Big Ten Power Rankings: Top 5 remains steady entering final week
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Neither Ohio State nor Michigan looked impressive in victory. But each found a way to win, setting up a big showdown next week in Columbus.
Check out my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, below.
1. Ohio State (10-1, 7-1). It wasn’t pretty, but the Buckeyes found a way to escape East Lansing with a win in what was the quintessential trap game.
Last week: 1
Up next: Michigan
2. Michigan (10-1, 7-1). The Wolverines didn’t wow in taking down Indiana behind backup QB John O’Korn. But Michigan is primed to win the East with a victory next week at Ohio State.
Last week: 2
Up next: at Ohio State
3. Wisconsin (9-2, 6-2). The Badgers are continuing their march to the Big Ten West title behind a great defense and strong rushing attack. Beat Minnesota, win the West.
Last week: 3
Up next: Minnesota
4. Penn State (9-2, 7-1). That’s seven wins in a row for the Nittany Lions, who will win the East with a win vs. MSU and a loss by Michigan at Ohio State.
Last week: 4
Up next: Michigan State
5. Nebraska (9-2, 6-2). Even with QB Tommy Armstrong out with injury, the Cornhuskers rolled to an easy win vs. Maryland to keep their West division hopes alive.
Last week: 5
Up next: at Iowa (Friday)
6. Iowa (7-4, 5-3). It was vintage Hawkeyes in a 28-0 win at Illinois, as Iowa used a stifling defense and tough offense to make it two victories in a row.
Last week: 7
Up next: Nebraska (Friday)
7. Minnesota (8-3, 5-3). The Gophers enjoyed one of their most impressive wins of the season in dumping Northwestern. Now can they finally win Paul Bunyan’s Axe?
Last week: 8
Up next: at Wisconsin
8. Northwestern (5-6, 4-4). The Wildcats were unable to run the ball and fell at Minnesota. This team still needs one more win to reach bowl eligibility.
Last week: 6
Up next: Illinois
9. Indiana (5-6, 3-5). The Hoosiers couldn’t generate enough offense to knock off Michigan and still need one more win for bowl eligibility.
Last week: 9
Up next: Purdue
10. Maryland (5-6, 2-6). The Terps are still one win from bowl eligibility coming off a brutal three-game stretch at Michigan, vs. Ohio State and at Nebraska.
Last week: 10
Up next: Rutgers
11. Illinois (3-8, 2-6). The offensive struggles continue for the Fighting Illini, who aren’t getting steady quarterback play and struggle to get a consistent push up front.
Last week: 11
Up next: at Northwestern
12. Michigan State (3-8, 1-7). The Spartans almost pulled off another upset of Ohio State. What if MSU had just opted to try a game-tying extra point instead of going for the lead with a two-point conversion that failed?
Last week: 12
Up next: at Penn State
13. Purdue (3-8, 1-7). The misery continues for the Boilermakers, who are woefully undermanned—especially on defense. The season can’t end soon enough.
Last week: 13
Up next: at Indiana
14. Rutgers (2-9, 0-8). The Scarlet Knights remain the lone Big Ten team without a conference victory, as the wheels have come off the offense.
Last week: 14
Up next: at Maryland