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Big Ten Power Rankings, Week Eight

A top-ten ranked Big Ten showdown highlights the week of conference action

Ohio State Athletics

1. Michigan (8-0, 5-0 B1G)

Last Ranking: 1

Last Result: 49-0 win at Michigan State

Next: Bye

New week, same result as Michigan dispatches another Big Ten opponent. This week’s victim is cross-state rival Michigan State. From the kickoff, Michigan had this game in the bag, scoring on its first drive of the game.

The Wolverines had a 28-0 lead at halftime, and they didn’t let up. Michigan scored three more touchdowns and compiled 477 yards on the day — just an absolute domination of a rival. Again, Michigan should not only be ranked number one in the Big Ten, it should also be ranked number one nationally.

2. Ohio State (7-0, 4-0 B1G)

Last Ranking: 3

Last Result: 20-12 win vs. Penn State

Next: at Wisconsin

Ohio State now has two signature wins against top-10 opponents, winning one possession games against Notre Dame earlier this season and now Penn State. This is a tough, physical team. Ohio State’s defense was very stout, holding the Nittany Lions to only 240 total yards and only one third down conversion in 16 tries.

Marvin Harrison Jr., Ohio State’s superstar wide receiver, had himself a day at the office. Harrison caught 11 passes for 162 yards and scored a crucial fourth quarter touchdown to seal the win for the Buckeyes.

3. Penn State (6-1, 3-1 B1G)

Last Ranking: 2

Last Result: 20-12 loss at Ohio State

Next: vs. Indiana

Tough loss for the Nittany Lions at the Horseshoe on Saturday. Their defense was solid against this potent Ohio State team, only allowing 20 points. However, it was Penn State’s offense that couldn’t get the job done. Penn State only rushed for 49 yards and passed for 191 yards.

The Nittany Lions simply could not convert on third down. They were only 1-16 on third down and although they never turned the ball over, Penn State simply could not get deep enough into Ohio State territory to score often enough. Look for Penn State to rebound and work out its frustration against Indiana Saturday.

4. Iowa (6-2, 3-2 B1G)

Last Ranking: 4

Last Result: 12-10 loss vs. Minnesota

Next: Bye

Just a brutal, heart-wrenching loss for the Hawkeyes Saturday. Iowa’s offense continued its season long trend of simply showing up and hoping for something positive. The team only generated 127 total yards and gave up three turnovers. The most damning stat is that Iowa ran the ball 28 times and only gained a measly 11 yards. This offense is simply not competitive enough.

Iowa’s defense was stellar, holding Minnesota to only 12 points and less than 250 total yards. Although a fair catch signal negated a go-ahead punt return touchdown for Iowa, the special teams and defense did enough to win this game. The Hawkeyes’ offense is holding back both other units of the team and is torturous to Hawkeye fans.

5. Rutgers (6-2, 3-2 B1G)

Last Ranking: 6

Last Result: 31-14 win at Indiana

Next: Bye

Greg Schiano has helped his Scarlet Knights become Bowl game eligible for the second time in his second stint as head coach. Rutgers controlled the game on the ground in this one, rushing for 276 yards. The Scarlet Knights had the ball for over 37 minutes due in large part to running the ball 55 times.

Rutgers running back Gavin Wimsatt led the ground attack, rushing for 143 yards and three touchdowns. This team probably won’t have a shot at winning the top heavy Big Ten East Division, but it is holding its own so far in what is shaping up to be Greg Schiano’s best season at Rutgers during his second stint.

6. Maryland (5-2, 2-2 B1G)

Last Ranking: 5

Last Result: Bye

Next: at Northwestern

Usually in these rankings, bye weeks are neutral. But when a team like Rutgers last weekend has a great win, they’ll jump the bye week team. So, Maryland is a victim of the bye week this time.

Look for them to come out fresh and energetic when the team travels to Evanston to play Northwestern this weekend.

7. Minnesota (4-3, 2-2 B1G)

Last Ranking: 9

Last Result: 12-10 win at Iowa

Next: vs. Michigan State

The Golden Gophers went into Iowa City, faced down the Hawkeyes vaunted defense and came out with a win. Neither offense was very productive, but Minnesota caused three turnovers, which stymied Iowa’s already unproductive offense to a near grinding halt.

I expect Minnesota to build on this strong win when it heads back home to play Michigan State this weekend.

8. Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1 B1G)

Last Ranking: 7

Last Result: 25-21 win at Illinois

Next: vs. Ohio State

In a resilient win for the Badgers last weekend, Wisconsin had to overcome a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter to beat Illinois. Wisconsin’s defense really clamped down on Illinois in the fourth quarter, only allowing 64 yards in the frame.

Wisconsin overcame a slow start to win this one, but it has a tough test upcoming this weekend when it hosts Ohio State.

9. Nebraska (4-3, 2-2 B1G)

Last Ranking: 8

Last Result: 17-9 win vs. Northwestern

Next: vs. Purdue

Was this game a defensive slug fest or an offensive no-show from both teams? For the sake of both fanbases, I’ll go with a strong defensive showing from both squads. Under that notion, Nebraska did a good job limiting the Wildcats to converting only 3-of-15 third down attempts.

This wasn’t a solid statement win, but a win over a conference opponent is positive overall. Look for the Cornhuskers to try to continue their October winning ways when they host Purdue this weekend.

10. Purdue (2-5, 1-3 B1G)

Last Ranking: 12

Last Result: Bye

Next: at Nebraska

Unlike Maryland, Purdue finds itself as not only a bye week winner, but due to the performances of the two teams below it, the Boilermakers find themselves jumping up two spots.

The bye week was much needed for the Boilermakers as they look to try to shake out of a two-game losing streak. Purdue heads to Nebraska for a showdown with the Cornhuskers Saturday afternoon.

11. Illinois (3-5, 1-4 B1G)

Last Ranking: 10

Last Result: 25-21 loss vs Wisconsin

Next: Bye

Bad home loss for the Fighting Illini. Giving up 18 unanswered to lose the game by four points is not a good look no matter who the opponent is. Illinois only ran three plays in Wisconsin territory in the fourth quarter. The team’s offense simply could not muster a strong drive while its defense crumbled behind them.

Illinois has now lost three of its last four games, so its upcoming bye week is much needed before the team heads into final month of games.

12. Northwestern (3-4, 1-3 B1G)

Last Ranking: 11

Last Result: 17-9 loss at Nebraska

Next: vs. Maryland

Disappointing loss for the Wildcats. The defense was great for Northwestern, limiting Nebraska to under 250 total yards and forcing two turnovers. Unfortunately, the Wildcats’ offense simply couldn’t get going. They struggled on third downs and only rushed for 81 yards on 39 attempts.

This was definitely a winnable game for the Wildcats, so dropping this one stings. However, the Wildcats cannot let this loss linger, as they host Maryland this Saturday in what should be a tough matchup for Northwestern.

13. Indiana (2-5, 0-4 B1G)

Last Ranking: 14

Last Result: 31-14 loss vs. Rutgers

Next: at Penn state

Here we reach the bottom of the Big Ten. Indiana follows up its big loss to Michigan with another poor showing at home against Rutgers.

The Scarlet Knights ran all over Indiana, rushing for 276 yards and averaging five yards per carry. They didn’t turn the ball over and they dominated the time of possession, having the ball for over 37 minutes. Indiana’s tough stretch continues next week when they go on the road to play Penn State.

14. Michigan State (2-5, 0-4 B1G)

Last Ranking: 13

Last Result: 49-0 loss vs Michigan

Next: at Minnesota

At the very bottom of the Big Ten Power Rankings this week, we have Michigan State. The Spartans and Wolverines looked like they were playing in different leagues on Saturday. Michigan State only managed 10 first downs, compiled 182 total yards, committed 11 team penalties for 102 yards and even turned the ball over twice.

To make matters worse, the Spartans had a wildly inappropriate pregame trivia segment on their video board. It’s bad enough that the team isn’t competitive on the field, but having the technical staff overlooking a faux pas like this is just embarrassing and unacceptable. Perhaps Michigan State can put up a better effort this weekend when they head on the road to play at Minnesota.