We are officially into the month of November, meaning that Rivalry Week, important matchups and postseason implications will become more common for many teams in the Big Ten. It is sure to be an exciting month of conference football, so let’s see how the Big Ten looks going into Week Nine:
1. Ohio State
Last Ranking: 2
Last Result: 44-31 win at Penn State
Next: at Northwestern
Why did the Buckeyes fall from number one in the country? Was it because they did not have a win over a ranked team? Well now they do. Ohio State is the best team in this conference and this won’t change unless Michigan can walk into the Horseshoe Nov. 26 and change that.
Spoiler alert, Ohio State will be here next week too: it plays Northwestern this weekend. Playing a team like the Wildcats gives C.J. Stroud a perfect chance to do some stat padding for Heisman voters.
Last Ranking: 1
Last Result: 29-7 win vs Michigan State
Next: at Rutgers
Every week, Michigan’s defense looks better, and with Blake Corum at running back the Wolverines are a hard team to stop. Jim Harbaugh’s squad should have an easy run at it until they play Ohio State.
But, J.J. McCarthy needs to show more if Michigan is going to make the College Football Playoff. Sure, it has a good running game, but it will need McCarthy to beat Ohio State, or else it will be toast.
Last Ranking: 3
Last Result: 26-9 win at Nebraska
Next: vs. Michigan State
Not much to say here, but Illinois does look like the best team in the Big Ten West. It has one of the top defenses in the conference and similar to Michigan, it can ride its elite running back when they need to.
Illinois needs to build on its lead in the West though, as it plays Michigan in the Big House in a few weeks.
4. Penn State
Last Ranking: 4
Last Result: 44-31 loss vs. Ohio State
Next: at Indiana
Penn State does not deserve to be lowered, as it actually kept it close with Ohio State for a while. The Nittany Lions did have a lead in the fourth quarter before the Buckeyes pulled away. Also, Penn State has two losses: to top five teams Ohio State and Michigan.
But, the question remains: Penn State has so much talent. When will it get over the hump? It seems like every year the Nittany Lions have a chance, but there is always something holding them back. Is it James Franklin? Sean Clifford? Who knows.
Last Ranking: 6
Last Result: 31-24 win vs. Northwestern
Next: at Wisconsin
Maryland has suffered from the Big Ten East being much better than the West, because if it was in the West, the Terrapins would have a legitimate chance to make the Big Ten Championship. But, that’s not how it played out.
They have a tough one this week. Going into Camp Randall Stadium and beating a Wisconsin team that has looked better recently would be huge for Mike Locksley and Co.
Last Ranking: 8
Last Result: 31-0 win vs. Rutgers
Next: at Nebraska
The Gophers were a team many thought could come out of the Big Ten West, but that’s not how it played out. For Minnesota, the goal should now be making and winning a bowl game.
Minnesota’s defense was great against Rutgers. They did not give the Scarlet Knights any room to breathe and won with ease.
Last Ranking: 6
Last Result: 35-24 loss at Wisconsin
Next: vs. Iowa
How good are the Boilermakers? Their defense is either really good or really bad, and it’s hard to find a game where they were all right. The offense is exactly what people thought it would be, as it relies heavily on Aidan O’Connell to make plays.
O’Connell will have a tough matchup this week against a strong Iowa defense.
Last Ranking: 10
Last Result: 35-24 win vs. Purdue
Next: vs. Maryland
This Badgers team is so hard to figure out. Braelon Allen is one of the top running backs in the country, but besides that where is the premier talent? Sure, it was supposed to be in the defense, but it has not been the same since last year.
Wisconsin fans won’t want to hear it, but Maryland might be able to torch the Badgers this weekend.
Last Ranking: 7
Last Result: 26-9 loss vs. Illinois
Next: vs. Minnesota
Nebraska was playing good football, especially offensively, but it ran into a great Illinois defense who did not let the Huskers score a touchdown.
Besides this week, it is worth noting how much the Huskers have improved since the first few games of the season. Think of it: they lost to NORTHWESTERN, but in their past four games they have played mostly good football.
10. Michigan State
Last Ranking: 9
Last Result: 29-7 loss vs. Michigan
Next: at Illinois
The Spartans actually looked competitive for the first half of this game. While their defense has been the center of the scrutiny this season, it was actually their offense that did not live up to the bargain. This allowed Michigan to pull away.
It does not get any easier for Payton Thorne and the rest of Mel Tucker’s offense, as they now have to go into Champaign to play Illinois.
Last Ranking: 13
Last Result: 33-14 win vs Northwestern
Next: at Purdue
Iowa can move up a little, since its offense scored a season high and Spencer Petras looked good for once. But, it can’t move up too far, since they played Northwestern.
Another tough test awaits the Hawkeyes this weekend at Purdue, who can score in bunches.
Last Ranking: 11
Last Result: 31-0 loss at Minnesota
Next: vs. Michigan
Rutgers was supposed to have a better offense than last year, but it has been dealing with too many problems at the quarterback position. Greg Schiano has to find his guy in order for the Scarlet Knights to succeed in years to come.
Last Ranking: 12
Last Result: 24-17 loss at Rutgers
Next: vs. Penn State
Tom Allen’s squad has had a tough year. But, at least it has been somewhat competitive in some games. Moreover, at least you’re not...
Last Ranking: 14
Last Result: 33-14 loss at Iowa
Next: vs. Ohio State
Did the ‘Cats really just let Iowa score 33 points? Yeah. Not much else to say. Ohio State might score 100 this weekend.