After the most recent college football playoff rankings, it seems as though the Big Ten is returning to a bit of normalcy.
The conference is still in good standings with three teams in the top seven. Ohio State was able to jump to No. 4 and this is a position they will remain until they lose. The Buckeyes can even climb further if Georgia and Alabama knock each other off in the SEC Championship Game.
It was another disappointing week for some teams near the top and Purdue picked up another upset victory. All around the nation, this was a week in college football where a lot happened.
After 10 weeks of action, here is how the power rankings in the Big Ten are shaped.
1. Ohio State (8-1, 6-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 26-17 at Nebraska
Next: 11/13 vs. Purdue
Remember when Ohio State lost to Oregon and it looked like the sky was falling? Well, the Buckeyes are now fourth in the CFP rankings and will remain there if they win the Big Ten, which is likely. The Buckeyes have put it together on both sides of the ball and that is a scary things — but not uncommon. Ohio State is king until soon knocks them off.
2. Michigan (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 29-7 vs. Indiana
Next: 11/13 at Penn State
Well, it did not take long for Michigan to find its way back to the top two in the rankings. The Wolverine also sit sixth in the rankings. Michigan is boring, we get it but the record speaks for itself. Indiana is not a big win for the Wolverines. The jury is still out on if Michigan can win a big game. Maybe. It did lose the one big game so far this season. Can the Wolverines upset Ohio State this season? Seems unlikely.
3. Purdue (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 40-29 vs. Michigan State
Next: 11/13 at Ohio State
By default, Purdue has to be in this position. No team has moved as drastically as Purdue has this season. This is a team that barely got by Illinois and lost at home to Minnesota. On the other hand, they have two top-three wins this season over Iowa and Michigan State. Looking at the schedule, the Boilermakers have a chance to finish with eight wins and a 6-3 record in the Big Ten. Not bad for a team that was supposed to have a down year.
4. Wisconsin (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 52-3 at Rutgers
Next: 11/13 vs. Northwestern
Is Wisconsin back? It looks like it but don't take much away from a blowout victory over a bad Rutgers team. The Badgers have now won five in a row and are putting it together defensively. Wisconsin finishes the season with Northwestern, Nebraska, and Minnesota, which could decide the fate of the West. This season has a chance to end in a familiar way for Wisconsin — with a loss to Ohio State in the Big Ten Championship.
5. Michigan State (8-1, 5-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 40-29 at Purdue
Next: 11/13 vs. Maryland
What an absolute letdown from the Spartans after beating Michigan and climbing to No. 3 in the CFP rankings. Michigan State laid an egg against Purdue and now they will have to find a way to beat the Buckeyes if they want to have a chance to anything more than a bowl game.
6. Iowa (7-2, 4-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 17-12 at Northwestern
Next: 11/13 vs. Minnesota
Iowa-Northwestern might have put together the most boring game of the day on Saturday. I guess Iowa fans got to see Alex Padilla under center and Tyler Goodson averaged 6.1 yards per carry. Nonetheless, this was a poor performance on both ends but a conference win is a conference win.
7. Penn State (6-3, 3-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 31-14 at Maryland
Next: 11/13 vs. Michigan
Penn State is now officially bowl eligible. It took a bit longer than expected after a 5-0 start. The Nittany Lions might have fallen behind in the conference but this is a team that can win a bowl game. Jahan Dotson continues to be one of the most electric players in the nation and Sean Clifford is as serviceable as ever. Maybe better days are ahead if James Franklin decides to move on.
8. Minnesota (6-3, 4-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 14-6 vs. Illinois
Next: 11/13 at Iowa
Minnesota is another roller coaster team in the Big Ten. After climbing into the rankings, the Gophers score six points at home against Illinois. This is looking more and more like the team that lost to Bowling Green early in the season and that is not a good sign.
9. Nebraska (3-7, 1-6 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 26-17 vs. Ohio State
Another week, another close call for the Cornhuskers. A nine-point loss to Ohio State is considered a close loss to many. With that being said, Nebraska has seven losses now and six in conference play. Heading into the bye week, Nebraska has not figured out how to win games and that is what it is all about.
10. Illinois (4-6, 3-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 14-6 at Minnesota
There has been plenty of movement between the bottom tier of the Big Ten. Illinois has spent plenty of time in the basement but they picked up yet another win. The Illini have somehow put together three wins in conference play and if it wasn't for a bad loss to Rutgers, could be over .500 in the Big Ten.
11. Maryland (5-4, 2-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 31-14 vs. Penn State
Next: 11/13 at Michigan State
The schedule does not lighten up for the Terps. They will face Michigan State and Michigan over the next two weeks. This is a struggling defense and an inconsistent offense that has not been able to find much success. Maryland remains mediocre but still has a chance to become bowl eligible.
12. Northwestern (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 17-12 vs. Iowa
Next: 11/13 at Wisconsin
Northwestern competed with Iowa for much of the game. It was a close call at home against a superior team. That is what the team below them was able to accomplish. The Wildcats come in at No. 12 after a competitive week and hold a head-to-head victory against Rutgers.
13. Rutgers (4-5, 1-5 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 52-3 vs. Wisconsin
Next: 11/13 at Indiana
Saturday was as bad as it could get for the Scarlet Knights. They made Wisconsin look like an offensive powerhouse. Rutgers turned the ball over four times and did not compete at any point in this game. Even so, the Scarlet Knights can still gain bowl eligibility with victories over Indiana and Maryland but some major improvements are needed for that to happen.
14. Indiana (2-7, 0-6 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 29-7 at Michigan
Next: 11/13 vs. Rutgers
It took some time for Indiana to find themselves in the basement but that time has come. It might be a week or two late but it was inevitable. Plain and simple, the Hoosiers are struggling to score and seem like they cannot win a game. That could change with Rutgers going to town. This is a game where both sides will think they can win.