Wow wow wow, what a week of Big Ten football we just witnessed.
Actually, it wasn’t that exciting save for a YUGE Michigan State win over the fightin’ Harbaughs. Sparty’s victory makes our loss to the Green & White sting a little less, don’t it? Still, close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, and we can expect to see that loss in East Lansing count against us when it comes to bowl selectin’ time.
Iowa’s win over Illinois was some good, some bad. If you missed it you can read all about it here at The Pants.
It’s about that time where we get into the meat of the Big Ten slate, and the cream is rising to the top. I realize those two food analogies don’t make the most sense, but I’m hungry and am out of eggs. So without further ado, let me offer you the correct ranking of each Big Ten team.
1. Penn State (6-0, 3-0)
The Nits continue to roll as they stifled a decent (?) Northwestern team in Evanston. Penn State’s defense looked to be all-world as it sacked Clayton Thorson 4 times and forced two interceptions out of the Wildcat QB. Saquon Barkley had a pedestrian 75 yards (53 came on one run) and 2 touchdowns on just 16 carries as Penn State had its second-team play basically the entire fourth quarter. The Nits enjoy a bye this week along with Iowa, but the matchup against Michigan on Oct. 21 should be an all-timer.
2. Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0)
It looked like Northwestern was going to pull off the upset against the Badge two weeks ago, and Nebraska kept Sconnie in check for three quarters on Saturday, but then Jonathan Taylor happened and Nebraska got handed its first conference loss of the season. It won’t be the last. Wisconsin hosts Purdue this week and that game should be ELECTRIC.
3. Ohio State (5-1, 3-0)
OSU could probably be ranked No. 2 here, but its conference wins have come against Maryland, Indiana and Rutgers so we’re going to withhold judgment for awhile. tOSU defense held the Terps to just 66 total yards, while JT Barrett is looking outstanding again so yeah, Urban Meyer could be figuring things out.
4. Michigan State (4-1, 2-0)
Michigan State has beaten Michigan four times in the last five meetings. And eight of the last 10. Jim Who? Sparty QB Brian Lewerke made Iowa fans feel better about their team’s performance against him, and the Spartan defense might just be ELITE. This team plays Penn State and Ohio State back to back weeks in November. That will be fun.
5. Michigan (4-1, 1-1)
This whole time I thought John O’Korn would be an improvement over Wilton Speight ... and breaking news I was wrong! O’Korn threw three picks against MSU and didn’t do his team many favors. We all thought Harbaugh was a QB whisperer, but it doesn’t like he’s got his guy on campus to whisper sweet nothings to. Yet.
6. Purdue (3-2, 1-1)
Now I may be biased, but Purdue is looking goooooood as it amassed over 400 yards of offense against a not-so-great Minnesota team. The Boilers did have 4 turnovers in the first half, but cleaned it up to cruise to an easy win over team #TowTheBoat.
7. Iowa (4-2, 1-2)
The Hawkeyes drop a spot after beating a hapless Illinois team. There were a lot of things to like in that win, but Iowa still has a lot of work to do as it heads into the bye this week.
8. Indiana (3-2, 0-2)
The Hoosiers thumped Charleston Southern in a makeup game. Nothing else to see here.
9. Northwestern (2-3, 0-2)
This is where things get hairy. I don’t think jNW is significantly better than say Minnesota or Nebraska, but it certainly has had the tougher schedule so far, and I trust it more so than the other teams mentioned to put something together that resembles a competent football team. That won’t happen until after it loses to Iowa in two weeks though!
10. Minnesota (3-2, 0-2)
Minnesota has a great running game, but serious issues at quarterback. Former walk-on Conor Rhoda doesn’t seem to be the answer under center, but those behind him don’t seem to be making a push. I honestly see three more wins max left on the goofer schedule.
11. Maryland (3-2, 1-1)
The Terps would be higher if they had a functioning quarterback. Alas, they do not. Which really is too bad.
12. Nebraska (3-3, 2-1)
Tanner Lee threw a pick-six, and the sky is still blue.
13. Illinois (2-3, 0-2)
I’m mostly putting Illinois here to make myself feel better about Iowa’s win. Juice Williams ain’t walkin’ through that door.
14. Rutgers (1-4, 0-2)