After a few full weeks of conference play, action in the Big Ten is heating up, with a lot of changes in this week’s power rankings coming from the bottom half of the conference. Here’s the Big Ten power rankings after Week Seven:
1. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 1
Last Result: 49-20 win at Michigan State
Next: vs. Iowa
Ohio State had a bye week last week, giving it extra time to prepare for this week’s matchup against a stingy Iowa defense.
While the Buckeyes should take care of Iowa easily, this game is a typical trap game, with a matchup at Penn State looming in the very near future.
2. Michigan (7-0, 4-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 2
Last Result: 41-17 win vs. Penn State
Next: vs. Michigan State
Michigan used 55 carries for 418 yards from their ground game to cruise to an easy victory against then-No. 10 Penn State this past weekend.
With that dominant win, the Wolverines have distanced themselves significantly from every non-Ohio State team in the conference.
3. Illinois (6-1, 3-1)
Last Ranking: 4
Last Result: 26-14 win vs. Minnesota
Next: at Nebraska
Since a Week One loss to Indiana, Illinois has rattled off five consecutive victories, including conference wins over Iowa, Minnesota and Wisconsin, which were the top three teams in the Big Ten West standings last season.
As a result of those three impressive conference wins, the Fighting Illini have become the team to beat in the Big Ten West.
4. Penn State (5-1, 2-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 3
Last Result: 41-17 loss at Michigan
Next: vs. Minnesota
Penn State went into Ann Arbor with its opponents averaging 79.6 rushing yards per game. That number would be good enough to rank fourth in the nation, but after Michigan ran all over the Nittany Lions, they now rank 56th in run defense.
While the defense struggled, the offense was only able to put together two scoring drives. Penn State will have to get back on track on both sides of the ball quickly, as a hungry Minnesota team awaits them this weekend.
5. Purdue (5-2, 3-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 5
Last Result: 43-37 win vs. Nebraska
Next: at Wisconsin
Purdue’s defense has looked shaky over the past two weeks, as it gave up 29 points in a two-point win against Maryland and 37 points to Nebraska. But the Boilermaker offense has done just enough to squeak out two close victories.
Purdue remains in control of its own destiny in the Big Ten West, but before the Boilermakers can focus on a matchup with Illinois, they must take care of business against Wisconsin in Madison this weekend.
6. Maryland (5-2, 2-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 6
Last Result: 38-33 win at Indiana
Next: vs. Northwestern
Maryland narrowly escaped with the win against Indiana, but the level of concern for Terrapins fans is very high. On Saturday, quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa was carted off the field with a knee injury in the fourth quarter.
While backup quarterback Billy Edwards Jr. was able to run for 53 yards and a TD on just five carries against Indiana, he did not complete any of his three passing attempts. Edwards will have to play better for the Terrapins to retain this ranking if Tagovailoa misses time.
7. Minnesota (4-2, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 7
Last Result: 26-14 loss at Illinois
Next: at Penn State
Minnesota could not generate enough offense to beat Illinois this past weekend. Minnesota quarterback Tanner Morgan went 4-for-12 with 21 passing yards and threw an interception before he left the game with an injury. Backup quarterback Athan Kaliakmanis went 2-for-6 with 17 passing yards and two interceptions after Morgan’s injury.
Minnesota has needed better quarterback play to become a serious contender in the Big Ten, and the Golden Gophers will also need better quarterback play this weekend against Penn State to avoid their third consecutive loss.
8. Nebraska (3-4, 2-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 8
Last Result: 43-37 loss at Purdue
Next: vs. Illinois
Trey Palmer collected seven receptions for 237 yards and two touchdowns, and added in a 60-yard rush as well, but even that performance was not enough to give Nebraska a road win against Purdue.
Nebraska is 3-0 when holding opponents under 21 points this season, but the Cornhuskers have failed to win any shootouts this season. Nebraska will need a great performance from their defense to pull off an upset against Illinois this weekend.
9. Iowa (3-3, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 10
Last Result: 9-6 loss at Illinois
Next: at Ohio State
Iowa had a bye week to prepare for this matchup, but unfortunately, so did Ohio State. The Hawkeyes will not have an advantage over the Buckeyes in terms of rest, and if their offense is not able to play the best it has all season, Iowa has no chance of winning this weekend.
10. Michigan State (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 13
Last Result: 34-27 win vs. Wisconsin
Next: at Michigan
After four consecutive losses, Michigan State was able to pull off a thrilling win against Wisconsin in double overtime.
Both teams have a bye this week, but No. 4 Michigan and Michigan State will face off against each other on Oct. 29 in the battle for the Paul Bunyan Trophy.
11. Wisconsin (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 9
Last Result: 34-27 loss at Michigan State
Next: vs. Purdue
Against Michigan State, Graham Mertz completed 14 of 24 passes, finishing with just 131 passing yards. To make matters worse for Wisconsin’s offense, Braelon Allen fumbled on the first play of double overtime, which led to a game-winning touchdown throw from Payton Thorne to Jayden Reed.
Wisconsin will need to play a lot better on both sides of the ball to beat Purdue at home this weekend.
12. Rutgers (3-3, 0-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 11
Last Result: 14-13 loss vs. Nebraska
Next: vs. Indiana
In a year that began with a road win over a Power Five team (Boston College), Rutgers has not carried any momentum from their non-conference slate into the conference season.
Following a grueling loss to Nebraska, Rutgers fired offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson. The Scarlet Knights will take on Indiana this weekend following that coordinator change and a bye week.
13. Indiana (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 12
Last Result: 38-33 loss vs. Maryland
Next: at Rutgers
Despite scoring 33 points, Indiana had three costly turnovers that led to 17 points for Maryland, and that differential swung the game in favor of the Terps.
If Indiana is able to clean up its turnover issues against Rutgers, the Hoosiers could end up with their second conference win of the season.
14. Northwestern (1-5, 1-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 14
Last Result: 42-7 loss vs. Wisconsin
Next: at Maryland
Northwestern did not lose a game this past weekend for the first time since Week One. Unfortunately, both of those weeks were bye weeks.
Northwestern’s first bye week stopped all momentum gained in Dublin. ‘Cats fans are hoping that another momentum reversal will take place following the most recent bye week.