Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 7
It never looked easy, but after a second road win against a ranked opponent this season, the Ohio State Buckeyes reclaim the No. 1 spot in this week's edition of Big Ten Power Rankings.
Other teams on the upward climb in the rankings include Nebraska and Iowa. Michigan State and Rutgers continue their freefall towards the bottom of the list.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (6-0, 3-0): After an uninspired first half performance, J.T. Barrett and Urban Meyer rallied the troops for an exhilarating win in Madison. Remember, this is the youngest team in NCAA Division I football. Plenty of Buckeyes grew up and matured during the overtime thriller on Saturday.
2. Michigan Wolverines (6-0, 3-0): Michigan had a bye week, so Jim Harbaugh took it upon himself to have a little fun. On a recruiting trip to Antioch High School in California, Harbaugh had the honor of announcing the 2016 Antioch High Homecoming Queen.
3. Nebraska Cornhuskers (6-0, 3-0): A close win in conference play in a true road game can be a major confidence booster for a team. Nebraska overcame some costly turnovers and still grabbed the victory, improving to 6-0 for the first time since 2001. But the highlights of Nebraska-Indiana this weekend were a referee blunder and Brandon Reilly's catch.
4. Wisconsin Badgers (4-2, 1-2): If we learned one thing from Saturday night, it's that Wisconsin hasn't received the respect it properly deserves. With the bye week's aid, the Badgers were more prepared for Ohio State than any team this season. But even that home crowd and a bye week couldn't hold on forever. A long road lies ahead for Wisconsin, who now sits two games back of Nebraska in the Big Ten West.
5. Penn State Nittany Lions (4-2, 2-1): Like Wisconsin, Penn State was kindly given a bye the week prior to a primetime showdown at home against the No. 2-ranked Buckeyes. More good news for Penn State: they have yet to lose at home.
6. Iowa Hawkeyes (5-2, 3-1): It's hard to believe Iowa is in the thick of the Big Ten West race after their poor play only weeks ago, but Iowa has bounced back and positioned itself for another shot at a run to Indianapolis. After trouncing Purdue this week, Iowa welcomes No. 10 Wisconsin to Kinnick.
7. Indiana Hoosiers (3-3, 1-2): There's no doubt Indiana has made major improvements between this season and last. The past three weeks may have resulted in a 1-2 record, but a loss at Ohio State and vs. Nebraska is nothing to fret about. Kevin Wilson seems to be turning the corner with this bunch.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2, 1-2): Even without Mitch Leidner at quarterback, Minnesota still ran up and down on Maryland, both literally and figuratively. The Gophers totaled 229 team rushing yards and cruised to a road conference victory.
9. Northwestern Wildcats (3-3, 2-1): Northwestern laid all sorts of hurt on Michigan State in East Lansing. The Wildcats put up 54 points on Sparty, the most points Michigan State had ever allowed at home. Oh, and Joe Gaziano blew up Spartans' freshman quarterback Brian Lewerke.
10. Maryland Terrapins (4-2, 1-2): What started as a promising season for Maryland has quicken fallen back to earth. Michigan State comes to College Park next week with both sides desperately needing a win.
11. Purdue Boilermakers (3-3, 1-2): Purdue allowed 49 points to an Iowa offense that's struggled to find itself over the past several weeks. On the bright side, the offense never quit and at least put up a fight, scoring 35 points, 21 of which came in the fourth with the game already out of reach.
12. Illinois Fighting Illini (2-4, 1-2): Rejoice, Illini. A Big Ten win is in the books. A dominating 24-7 victory over Rutgers proves Illinois isn't the worst team in the Big Ten after all.
13. Michigan State Spartans (2-4, 0-3): It's a full-fledged disaster for Michigan State. Sound the alarms. Sparty can only afford two more losses and still guarantee itself a bowl game, and it still has Michigan and Ohio State on the schedule.
14. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-5, 0-4): Rutgers scored a touchdown. After 11 straight quarters without a point scored, Rutgers avoided the shutout at home against Illinois. It's the moral victories that count, right?