Big Ten Power Rankings Week 13: All Eyes On Columbus

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 13

After weeks of “what ifs,” the game college football fans wanted to see is happening. One loss Michigan will play one-loss Ohio State for a chance to represent the Big Ten East in the conference championship game. Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin, and Michigan State didn’t go down without a fight. The road to get to “The Game” was bumpy (thanks, Ohio State), but it all worked out in the end as both teams’ will look to not only win the game on Saturday but improve their chances of making the College Football Playoff. Strap in. It’s game time in the Big Ten Power Rankings Week 13.

Here are last week’s Big Ten Power Rankings for reference.

14. Rutgers (1-10)

Lost to Penn State, 20-7

The streak continues for all the wrong reasons. Rutgers has not won a Big Ten game since November 4, 2017, and that streak continued this past weekend after their loss to Penn State. This season can’t end any faster for the Scarlet Knights. Rutgers travels to Michigan State to finish off their season (from hell).

13. Illinois (4-7)

Lost to Iowa, 63-0

Illinois either blows you out or gets blown out. Last weekend, Illinois was on the wrong side of a 63-0 blowout courtesy of the Iowa Hawkeyes. What’s worse is that their best running back, Reggie Corbin, left the game after 1 carry with an ankle injury. Illinois closes out the season on the road against Northwestern.

12. Indiana (5-6)

Lost to Michigan, 31-20

Michigan definitely overlooked Indiana this past weekend. Credit the Hoosiers for taking advantage of Michigan’s slow start as Indiana went into halftime up 17-15. Despite losing the game, Indiana proved a lot to me. In particular, running back Stevie Scott has the chance to be the best player in the Big Ten for years to come. Scott set the record for rushing yards by a true freshman at Indiana with 1,033. Indiana closes out their season at home against Purdue on Saturday.

11. Maryland (5-6)

Lost to Ohio State in OT, 52-51

I don’t feel too bad when teams lose. It’s part of the game. However, this is a rare case where I feel extremely bad for Maryland. This win could’ve changed the program in a year that has been plagued by scandals and controversies. I absolutely loved the call to go for 2. The receiver was open too and even after a bad throw, the ball still hit his hands. That win could have changed the college football landscape. Hats off to Maryland for competing in one of the best games of the year. Maryland travels to Happy Valley to take on Penn State.

10. Minnesota (5-6)

Lost to Northwestern, 24-14

Minnesota hung around in the game longer than expected as they entered the fourth quarter down 13-7. However, this game was more about Northwestern’s special season than Minnesota’s growth. PJ Fleck is slowly building a program that can compete in the Big Ten West. They will put the rest of the conference on notice for next season if they knock off Wisconsin on the road this Saturday.

9. Purdue (5-6)

Lost to Wisconsin in triple OT, 47-44

Purdue lost a barn burner to Wisconsin in triple overtime. It happens. However, the biggest storyline concerns their head coach, Jeff Brohm, and his status at Purdue. Once Bobby Petrino was fired at Purdue, “Jeff Brohm to Lousiville” watch has started. Brohm was born in Louisville, played at Louisville, and coached at Louisville. Louisville is going to throw the kitchen sink at Brohm to try and sway him away from Purdue. Although Brohm has a great recruiting class coming in next year (25th in the nation), will that be enough for him to stay? We soon shall see. Purdue travels to Bloomington to play Indiana on Saturday.

8. Michigan State (6-5)

Lost to Nebraska, 9-6

Michigan State wants to run the ball and play defense. The defense played well on Saturday against Nebraska, holding them to under 250 yards and 9 points. The running game was solid as well as they accumulated 143 yards rushing. However, I’m baffled that the Spartans decided to throw the ball FORTY ONE times (only completed 15 passes) with their backup quarterback in bad weather. I don’t understand that thought process whatsoever and frankly, it cost the Spartans. Michigan State plays Rutgers at home on Saturday.

7. Nebraska (4-7)

Beat Michigan State, 9-6

The Cornhuskers did it again and this time, they did it without scoring a single touchdown. The high powered Nebraska offense was held in check by the Michigan State defense (and the weather) as the Cornhuskers only accumulated 248 yards. However, the Cornhuskers came back from a 6-0 defeat to score 9 unanswered 4th quarter points, all off of field goals. Nebraska has now won 4 out of 5 games and will look to finish on a high note on Friday as they travel to Kinnick Stadium to face Iowa.

6. Wisconsin (7-4)

Beat Purdue in triple OT, 47-44

A Wisconsin team was able to win a shootout? Say it ain’t so. Lead by Jonathan Taylor’s career-high 321 rushing yards and 3 TDs, Wisconsin was able to comeback and defeat Purdue in triple overtime, 47-44. It still boggles my mind that in a game where the Badgers put up 47 points, quarterback Jack Coan only threw for 160 yards. (Coan did have 2 TDs). Wisconsin needs a a stud at quarterback in order to take them to the next level in 2019. Wisconsin closes out its season at home against Minnesota.

5. Iowa (7-4)

Beat Illinois, 63-0

I’m not an expert, but I believe Iowa was mad at their performance against Northwestern from a week ago because they swept the leg and showed Illinois no mercy in a 63-0 win. Iowa outscored their last four opponents 133-82. Do you want to know what their record is in those four games? 1-3. This Iowa team has “Outback Bowl Winners” written all over it. Iowa will face a surging Nebraska team at Kinnick to close out the season on Friday.

4. Penn State (8-3)

Beat Rutgers, 20-7

What is going on with Penn State? This dynamic offense could only score 20 points on Rutgers. Trace McSorley has to be playing hurt. I have no other explanation. However, with West Virginia’s recent loss, Penn State made it’s way back into a New Year’s Six game according to CBS Sports. To keep that spot, Penn State will have to beat Maryland on Saturday in an impressive fashion.

3. Northwestern (7-4)

Beat Minnesota, 24-14

The magical season from the Wildcats continued as they defeated Minnesota on the road in a hard-fought victory. Northwestern already knows it will be playing for a Big Ten Championship, but that doesn’t mean you want to enter the game playing your worst. I expect Northwestern to play hard this Saturday against Illinois to gain some momentum for the title game.

2. Ohio State (10-1)

Beat Maryland in OT, 52-51

I’m speechless. Maryland wins this game 9 out of 10 times if they play this fourth quarter over again. However, Ohio State only needed one time to win and they escaped College Park with a one-point victory in overtime. Quarterback Dwayne Haskins saved his best game of the season for when his team needed him the most. 315 yards passing, 3 touchdowns to go along with 59 yards rushing and 3 TDs. With the victory, Ohio State kept its Big Ten title hopes alive and will play Michigan on Saturday for the right to play Northwestern.

Side note: Is Urban Meyer healthy? I would never wish ill will on someone’s health. If Meyer is truly sick, by all means, do whatever it takes to get better. That being said, what happened on the sideline during this game? When Ohio State was down, it looked like he was dying. When Ohio State battled back to win, he had more pep in his step. Was it just adrenaline kicking in? Maybe. All I know is that it was weird to watch.

1. Michigan (10-1)

Beat Indiana, 31-20

It wasn’t pretty, but Michigan overcame a 17-15 halftime deficit to defeat Indiana at home 31-20. This matchup screamed trap game, and that’s exactly what happened. However, thanks to six field goals from kicker Jake Moody, Michigan did just enough to escape with a win and more importantly, keep their #4 ranking, which is the last spot in the College Football Playoff. Michigan’s destiny is in their hands. To keep their playoff hopes alive, Jim Harbaugh will have to do something that he has never done in tenure in Ann Arbor, which is beat Ohio State. This could be the year it happens. Michigan travels to Columbus to play Ohio State on Saturday.

Michigan vs. Ohio State. Saturday, 12:00 PM on Fox. Be there.

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 12: “The Game” Is On The Horizon

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 12

At the beginning of the season if I told you that the winner of the Michigan vs. Ohio State matchup on Nov. 24 would go on to face Northwestern in the Big Ten Championship Game, would you have believed me? In all likelihood barring a major upset, that very situation is going to occur in just under two week’s time. For the love of all that is good in the world, please survive these trap games, Michigan and Ohio State. College football needs you two to face off for all the marbles in two weeks. Make it happen. On to the Big Ten Power Rankings Week 12.

Here are last week’s Big Ten Power Rankings for reference.

14. Rutgers (1-9)

Lost to Michigan, 42-7

Well, it was 7-7 in the first quarter. I guess (?) that’s a positive. Rutgers has not won a Big Ten game since November 4, 2017. No comment. Rutgers plays at home against Penn State this Saturday.

13. Illinois (4-6)

Lost to Nebraska, 54-35

Illinois either blows you out or they get blown out. Last Saturday, they were blown out by Nebraska. On a positive note, the Illini rushing game accumulated for 383 yards and 5 TDs. Next season can’t come fast enough as 5-star quarterback Isaiah Williams will most likely be under center. Illinois plays Iowa at home on Saturday.

12. Maryland (5-5)

Lost to Indiana, 34-32

It’s hard to lose ball games when your offense accounts for 542 yards in over 39 minutes with the ball. However, 4 turnovers turned out to be the difference maker in a 34-32 loss to Indiana. If you can remember, Maryland beat Texas in the first game of the season. Here’s to happier times. Maryland plays Ohio State at home on Saturday.

11. Indiana (5-5)

Beat Maryland, 34-32

Going into Saturday’s game against Maryland, Indiana had not won a game since September. That all changed when the Hoosiers defeated the Terps 34-32. Despite being outgained by almost 200 yards, the Hoosiers came out on top thanks Peyton Ramsey’s 3 total TDs. Although the defense allowed more than 500 yards, they did force 4 turnovers. Indiana travels to the Big House to take on Michigan on Saturday.

10. Minnesota (5-5)

Beat Purdue, 41-10

The remaining teams in the power rankings are so inconsistent that their ranking in the bottom varies from week to week. Two weeks ago, Minnesota surrendered 55 points in a loss. Against Purdue, Minnesota’s defense held the high-powered Purdue offense to season lows in points and yards. Only in the Big Ten. Minnesota will try for the upset special this weekend as they play Northwestern at home.

9. Nebraska (3-7)

Beat Illinois 54-35

Don’t look now, but Nebraska is starting to figure things out. The Cornhuskers have won 3 of their last 4 games after starting the year 0-6. This past Saturday, Nebraska exploded for 54 points behind an Adrian Martinez’s 345 total yards and 4 TDs. Things are starting to look up for the Cornhuskers as they are building momentum for next season. Nebraska plays Michigan State at home on Saturday.

8. Wisconsin (6-4)

Lost to Penn State, 22-10

Wisconsin, you need help at quarterback desperately. The Badgers are handicapped at quarterback right now. Alex Hornibrook can only take the Badgers so far and his backup, Jack Coan, threw for 60 (!!!) yards total the other day in the loss to Penn State. If I’m Wisconsin, I try and find the next Russell Wilson via graduate transfer. It worked out before. Why not try it again? If I’m Wisconsin, I’m doing everything in my power to recruit Kelly Bryant from Clemson to play for the Badgers next year. It probably won’t happen, but you get the idea. Wisconsin plays at Purdue on Saturday.

7. Purdue (5-5)

Lost to Minnesota, 41-10

Is Purdue not as good as we thought they were? After dismantling Ohio State, the Boilermakers have lost two of the past three games including a head-scratching loss this past Saturday to Minnesota. The Boilermakers picked a bad time to put up season lows in yards and points as it was a must-win game in order to keep pace in the Big Ten West. With that being said, Purdue will look to improve their bowl position with a win on Saturday at home against Wisconsin.

6. Iowa (6-4)

Lost to Northwestern, 14-10

Tell me if you have heard this story before. Iowa had the lead late, but let it slip through their fingers in the 4th quarter on the way to defeat. For the second straight week, the Hawkeyes were unable to hold on to a fourth-quarter lead as Northwestern scored a touchdown with just under 10 minutes left, which was good enough to win. What started off as a promising season for Iowa (6-1) has taken a turn for the worse after 3 consecutive losses. Iowa will look to get back on track as they travel to Champaign on Saturday to face Illinois.

5. Michigan State (6-4)

Lost to Ohio State, 26-6

With a chance to shock the world, the Spartan offense could not gain any momentum against the Buckeyes on their way to a 26-6 defeat. Michigan State was hanging around the entire game and trailed only 9-6 heading into the 4th quarter. However, a costly fumble with their backed up to their own end zone cost the Spartans as the Buckeyes recovered for the touchdown to go up 16-6. Going 2 for 16 on 3rd down also did not help out the Spartans’ chance for an upset. Michigan State will travel to Lincoln to take on Nebraska this Saturday.

4. Penn State (7-3)

Beat Wisconsin, 22-10

Just like that, Penn State is back in the top 4 of these power rankings after beating Wisconsin this past Saturday. Penn State still has an outside chance to make a New Year’s Six Bowl barring a few losses from teams ahead of them in the rankings. Penn State needs to win out in convincing fashion and hope a few teams in the SEC and Big 12 lose. If not, the Outback Bowl or Citrus Bowl will be their final destination. Penn State plays at Rutgers this Saturday.

3. Northwestern (6-4)

Beat Iowa, 14-10

Pat Fitzgerald, take a bow. What you have done this year is simply remarkable. This past Saturday, Northwestern battled and clawed throughout the whole game until Clayton Thorsen threw a 32-yard touchdown pass to Bennett Skowronek with just under 10 minutes in left in the 4th quarter to take the lead 14-10, which would be good enough to win. With the win, Northwestern clinched the Big Ten West and will play in the conference championship game in a few weeks for the first time in school history. On July 6, I wrote this about Pat Fitzgerald.

“In two of the past three seasons, Fitzgerald has led the Wildcats to 10-win seasons. Mark my words, Fitzgerald will lead Northwestern to a Rose Bowl appearance one day.”

Maybe this is the year it happens. Northwestern plays Minnesota on the road on Saturday.

2. Ohio State (9-1)

Beat Michigan State, 26-6

I’ll give credit where credit is due. Ohio State did not play up to its own standards, but they won an ugly game in dominant fashion against Michigan State. The Buckeyes had the edge in just about every offensive category, but it was their defense that stepped up, forcing 3 turnovers and holding the Spartans to 6 points. There is a formula to beating Ohio State, and Michigan State did not have it. Teams that can spread the field and run a fast, up-tempo offense (Purdue, Nebraska, Penn State to an extent) give the Buckeyes problems. When they face a slow, pro-style offense, the Buckeyes defense dominates. This is why I still believe Ohio State can beat Michigan. Ohio State travels to College Park on Saturday to take on Maryland.

1. Michigan (9-1)

Beat Rutgers, 42-7

No disrespect to Rutgers, but Michigan had a scrimmage last Saturday. It was a chance to fine-tune their skills against a significantly inferior opponent in Rutgers. Michigan now knows what it has to do.

  1. Beat Indiana this Saturday
  2. Beat Ohio State
  3. Beat Northwestern for the Big Ten Championship

If those three things happen, Michigan will make the College Football Playoff. Can Jim Harbaugh, Shea Patterson, and the rest of the Wolverines take care of business? We will soon find out.

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 8: The State of Michigan Asserts Its Dominance

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 8

The state of Michigan had an unbelievable weekend. The Michigan Wolverines asserted their dominance on the defensive side of the ball in a blowout victory over Wisconsin. Michigan State pulled a rabbit out of their hat and escaped Penn State with a last-second victory. Now, the in-state rivals will face each other this Saturday in East Lansing with huge Big Ten implications on the line. Where do both teams fall in the Big Ten Power Rankings Week 8? Find out below

Here are last week’s Big Ten Power Rankings for reference.

14. Nebraska (0-6)

Lost to Northwestern, 34-31

Nebraska, you were so close to winning your first game! Northwestern had to score 10 points in under 6 minutes in the fourth quarter to tie the score, where the Wildcats pulled out the win in overtime. Will Scott Frost win a game this year? This week, they will have an excellent chance to win as Minnesota comes into town.

13. Rutgers (1-6)

Lost to Maryland, 34-7

I’m running out of things to say about Rutgers. They just don’t belong in the Big Ten. The competition is too stiff, and they play in the harder side of the conference with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State, and Michigan. That’s just not fair. Then again, Rutgers was blown out by Kansas and Buffalo, so this team can’t beat anyone right now. In three years under Chris Ash, Rutgers has lost a staggering 15 out of 24 games by more than 20 points. Hot seat: Chris Ash. Rutgers hosts Northwestern on Saturday.

12. Illinois (3-3)

Lost to Purdue, 46-7

Did I jinx Illinois? Last week, I said it’s time to start “Bowl Watch” for Illinois after accumulating three wins. This past Saturday against Purdue, they were steamrolled from start to finish. After scoring the first touchdown of the game, Purdue scored the last 46 points of the game to win handily. Unfortunately, Illinois has to travel to Camp Randall to play a Wisconsin team that will be looking to take out their frustration after a blowout loss to Michigan. Pray for the Illini.

11. Minnesota (3-3)

Lost to Ohio State, 30-14

If we’re honest, I was super impressed with Minnesota this past Saturday. They hung around the entire game against Ohio State in Columbus. Going into the game, Ohio State was averaging 56.75 points per game at home and beat teams by an average of 40.25 points. Minnesota held Ohio State to 30 points and only lost by 16. Moral victories don’t win games, but they help build programs. I’m starting to believe in PJ Fleck. Minnesota travels to Lincoln to play Nebraska on Saturday.

10. Indiana (4-3)

Lost to Iowa, 42-16

Indiana had another chance to beat a quality Big Ten opponent but was blown out of their own building against Iowa. Indiana is now 1-3 against conference opponents with their one win coming against Rutgers. The bottom line is that Iowa’s defense pushed Indiana’s offense around especially at the line of scrimmage. Indiana only rushed for 67 yards on the day. Indiana will have another chance to beat a top-notch Big Ten opponent when they welcome Penn State to Bloomington on Saturday.

9. Purdue (3-3)

Beat Illinois, 46-7

Purdue scored 46 unanswered points this past Saturday after falling behind 7-0 to Illinois. Don’t look now but Purdue is now 3-3 after beginning the season 0-3. The offense has been the key to the turnaround as the Boilermakers are averaging just below 40 points a game during their three-game winning streak. Purdue has a chance to shock the country if they can pull off the upset victory at home on Saturday night against Ohio State.

8. Maryland (4-2)

Beat Rutgers, 34-7

Dominate on the ground and be efficient through the air is going to be Maryland’s ride or die offense. The Terps running game exploded once again for 290 yards and 1 TD. However, quarterback Kasim Hill only accumulated 76 yards through the air, but it resulted in 3 TDs. I still do not believe this formula can beat the top teams in the conference, but it’s lead to 4 wins so far including a standout victory over Texas, so I can’t argue it doesn’t provide results. Maryland will turn heads if they defeat Iowa in Kinnick on Saturday.

7. Northwestern (3-3)

Beat Nebraska in OT, 34-31

The Wildcats won their second straight game after scoring 10 points in the final 5:41 to force overtime, where they eventually defeated the Cornhuskers on a field goal. Quarterback Clayton Thorson continues to put the Wildcats on his back and deliver in big situations. Thorson finished with a career-high 455 yards and three touchdowns. Northwestern will look to make it 3 in a row on Saturday against Rutgers.

6. Wisconsin (4-2)

Beat to Michigan, 38-13

Wisconsin had a chance to separate themselves from the rest of the pack in the Big Ten with a win over Michigan. However, the Badgers put up a dud on Saturday night and lost by 25 points. Credit to Michigan’s defense for holding the Badgers running game to 183 yards as opposed to their average of 269.7. It’s no secret in how to beat Wisconsin. Stack the box and make quarterback Alex Hornibrook throw the ball. Against Michigan, Hornibrook threw for 100 yards, 1 TD, and 2 INTs for a QBR. of 0.7 (!!!). The Badgers are going nowhere if that poor play continues. Wisconsin plays at home against Illinois on Saturday.

5. Penn State (4-2)

Lost to Michigan State, 21-17

Penn State just can’t buy a break. In 2017, Penn State lost in heartbreaking fashion to Ohio State and Michigan State in back-to-back weeks. History repeated itself in 2018 as Penn State once again lost in heartbreaking fashion to Ohio State and Michigan State in back-to-back weeks. James Franklin needs to figure out how to close out games if they ever want to compete for a spot in the College Football Playoff. Penn State travels to Indiana on Saturday afternoon.

4. Michigan State (4-2)

Beat Penn State, 21-17

Will the real Michigan State please stand up? Two weeks ago, the Spartans looked lost in all facets of the game after losing to Northwestern at home. This past Saturday, the Spartans rallied back in the fourth quarter to win the game on a Brian Lewerke touchdown pass with 19 seconds left to defeat the Nittany Lions. It’s crazy how in one week, the entire outlook of your season changes. Michigan State now controls its own destiny and can make the Big Ten title game if they win out. The Spartans take on the visiting Wolverines in a battle for state supremacy on Saturday.

3. Iowa (5-1)

Beat Indiana, 42-16

After 7 weeks, I did not expect Iowa to be the third best team in the Big Ten, but here we are. Unlike Wisconsin, Michigan State, or Penn State, Iowa is consistent and rarely plays down to their competition. Iowa beats the teams they are supposed to beat and you can’t fault them for that. The defense has always been the team’s strength, but after a 6 TD day from quarterback Nate Stanley, the Hawkeye offense is starting to hit its stride. Iowa takes on Maryland at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday.

2. Michigan (6-1)

Beat Wisconsin, 38-13

Michigan is the second best team in the Big Ten. That is not up for debate anymore after throttling Wisconsin this past Saturday night, 38-13. The Wolverine defense is arguably the best in the country. Michigan is first in the Big Ten in total defense, scoring defense, rushing defense, and passing defense. Dominant is an understatement. Expect a defensive slugfest on Saturday as the Wolverines travel to East Lansing to take on their in-state rival, Michigan State.

1. Ohio State (7-0)

Beat Minnesota, 30-14

Dwayne Haskins throws for over 400 yards and multiple touchdowns. Ohio State wins by double digits. Have you heard that story before? That’s because it happens almost every Ohio State game. This game was closer than expected, but Haskins’s 412 yards and 3 TDs were too much for Minnesota as the Buckeyes remain undefeated. Haskins is first in the Big Ten in total offense with an average of-of 340 yards per game, which is 50 more than second place. Ohio State travels to red-hot Purdue on Saturday night. Expect a huge and raucous crowd for the Boilermakers.

In a perfect world, Michigan and Ohio State win out the rest of the year and face each other in late November for a trip to the Big Ten Title. However, this is college football. Anything can happen.