So the Big Ten is … not looking great. We knew it was a pretty top-heavy conference, but that exposed itself even more following Michigan State’s loss to Indiana, and how closely Wisconsin played Michigan in Ann Arbor without its best player.
And then there’s Iowa, a fraudulent squad that will continue to get out-coached at every level now that opponents have volumes of blueprint on how to beat this team. It’s scary to think how Iowa is going to look in Minneapolis next week, nothing to say of its remaining games against Wisconsin, Michigan and Nebraska.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s look at some power rankings! The good news is there’s Illinois, Purdue, and Rutgers keeping Iowa out of last place.
- Ohio State (4-0, 1-0): This is the team to beat. Ohio State is allowing Clemson, Houston, Alabama and Louisville take all the hype while it slowly climbs to … No. 2 in the AP rankings behind Alabama. Alright so maybe people do notice how good this Ohio State squad is, led by J.T. Barrett, who might just be the best quarterback Urban Meyer has had in Columbus. There I said it.
Seriously, though. He’s unfair.
If you missed the first half, there's been a lot of this from J.T. Barrett. https://t.co/sZVa4uiALB— Ohio State on BTN (@OhioStateOnBTN) October 1, 2016
2. Michigan (5-0, 2-0): I thought the Wolverines were going to run roughshod all over the Badgers, but Bucky keeps on overachieving and plays its heart out on Saturday’s. If Wisconsin had Vince Biegel in this game, who knows how it would have gone. Michigan’s defense is elite, as allowing just a touchdown all game to any team is a feat in itself.
3. Nebraska (5-0, 2-0): And look at that, Nebraska is in the top-tier of the Big Ten, and Tommy Armstrong is actually serviceable, throwing only 2 interceptions on the year while posting the third-best passer rating in the conference. Anyway, Illinois was actually leading going into the fourth quarter of this game, so look for Nebraska to fall on its face when it plays a team that can hang for 60 minutes.
4. Wisconsin (4-1, 1-1): Wisconsin continues to impress, and I would still pick the Badgers to win the west if they didn’t have to play Michigan, Ohio State, Iowa and Nebraska in consecutive weeks. That Iowa game might as well be a bye at this point, so perhaps they will still make a trip to Indy this year.
5. Indiana (3-1, 1-0): I was hoping to see some chaos out of CHAOSTEAM this year, and its bout against Michigan State did not disappoint, although it was the Hoosier defense that actually went to work on Saturday while Indiana’s offense sputtered. Also: shoutout to Hoosier quarterback Richard Lagow who rocks No. 21. Love it.
6. Maryland (4-0, 1-0): Just like everyone expected, Maryland still has three very winnable games in front of it until it plays at Michigan Nov. 5. However, this is Maryland football we’re talking about here, so look for the Terps to lose big at Penn State next week.
7. Michigan State (2-2, 0-2): When was the last time Michigan State had back-to-back Big Ten losses? I’m willing to bet it was sometime before the Kirk Cousins era. Someone look that up for me. Michigan State quietly plays BYU next week (keep sneaking non-con games in week six, we see you Sparty) and the way this State defense is playing, I kind of like the explosive Cougars to come out of Lansing with a win.
8. Northwestern (2-3, 1-1): Northwestern is not very good. It beat an even worse Iowa team. I see two-three more wins on the Wildcats schedule. I hope the people from Inside NU are reading this.
9. Penn State (3-2, 1-1): And here is where things get really gross. Penn State needed overtime to beat an abysmal Gopher team. I actually see a handful of wins left on the schedule here, so things might actually be looking up for Penn State!
10. Iowa (3-2, 1-1): Burn it, burn it all. Name something positive on this team outside of Josey Jewell, Desmond King, and some running backs. I’ll give you a bit. Need some more time? Alright, time’s up. Seriously, I’m at a loss for words.
11. Minnesota (3-1, 0-1): I hate how I’m going to watch every minute of this Iowa-Minnesota matchup next week just because half my family and high school friends went to school there. If Minnesota can’t beat Iowa… man that is a wake up call for new head coach
The Michelin Man Tracy Claeys.
12. Illinois (1-3, 0-1): I watched more of the Illinois-Nebraska game than I care to admit, and you know what? I kind of liked what I saw out of Lovie Smith and co! Wes Lunt is a capable quarterback, there’s just little else to like on that offense. Maybe give this a few years and Illinois will become more than an afterthought? Nah, I doubt it.
13. Purdue (0-1, 2-2): It’s really too bad Purdue and Rutgers don’t play each other this year. That’s all I got.
14. Rutgers (2-3, 0-2): Rutgers allowed 58 points to Ohio State while going scoreless, which is really a shame because the over was at 59. Vegas knows everything. And that’s all I got.