1. Michigan (7-0, 4-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 2
Last Result: 41-17 win vs. Penn State
Next: vs. Michigan State
A bye week after a commanding win over Penn State will only help Michigan prepare for a matchup against rival Michigan State.
Michigan’s Big Ten-leading offense should handle a middle-of-the-pack Spartans defense easily, especially considering the weakness of Michigan State’s passing defense specifically.
2. Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 B1G)
Last Ranking: 1
Last Result: 54-10 win vs. Iowa
Next: at Penn State
Ohio State was able to beat up on lowly Iowa last week, but look for the Buckeyes to be challenged a little more by a tougher competitor in Penn State.
C.J. Stroud and Co. will match up against one of the Big Ten’s stingiest passing defenses, so expect Ohio State to utilize the ground game a little more.
3. Illinois (6-1, 3-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 3
Last Result: 26-14 win vs. Minnesota
Next: at Nebraska
While they don’t have a comfortable lead in the Big Ten West, the Fighting Illini could change that with a big week against an unsteady Nebraska team.
Illinois’ defense should be able to lock down a middling Nebraska offense, making it easier for its offense to seal a victory.
4. Penn State (6-1, 3-1 B1G)
Last Ranking: 4
Last Result: 45-17 win vs. Minnesota
Next: vs. Ohio State
Penn State has handled weaker competition all season as seen in its blowout win over Minnesota, but has struggled against some of its better opponents.
Ohio State will be a tough matchup, but look for the Nittany Lions to limit the Buckeyes’ passing game and force them to keep the ball on the ground a bit more.
5. Maryland (6-2, 3-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 6
Last Result: 31-24 win vs. Northwestern
Next: at Wisconsin
Maryland will have a bye week to prepare for a hot Wisconsin team after a huge comeback win over Northwestern last week.
The Terrapins might get burned by Wisconsin’s strong passing game, but hopefully running back Roman Hemby will carry a strong Maryland ground game to another victory.
6. Purdue (5-3, 3-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 5
Last Result: 35-24 loss at Wisconsin
Next: vs. Iowa
A bye week will help Purdue brush off a tough defeat at the hands of Wisconsin, and it’ll have a weaker opponent in Iowa to look forward to.
The Boilermakers will run into some problems against a strong Iowa passing defense, but if their defense stays strong they can pull off a low-scoring win.
7. Nebraska (3-4, 2-2 B1G)
Last Ranking: 8
Last Result: 43-37 loss at Purdue
Next: vs. Illinois
Nebraska lost a shootout against Purdue last week, but the passing game took a step forward against a weak Purdue defense.
Illinois’s Big Ten-leading defense will pose a much greater challenge, but Nebraska’s defense has a shot if it can hold a Illinois weak passing offense to minimal damage.
8. Minnesota (4-3, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 7
Last Result: 45-17 loss at Penn State
Next: vs. Rutgers
Minnesota could catch a break against an easier opponent at home after a rough loss to Penn State last week, but it won’t be an easy task.
Its offense took a big step back against Penn State, and its ground game could run into more difficulties against a strong Rutgers run defense. Look for the Golden Gophers to rely on the passing game next week.
9. Michigan State (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 10
Last Result: 34-28 win vs. Wisconsin
Next: at Michigan
Michigan State will roll into Ann Arbor hoping to ride its momentum to a rivalry victory, but it won’t come easy.
The Spartans’ weak passing defense will be a huge burden against one of the top passing offenses in the league, and it won’t be easy for them to break through Michigan’s strong defense.
10. Wisconsin (4-4, 2-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 11
Last Result: 35-24 win vs. Purdue
Next: vs. Maryland
Wisconsin will have a week to breathe after a decisive win over a tough opponent in Purdue as it prepares to face an even tougher one in Maryland.
Wisconsin should be able to air the ball out against a weak Maryland defense, but look to see if running back Braelon Allen could become another strong option.
11. Rutgers (4-3, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 12
Last Result: 24-17 win vs. Indiana
Next: at Minnesota
Rutgers was able to scratch out its first Big Ten win against Indiana last week, but will have to face a better Minnesota team on the road this Saturday.
It’ll be interesting to see how Rutgers’ strong run defense fares against a strong Minnesota ground game, but if it can contain UMN’s offense the Scarlet Knights have a shot.
12. Indiana (3-5, 1-4 B1G)
Last Ranking: 13
Last Result: 24-17 loss at Rutgers
Next: vs. Penn State
After a rough loss in Piscataway, Indiana will come home and take on a tough Penn State team as it looks for its second Big Ten win.
Penn State should keep the Hoosiers’ ground game contained, but Indiana could capitalize on a middle-of-the-pack passing offense to keep the game close.
13. Iowa (3-4, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 9
Last Result: 54-10 loss at Ohio State
Next: vs. Northwestern
The Hawkeyes got trounced by Ohio State, but playing Northwestern next week should be able to bring Iowa its second conference win.
Iowa’s league-worst offense will match up against NU’s league-worst defense, so expect this to be a low-scoring affair with Iowa being able to clamp down Northwestern just enough to pull out a win.
14. Northwestern (1-6, 1-3 B1G)
Last Ranking: 14
Last Result: 31-24 loss at Maryland
Next: at Iowa
Brendan Sullivan provided Northwestern with some new life early at Maryland, but a backbreaking second half collapse brought the Big Ten’s worst team back down to Earth.
Iowa will be Northwestern’s easiest opponent in weeks, but nothing will come easy to a team whose defense allows one of the worst yards per play averages in the conference.