue.
A week after their first home Big Ten win in years, and the Scarlet Knights get shut out. The football gods giveth and the football gods taketh away.
Next up, home vs. Michigan (and when they taketh away, they taketh AWAY).
The Hoosiers were idle, recuperating and preparing themselves for PUNT WEEK.
Next up, home vs. Penn State.
One more loss on the year and NW will be officially bowl ineligible.
Next up, home vs. Ohio State (we should probably just say that they’re bowl ineligible now).
Feliz navidad, prospero squiggle y felicidad.
OSU, Michigan and Penn State stay at the top, while Illinois rises as the cream of the West. Maryland swaps a spot with the Illini, and Purdue stands pat. Minnesota flip flops with Michigan State, while Nebraska and Wisconson hold steady. Iowa rebounds while Rutgers dips. Indiana and Northwestern appear to be firm in the basement of the East and West, respectively.
On to Week 10!