The time has come for tams to be ranked on a weekly basis with the CFB Playoff in mind. It should be no surprise that the Big Ten has a representative and when it is all said and done, there might be two.
It will be interesting to see how this all plays out and the hypotheticals can go many different ways. Michigan State came in at No. 3 and in the playoff during the first ranking, which is released far too early. The Big Ten will play itself out because the top teams need to play each other but there is still a chance to get two teams in.
Ohio State remains my favorite to win the Big Ten and if that happens, the Buckeyes are in. Michigan State has a chance to knockout Ohio State with a regular-season win that would give the Buckeyes two losses. Again, it is far too early to speculate and it will play itself out sooner rather than later.
With that being said, here are the latest power rankings after nine weeks of play.
1. No. 5 Ohio State (7-1, 5-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 33-24 vs. Penn State
Next: 11/6 at Nebraska
Ohio State’s offense was corralled a bit this week but was still able to put up 33 points. They survived against Penn State and did it using four field goals and a fumble recovery for a touchdown. The Buckeyes remain the class of the conference and wins like this prove it further. There will be plenty more chances for Ohio State to flex its muscles.
2. No. 3 Michigan State (8-0, 5-0 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 37-33 vs. Michigan
Next: 11/6 at Purdue
If you did not believe in Michigan State for some reason, you have to now. Kenneth Walker III is a legitimate Heisman candidate after a five-touchdown performance against Michigan. He now has 1,194 yards and 14 touchdowns on the year. A two-score comeback against an in-state rival who was also a top-10 team catapulted the Spartans into the top three in the nation.
3. No. 7 Michigan (7-1, 4-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 37-33 at Michigan State
Next: 11/6 vs. Indiana
Not only did they blow a two-score game, it was a 30-14 lead where Michigan allowed two touchdowns and two-pointers. Jim Harbaugh continues to be an abomination in big games and another promising season for the Wolverines has turned disappointing. It is only a matter of time before it ends at the hands of Ohio State.
4. No. 20 Minnesota (6-1, 4-1 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 41-14 at Northwestern
Next: 11/6 vs. Illinois
Minnesota is not in the top-tier of the Big Ten but it begins the second level. The Gophers have put together the ultimate roller coaster season but have now won four in a row. Don't look now but Minnesota still has a chance to make the Big Ten Championship Game. PJ Fleck has to be credited for the job he has done during the season.
5. No. 21 Wisconsin (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 27-7 vs. Iowa
Next: 11/6 at Rutgers
The Big Ten West is back to being entertaining. This comes after Wisconsin has turned it around and this could set up a must-see game at the end of the regular season with Minnesota. After dominating Iowa, the Badgers’ confidence must be sky-high and they are beginning to perform on the field.
6. No. 22 Iowa (6-2, 3-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 27-7 at Wisconsin
Next: 11/6 at Northwestern
Remember when Iowa was a top-three team in the country? Feels like a lifetime ago. The Hawkeyes have come back down to Earth — we haven't forgot that they should have lost to Penn State. The offense is nonexistent for Iowa recently and there should be little belief in the Hawkeyes until they can put some points on the board.
7. Penn State (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 33-24 at Ohio State
Next: 11/6 at Maryland
There are no moral victories in college football. Penn State battled with Ohio State but it was still a two-score loss and now three in a row. The Nittany Lions are a talented team but this season has gotten away from them. There are still more losses on the schedule moving forward too.
8. Purdue (5-3, 3-2 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 28-23 at Nebraska
Next: 11/6 vs. Michigan State
Purdue suffered a huge letdown last week against Wisconsin but was able to bounce back with a win over Nebraska. The Boilermakers could have allowed it to snowball but got back on track. Now, they will have a chance to shock the conference and pick up another upset victory this week.
9. Maryland (5-3, 2-3 Big Ten)
Last Week: 38-35 vs. Indiana
Next: 11/6 vs. Penn State
Maryland is as mediocre as there is. They survived against Indiana in a game where Taulia Tagovailoa was on. The Terps still have a poor defense as they prepare for a potential upset spot against Penn State. Despite recent struggles from the Nittany Lions, a victory would be massive for Maryland.
10. Nebraska (3-6, 1-5 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 28-23 vs. Purdue
Next: 11/6 vs. Ohio State
Yet another tough, gut-wrenching loss for Nebraska. This time, it was a home game to Purdue. Nebraska now has five losses in the Big Ten but this is all about the eye test. The Cornhuskers would take care of business handily against any of the remaining teams in the conference below them. Scott Frost has his team in games but it is now time to win a few down the stretch.
11. Rutgers (4-4, 1-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: W, 20-14 at Illinois
Next: 11/6 vs. Wisconsin
It seems as though the bottom four in the Big Ten have been playing musical chairs at the bottom of the rankings. This week, Rutgers is the best of the worst as the only team to win a game last Saturday. The Scarlet Knights got on the board and back to .500 with a much needed win. Rutgers is now two victories away from bowl eligibility.
12. Northwestern (3-5, 1-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 41-14 vs. Minnesota
Next: 11/6 vs. Iowa
Northwestern continues to get blown out in the conference. A lone win over Rutgers is the only bright spot of the season for the Wildcats. Pat Fitzgerald should be planning for next season already.
13. Indiana (2-6, 0-5 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 38-35 at Maryland
Next: 11/6 at Michigan
The schedule is not getting easier for the Hoosiers as they prepare to travel to Ann Arbor. Indiana suffered a heart-breaking loss to Maryland over the weekend in a game where Donaven McCulley played well under center. It has been as tough as it gets for the Hoosiers this season and there is not a turnaround in sight.
14. Illinois (3-6, 2-4 Big Ten)
Last Week: L, 20-14 vs. Rutgers
Next: 11/6 at Minnesota
The victory over Penn State is wiped away. A home loss to Rutgers is as bad as it gets and the Illini are back in the basement. This might be an emotional ranking but again, No. 13 or 14 is no different — it’s not good. On a neutral field, Indiana and Illinois is a coin flip so it could go either way. The Illini are as bad as advertised and they will show it again this weekend against Minnesota.