Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, October 19, 2014
The ?Big Three? remain atop the Big Ten, as my latest Big Ten Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, feature little movement. A case could be made for moving Ohio State on top above Michigan State. But the Spartans continue to hum along despite some glitches and deserve to stay No. 1.
|POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY|
1. Michigan State (6-1, 3-0). For a second week in a row, it wasn?t always pretty. But the Spartans found a way to survive and advance. Should we be worried about the defense? The offense is just fine, averaging 47 points per game.
Last week: 1
Up next: Michigan
2. Ohio State (5-1, 2-0). The Buckeyes are on a roll, coming off demolitions of Maryland and Rutgers (108-41) in its first two Big Ten games. It isn't crazy to think this could be the Big Ten's top team.
Last week: 2
Up next: at Penn State
3. Nebraska (6-, 2-1). The Cornhuskers impressed on both sides of the ball at Northwestern. If QB Tommy Armstrong keeps playing well, this will be a tough team to beat.
Last week: 3
Up next: Rutgers
4. Minnesota (6-1, 3-0). A great gut-check win by the Golden Gophers showed the toughness of this team and the acumen of the coaches. Before the 39-38 comeback win, Minnesota had never won after trailing at the half under Jerry Kill.
Last week: 5
Up next: at Illinois
5. Maryland (5-2, 2-1). The Terps are ?thisclose? to being 6-1, as a huge win over Iowa has energized this program and made it a factor in the East. C.J. Brown must stay healthy, though.
Last week: 9
Up next: at Wisconsin
6. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1). The Badgers were off, presumably giving the staff time to figure out how to manage a less-than-ideal quarterback situation. The visit from Maryland is huge.
Last week: 7
Up next: Maryland
7. Iowa (5-2, 2-1). A 38-31 loss at Maryland ended a three-game winning streak and re-opened questions about the quarterback spot. How good is this team?
Last week: 4
Up next: off; Northwestern, Nov. 1
8. Rutgers (5-2, 1-2). The Scarlet Knights got a big taste of reality with its visit to Ohio State. Let?s chalk this up to ?growing pains.?
Last week: 6
Up next: at Nebraska
9. Northwestern (3-4, 2-2). Unless the Wildcats find some offensive mojo, they will struggle to stay relevant in the West. Imagine what Justin Jackson could do with a prolific passing game?
Last week: 8
Up next: off; at Iowa, Nov. 1
10. Purdue (3-5, 1-3). For a second week in a row, victory just eludes the quickly improving Boilermakers. You get the feeling this team has a win or two left in it.
Last week: 12
Up next: off; at Nebraska, Nov. 1
11. Michigan (3-4, 1-2). The bye week came at the perfect time, fresh off a much-needed win and right before traveling to rival and Big Ten frontrunner Michigan State.
Last week: 10
Up next: at Michigan State
12. Penn State (4-2, 1-2). The Nittany Lions never may patch up an offensive line that continues to struggle. How will PSU block this monster Ohio State d-line on Saturday?
Last week: 11
Up next: Ohio State
13. Indiana (3-4, 0-3). The Hoosiers showed fight vs. Michigan State behind first-time starting quarterback Zander Diamont. The bye week comes at a good time, allowing the offense time to develop.
Last week: 13
Up next: off; at Michigan, Nov. 1
14. Illinois (3-4, 0-3). The Fighting Illini were off, giving the staff time hopefully to fix a defense that has myriad leaks and figure out what to do at quarterback.
Last week: 14
Up next: Minnesota
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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