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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 9

How the West was fun

NCAA Football: Maryland at Northwestern David Banks-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 ninth week of the 2023 season is in the books, and the West has gotten interesting, as Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Nebraska are all tied for the division lead. Let’s get to it!

1. Michigan


2. Ohio State

A slow start for the Buckeyes, who were able to fend off Wisconsin 24-10. They can likely stay in cruise control until The Game.

3. Penn State

A rough game against Indiana, but a 33-24 win is not enough to move them down in these rankings.

4. Rutgers


5. Minnesota

Don’t look now, but the Golden Gophers are now tied for first in the West after their 27-12 win over Michigan State. Should set up to be a fun November.

6. Iowa


7. Wisconsin

The Badgers fought hard against OSU, but couldn’t pull off the upset. They’re now in a battle for the West.

8. Maryland

The worst loss of the weekend belongs to Maryland, who fell to Northwestern 33-27. After a 5-0 start, the Terrapins are in free fall.

9. Illinois


10. Nebraska

Somehow, some way, the Cornhuskers are now in contention for the West, and don’t have Ohio State or Michigan left on their schedule. Once again - looks like November is going to be fun.

11. Northwestern

Speaking of fun! The Wildcats are just one game back in the West, and could make some noise yet out there, especially if they keep toppling teams higher than them in these rankings.

12. Indiana

The Hoosiers really gave it to Penn State, but couldn’t quite pull out the win. They may have some life left in them.

13. Purdue

Quite a tumble for the Boilermakers, who were pushing towards middle of the pack just a couple weeks ago. Now they appear to be in a race to the bottom of the conference.

14. Michigan State

Speaking of, MSU now appears to be listless, just trying to get to the end of the season.

There continues to be a fairly sharp divide between the top, the middle, and the bottom.

Top 4 are unchanged, but the West is getting frisky. Minnesota, Iowa, and Wisconsin are a jumbled mess, while Maryland is heading the wrong way. Illinois holds steady, with Nebraska and Northwestern (?) on the rise. Indiana idles, and gets passed by Purdue. Michigan State holds steady in the basement.

On to week 10!