Big Ten Power Rankings: Surging Northwestern moves up to No. 5
All hail Ohio State, which showed why it is king of the Big Ten with a gutty overtime win at Wisconsin.
The Buckeyes remain atop my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal; in fact the top four teams remain the same this week, with suddenly surging Northwestern moving up five spots to round out the top 5.
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See my full list below.
1. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0). It wasn’t always pretty, but the Buckeyes found a way to grind out an OT win at No. 8 Wisconsin. This team may be special.
Last week: 1
Up next: at Penn State
2. Michigan (6-0, 3-0). The Wolverines were off after jetting to a 6-0 start vs. largely unimpressive competition. We will find out more about Michigan in the second half of the season.
Last week: 2
Up next: vs. Illinois
3. Nebraska (6-0, 3-0). The Huskers are off to a 6-0 start for the first time since 2001 but have games left at Wisconsin, at Ohio State and at Iowa.
Last week: 3
Up next: vs. Purdue
4. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-2). The Badgers came oh-so-close to knocking off No. 2 Ohio State. This team has a bright future. How good will QB Alex Hornibrook be?
Last week: 4
Up next: at Iowa
5. Northwestern (3-3, 2-1). The Wildcats already have won at Iowa and at Michigan State. Northwestern is a very dangerous team whose offense has come to life with 38 and 54 points in the last two games.
Last week: 10
Up next: vs. Indiana
6. Iowa (5-2, 3-1). Don’t overlook the Hawkeyes, who still may have the inside track on winning the West if they play like they did at Purdue.
Last week: 6
Up next: vs. Wisconsin
7. Penn State (4-2, 2-1). The Nittany Lions were off last week, looking to continue to play better in the trenches on both sides of the ball. OSU visits this week. Gulp.
Last week: 5
Up next: vs. Ohio State
8. Minnesota (4-2, 1-2). The Golden Gophers needed a big win after suffering two losses in a row. Mission accomplished with a dominating effort at Maryland.
Last week: 9
Up next: vs. Rutgers
9. Indiana (3-3, 1-2). The Hoosiers still haven’t beaten a top 10 team since 1987, but there is no arguing how much IU has improved on defense.
Last week: 8
Up next: at Northwestern
10. Maryland (4-2, 1-2). The Terrapins’ 4-0 start has morphed into a 4-2 reality after sobering losses at Penn State and to Minnesota.
Last week: 7
Up next: vs. Michigan State
11. Michigan State (2-4, 0-3). That’s four losses in a row for the Spartans, whose defense came unhinged vs. Northwestern by allowing 54 points, the most points they’d allowed since a 56-21 loss to Wisconsin in 2003.
Last week: 11
Up next: at Maryland
12. Purdue (3-3, 1-2). The Boilermakers inability to stop the run has reached epic levels. In the last three games, Purdue has allowed Iowa to have 365 yards rushing; Illinois 315; Maryland 400. Woof.
Last week: 12
Up next: at Nebraska
13. Illinois (2-4, 1-2). The Illini offense showed life in ending a four-game losing skid with a victory at Rutgers. How good can QB Chayce Crouch be?
Last week: 13
Up next: at Michigan
14. Rutgers (2-5, 0-4). That’s four defeats in a row for the Scarlet Knights, who at least ended a scoreless streak spanning 11 quarters.
Last week: 14
Up next: at Minnesota