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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 6

Oopsie poopsie

NCAA Football: Maryland at Ohio State Joseph Maiorana-USA TODAY Sports

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.

The sixth week of the 2023 season is in the books, and I am just now getting these rankings posted. My bad! I trust the commenters will be merciful and grant me clemency, and won’t rake me over the coals in any way, shape or form. Let’s get to it!

1. Penn State


2. Michigan

The Wolverines appear to be rounding into form, their latest win a 52-10 schwacking of Minnesota.

3. Ohio State

Oooh are those cracks in the armor I see? The Buckeyes escaped Maryland with a 37-17 win, but they did not look very good in the process. Can these nuts be cracked?.

4. Maryland

I almost thought the September magic was going to persevere when the Terps went up 10-0 on the Buckeyes, but they couldn’t hold on. Still, they played well and continue to be a dangerous team.

5. Wisconsin

A 24-13 win over Rutgers is a solid win, which is a weird sentence to type.

6. Iowa

BRIAN FERENTZ WATCH: The Hawkeyes scored 20 points, which is lower than the 25 PPG that Brian Ferentz needs to keep his job, and is well below the clip Iowa needs to sustain to get there over the course of the season.

Oh, yeah, and Iowa won 20-14 over Purdue.

7. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights played well in their 24-13 loss to Wisconsin, which in previous seasons would have been a blowout.

8. Minnesota

Bad day at the office for the Fightin’ PJ Flecks.

9. Purdue

The chaos continues for Purdue, who couldn’t manage to outpace Iowa’s prolific offense in a 20-14 loss. Which Purdue team will show up next week?

10. Indiana


11. Nebraska

A 20-7 win over Illinois rights the ship a bit, but Illinois is pretty terrible soooooo.

12. Illinois

Illinois has fallen a long way from last year’s team.

13. Michigan State


14. Northwestern

C’mon Northwestern. Yes, you won, and yes, you’re halfway to bowl eligibility, but a 3-point win over Howard? Goodness.

My squiggles don’t wiggle wiggle, they fold.

You’re not going to believe this, but the entire conference kept their rankings from last week, a first for these rankings. No, it’s not because I’m lazy and realized late last night that I had forgotten to write this article for Monday, thankyouverymuch. Legitimately, I didn’t see many results that would warrant a move. The two biggest ones - Michigan’s 52-10 win over Minnesota and Northwestern’s 23-20 win over Howard - didn’t really move the needle for me. I could perhaps have moved Michigan to the top spot, but at this point the top 3 are interchangeable until they play each other. I could have moved Minnesota down but do you think they’re realistically worse than Purdue, or Indiana? And Northwestern already occupied the bottom spot, I can’t drop them any farther. So yes, for the first time, your rankings look the same for two weeks straight.

On to week 7!