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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 10

Let’s get weird

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Indiana Ken Ruinard-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 tenth week of the 2023 season is in the books, and some upsets out West have really messed with the rankings. Let’s get to it!

1. Michigan

The Wolverines, the best team in these rankings, throttled Purdue, the worst team in these rankings, 41-13. Not much else to say about that.

2. Ohio State

Another slow start for OSU, before the Buckeyes pulled away from Rutgers, winning 35-16. #1 in the country seems a bit generous, but what do I know?

3. Penn State

The most thorough game the Lions have played since Iowa saw Penn State rout Maryland 51-15. Maybe some of that can carry through to the game against Michigan?

4. Iowa

I’m going to be honest with you - the rankings from here to the bottom get weird. Look me in the eye and tell me that Iowa beating Northwestern 10-7 is worthy of the #4 spot. Then look at the rest of the conference and tell me who should be here instead. I’m at a loss.

5. Rutgers

The Scarlet Knights came out with their hair on fire against OSU, but depth won the day. Still, RU is likely the next best team in the East, potentially by a wide margin.

6. Illinois

The first upset saw the Illini take down Minnesota 27-26. That not only makes these rankings look foolish, but also could have impacts in conference standings as far as the top of the East goes. Fun for all!

7. Minnesota

You sort of have to feel bad for the Gophers, who could have put themselves in a pretty solid spot contending for the West with a win over lowly Illinois. But, the West can never be easy (or pretty), so here we are.

8. Indiana

Upset #2! The Hoosiers did what many thought unpossible, and defeated Wisconsin 20-14. Perhaps Indiana isn’t as bad as many people think, and Penn State’s struggles with them a week ago were not unfounded?

9. Wisconsin

A rough two weeks, as Wisconsin loses back-to-back games against the East - first OSU, then Indiana.

10. Maryland

After peaking at #4 in these rankings back in Week 6, the Terrapins are hurtling toward the bottom. Without any sort of run game to support a solid day passing the ball, Maryland has not won a game since September.

11. Michigan State

Upset numero tres! The Spartans took down Nebraska 20-17, further messing with the East-West tiebreaker scenario. College football is wild.

12. Nebraska

Rough day at the office for the Cornhuskers, who now need a serious amount of help if they want to make it to Indianapolis.

13. Northwestern

Does anyone here remember the 6-4 game? I do, I was there. This has to be similar to that. Your team needs just one field goal, and they just. can’t. do it.

14. Purdue

Welcome back to the bottom Purdue! We hope you had a nice trip, haven’t seen you down here since Week 4!

Seriously, there’s the top, and then a gigantic mess where no one really wants to stake their claim that they should be up there with the big 3.

Top 3 remain the same, and then chaos ensues. Iowa claims the spot of “best team not named Michigan, Ohio State, or Penn State,” followed by Rutgers who vacated that title just this week. Illinois climbs at Minnesota’s expense. Indiana makes a huge leap, while Wisconsin and Maryland both tumble. Michigan State was tired of the basement, with Nebraska, Northwestern, and Purdue all clambering to move in.

On to week 11!