The Structure of the Big Ten is starting to take it’s shape, with exceptions and unlikely teams taking the spotlight in the Northwestern Wildcats, who although they are 3-2, is on a three game win streak and is 2-0 in Big Ten play after upsetting Penn State and No. 17 ranked Wisconsin Badgers in the last two weeks.
As for the powerhouses in the Big Ten, everyone was expecting the reigning Big Ten champion’s Michigan State to be No. 1 and they are living up to those expectations. The other two powerhouses in Nebraska and Ohio State are both filling in the No. 2 & 3 spots. Unexpectedly Michigan is last in the Big Ten power rankings as they have the worst record since their 2-7 start in 2007, the Wolverines had lost to the newly added Big Ten Rutgers Scarlet Knights off a late blocked field goal by Michigan.
1. Michigan State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten East)
The Spartans had a tough matchup against the Nebraska Cornhuskers but still came out on top and proved to many that they are indeed still kings in the Big Ten.
NEXT UP: Purdue Boilermakers
2. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten West)
Although the Huskers dropped one against the Spartans in a game that could’ve proved to all who’s the elite team in the BIG TEN, they still hold strong on the rankings at number 2 as they are indeed considerably Big Ten’s best. They’re still considered the best team in the West and after being down 27-3 in the fourth quarter to come back on a great Michigan State defense and lose 27-22 is enough to pretty much show it.
NEXT UP: BYE WEEK
3. Ohio State (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten East)
After losing their top player before the season began, quarterback J.D. Barrett took the reigns and has showed that OSU is still a team to be wrecking with in the Big Ten and the nation. Barrett proved that he’s a very good quarterback as he made up from his mishaps when the Buckeyes took on Navy.
NEXT UP: BYE WEEK
4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5-1, 1-1 Big Ten East)
Rutgers have a lot to go off of after last night’s victory, and that is quarterback Gary Nova (Who was voted Big Ten Nation’s B1G player of the week this week) who threw for 404 yards in the win. Although many may think that the Rutgers fans and team storming the field after knocking off the college team with the most wins in NCAA history in Michigan off late on a blocked field goal 26-24 was a bit overreacting, the Scarlet Knights still can chuck it up as a milestone victory and the first of many to come now that they are a Big Ten team, Rutgers 1, Michigan 0.
NEXT UP: BYE WEEK
5. Northwestern Wildcats (3-2, 2-0 Big Ten West)
The Wildcats are HOT! The Cats have won 3 straight since opening their season 0-2 dropping two of their three non-conference games. They have one more non-conference game vs Notre Dame later in the year. The Cats biggest moment is back-to-back Big Ten upsets being over Penn State down in University Park 29-6 and last night’s victory over No. 17 ranked Wisconsin 20-14. The Wildcats are on a roll and they have made a name for themselves as they sit atop the Big Ten West 2-0.
NEXT UP: Minnesota Golden Gophers
6. Iowa Hawkeyes (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten West)
The Hawkeyes have been working with a two quarterback system all year and coming off a bye week it will be interesting to see how this work in progress goes for the Hawkeyes.
NEXT UP: Indiana Hoosiers
7. Minnesota (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten West)
The Gophers had this week off and now they have time to prepare for what is going to be an exciting game at home vs the Northwestern Wildcats, who’s been streaking as of late. Minnesota’s offense has sort of been one dimensional this season and it’ll be interesting to see if the team can get something going both ways on the Wildcats.
NEXT UP: Northwestern Wildcats
8. Maryland Teraphins (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten East)
Welcome to the Big Ten Maryland, is what Ohio State said to the Teraphins Saturday when they destroyed them on all cylinders 52-24. Maryland wasn’t given a proper invite until they lost to OSU. Yet this season is still a work in progress and can still turn out to be a good one for the newly added Big Ten Team.
NEXT UP: BYE WEEK
9. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-1, 0-1 Big Ten East)
Although the Nittany Lions had the week off to get over the upset and beating that the Wildcats gave them last week, it was well needed for the team going forward and to see they need to fix certain things on defense as well as the offensive line as it crumbles. Penn State still is a team that has it all together and will take on a struggling Michigan Wolverines team next Saturday.
NEXT UP: Michigan Wolverines
10. Wisconsin Badgers (3-2, 0-1)
The Badgers are struggling at their quarterback position and it showed when they combined for 138 yards vs Northwestern Saturday. The team needs to get it all together and especially through the air because Melvin Gordon can’t do it all by himself on the ground for the team. Gordon rushed for his career-high 259 yards vs the Cats. The Badgers indeed have a quarterback battle on their hands.
NEXT UP: ILLINOIS FIGHTING ILLINI
11. Indiana Hoosiers (3-2, 0-1 Big Ten East)
The Hoosiers had a well needed non-conference game this week as they took on North Texas and got the win. They needed it to get them back on track and that’s what they did. QB Nate Sudfeld looked polished in the victory and the Hoosiers are only 3 wins away from bowl eligibility, which is what they want most.
NEXT UP: Iowa Hawkeyes
12. Purdue Boilermakers (3-3, 1-1 Big Ten West)
The Boilermakers proved one thing in Saturday’s win over the Fighting Illini, and that’s that they are not the worst team in the Big Ten. Although Purdue struggles continue for them in most parts of their game, the team still is at .500 at the moment. They have a lot to go off of, especially in quarterback Austin Appleby. We’ll really see what he got as they take on Big Ten’s powerhouse Michigan State next week.
NEXT UP: Michigan State Spartans
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (3-3, 0-2 Big Ten West)
The Fighting Illini season may be spiraling down hill at a slow but increasing rate. Their defense has been bad lately, but you can say that about pretty much all Illinois football teams this year. The Fighting Illini is now 0-2 in Big Ten play and sit at the bottom of the BIG Ten West desperately needing a victory.
NEXT UP: Wisconsin Badgers
14. Michigan Wolverines (2-4, 0-2)
The Wolverines losing streak is now at three, and the team faces their worst start since being 2-7 in 2007 under a different coach. The Wolverines just couldn’t get it done late with a chance to win over Rutgers and their field goal attempt was blocked. The program is a work in progress as they are 0-2 in Big Ten play since 1967.
NEXT UP: Penn State
Power rankings list is provided by BigTenNation