Week 8 in college football seemed to have it all. There were letdowns, upsets, seasons ending, and championship hopes intensifying.
The Big Ten had it all.
Ohio State continues to flex its muscles in the conference that it has dominated for years. The state of Michigan has still not lost a game and there is a clear top three in the Big Ten.
There are currently five ranked teams in the Big Ten — four of which are in the top 10. This is an incredible number for one conference to have in the AP top-10 rankings. Has the Big Ten taken over as the dominant conference in the nation? There are some that believe this but it is time for success in the college football playoff.
We are not there just yet but it is coming quickly as we approach Halloween weekend and the month of November. Here are how the rankings have looked after eight weeks of competition.
(Editor’s Note: AP Poll rankings included after power rankings listing for each team it’s applicable for.)
1. No. 5 Ohio State (6-1, 4-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 54-7 at Indiana
Next: 10/30 vs. Penn State
This is where Ohio State really starts to flex its muscles in the Big Ten. The Buckeyes have handled the lower-tier with no issue and now there will be a chance to take care of Penn State and Michigan. This is a team that has figured it out and is a scary commodity for opposing teams at the moment.
2. No. 6 Michigan (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 33-7 vs. Northwestern
Next: 10/30 at Michigan State
Michigan continues to get it done and is up to sixth in the AP Poll. This is a bit incredible when looking at the Wolverines coming into the year but they continue to run the ball and compete defensively. Is Michigan the best team in the Big Ten? No but 7-0 is 7-0. Once again, the season all comes down to the Ohio State matchup.
3. No. 8 Michigan State (7-0, 4-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: BYE
Next: 10/30 vs. Michigan
Michigan State has been as impressive as anyone this season. After a rocky start to Mel Tucker’s tenure, the Spartans have become a top-10 team and a legitimate force. They have the skill positions figured out and this is the reason for the turnaround. The Spartans can really show growth by taking down Michigan this weekend.
4. No. 9 Iowa (6-1, 3-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: BYE
Next: 10/30 at Wisconsin
Iowa ran into a needed bye week after what should have been two losses. The Hawkeyes trailed Penn State by two scores before Sean Clifford got hurt and were completely blindsided by Purdue. Now, the defense will have to get back to where it was against a mediocre Wisconsin offense.
5. Minnesota (5-2, 3-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 34-16 vs. Maryland
Next: 10/30 at Northwestern
Minnesota remains a confusing team in the Big Ten but process of elimination gets them into the top five. They took advantage of a poor Maryland team and that is what needs to be done. The Gophers can do it again this weekend against Northwestern.
6. No. 20 Penn State (5-2, 2-2 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 20-18 vs. Illinois in 9 OT’s
Next: 10/30 at Ohio State
Penn State was once as high as No. 3 in the nation. The Nittany Lions lost to Illinois on their home field scoring just 18 points in a nine overtime game. Clifford played but it should not have mattered who was under center. There is nothing more that needs to be said.
7. Wisconsin (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 30-13 at Purdue
Next: 10/30 vs. Iowa
Wisconsin took full advantage of a letdown from Purdue after the Boilermakers upset Iowa. Hey, good for them. This was an impressive spot for Wisconsin but not enough to drive any true belief into the team. They host Iowa this week and this could be the game of the season for the Badgers.
8. Nebraska (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten)
Most Recent: BYE
Next: 10/30 vs. Purdue
Nebraska had a bye so they could not suffer another close loss last week. It is only right that they remain right in the middle of the rankings. The Cornhuskers have found ways to compete in games and now it is time that Scott Frost learns how to win some close ones.
9. Purdue (4-3, 2-2 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 30-13 vs. Wisconsin
Next: 10/30 at Nebraska
Purdue snuck into the AP Poll after taking down Iowa. Last week proved that this was a bit of an overreaction to one victory. Purdue completely letdown against Wisconsin at home and looked like its old self. There is no doubt that the upcoming matchup with Nebraska is going to be interesting.
10. Illinois (3-5, 2-3 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 20-18 at Penn State
Next: 10/30 vs. Rutgers
It is hard to make it out of the basement in the rankings but a victory on the road against a top-10 team will do just that. Illinois is still nothing to go crazy over but this was a victory that can make their entire season. The defense was strong against Penn State and they were the first team to convert a two-pointer in what is the worst overtime rule in sports. They need to avoid a letdown against Rutgers this week.
11. Maryland (4-3, 1-3 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 34-16 at Minnesota
Next: 10/30 vs. Indiana
Maryland won a couple games early on but their offense has not been the same in recent weeks. Turnovers and poor decisions that have led to some lopsided scores. The Terps have a winnable game against Indiana coming up and they could use something to help them get right.
12. Northwestern (3-4, 1-3 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 33-7 at Michigan
Next: 10/30 vs. Minnesota
Northwestern is in the midst of a down year but there is just no one else to put above them. Even coming off a blowout loss to Michigan, the Wildcats remain out of the basement. There is not much hope for significant improvement for Northwestern moving forward this season.
13. Indiana (2-5, 0-4 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 54-7 vs. Ohio State
Next: 10/30 at Maryland
Coming into the season, this was a game that was circled. Instead, the Hoosiers were run out of their stadium early against Ohio State. This shows where they really are this season. If they can’t recover soon, it will be onto the 2022 season for Indiana.
14. Rutgers (3-4, 0-4 Big Ten)
Most Recent: BYE
Next: 10/30 at Illinois
Officially rock bottom in the conference. There should be no questions about this position. Even if there is, does being No. 13 make anyone feel any better? The Scarlet Knights have taken serious steps back in Big Ten play this season. Northwestern beat them and Illinois just took down Penn State. The Scarlet Knights better be hoping for a letdown from the Illini or there might not be a win on the schedule.