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BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: POST-WEEK 10

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Week 10 was a week of blowouts in the Big Ten.

Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten saw a lot of blowouts this past weekend. Outside a 20-19 victory by Maryland at Penn State, the rest of the weekend's action saw an average margin of victory of about 33 points. Outside of enjoying your particular team take it to their opponent, week 10 was kind of a boring one for the conference. Fortunately, week 11 looks to have a few good games, including one that has playoff implications.

To the power rankings!

For a refresher of how these ratings work, see here. For a reminder of the win projections after week 10, see here.

Post-Week 10 Power Rankings

Rank Nat'l Rank Team Offense+ Defense+ Special Teams+ THOR+ Proj. W% vs Avg. Proj. W vs Avg. Proj. PPG+ vs Avg. Proj. PPGA+ vs Avg. Schedule Win%
1 11 Ohio State 155 121 122 137 0.803 9.63 37.81 17.82 102 162
2 13 Wisconsin 136 135 107 135 0.782 9.38 33.20 14.50 97 139
3 16 Michigan State 160 107 98 132 0.765 9.18 39.10 20.97 101 162
4 21 Nebraska 135 124 126 130 0.744 8.92 33.02 17.11 98 165
5 34 Maryland 109 122 137 116 0.642 7.70 26.35 17.44 109 124
6 38 Iowa 96 134 96 114 0.624 7.49 23.18 14.79 100 139
7 53 Minnesota 98 112 133 106 0.563 6.76 23.61 19.73 97 139
8 57 Michigan 83 128 81 104 0.549 6.59 19.94 16.18 104 83
9 65 Purdue 104 93 105 99 0.511 6.14 25.28 24.04 108 62
10 68 Indiana 112 88 63 99 0.509 6.11 27.28 25.27 107 70
11 69 Penn State 56 137 130 97 0.495 5.94 13.23 14.17 101 93
12 70 Illinois 112 85 52 97 0.493 5.92 27.12 25.90 106 83
13 77 Northwestern 67 122 84 93 0.469 5.63 16.05 17.57 109 70
14 83 Rutgers 99 80 112 91 0.448 5.38 24.01 26.97 104 103

1. Ohio State #11, 137 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#8 138 114 113 107 155 37.81

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#39 150 113 161 133 121 17.82

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#26 87 3.77 157 3.37 122

Ohio State's game against Illinois is just not worth recapping. We expected a blowout, and that is exactly what we received. The only thing worth dwelling on from this game, is how in the hell it ended up on during the primetime Saturday night ABC slot?

This week, the Buckeyes find themselves back in the Saturday night ABC slot, but this time it's with an actual opponent that fits the bill. Urban Meyer's high octane offense will look to take advantage of a Michigan State defense that has given up a lot of big plays this season, while the Buckeye defense will get to show just how good they really are. I say that because Ohio State has not played a ton of threatening offenses this season. Here is a list of each team that Ohio State has played this year, along with their Offense+ ranking:

  • Navy #32
  • Virginia Tech #96
  • Kent State #127
  • Cincinnati #38
  • Maryland #47
  • Rutgers #63
  • Penn State #118
  • Illinois #40

Currently, Ohio State has played three offenses that are #40 or better in the nation, according to THOR+. Navy is an option-based attack, that doesn't really compare to Michigan State. Illinois had a good offense before losing Wes Lunt to injury. So, that leaves Cincinnati as probably the most likely comparison to Michigan State. Both the Bearcats' and the Spartans' passing games rate out higher than their rushing attacks, but Ohio State shouldn't sleep on Jeremy Langford, either. We all saw how the Buckeye secondary had some issues against Cincinnati's air attack earlier this year, so I wouldn't be surprised to see Tony Lippet have a nice game on Saturday. Because of Michigan State's big play problem and Ohio State not really being tested defensively this year, I'm expecting a fairly high-scoring game.

Up Next: at #16 Michigan State

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 36.6%

Projected Average Score: Ohio State 31, Michigan State 35

2. Wisconsin #13, 135 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#23 76 145 103 111 136 33.20

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#12 126 116 91 123 135 14.50

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#53 87 3.77 127 3.60 107

For the second week in a row Wisconsin continues to shoot up the rankings. Needless to say, outscoring your last two opponents 89-7 will do that for you. Thanks to their little two-game murdering streak, their Offense+ and Defense+ ratings have both shot up, and that is what has propelled them to the #13 ranking overall and the second spot in the power rankings. The Badgers seem to have settled in with Joel Stave as their main quarterback, and while he's far from being good, the offense seems to be scoring points just fine right now. Of course, that is mainly because Melvin Gordon is so damn good. However, I should also point out that Corey Clement is no slouch, either. He ran for 131 yards and 2 touchdowns against Rutgers on just 14 carries. He's also averaging 6.6 yards per carry on the season, and he's toted the rock 106 times. He's a starting-caliber running back that Wisconsin has the luck of using as a backup. With all that being said, I would be lying if I said I wasn't a little skeptical about Wisconsin's THOR+ rating this week. It is definitely possible that they are just finding their stride at the end of the season, but we should also remember that we aren't all that far removed from some less than inspiring performances from them, either. I could see them going on to be the hands-down Big Ten West champion, or I could also see them getting tripped up in one of their final three games by a team that takes advantage of a Joel Stave interception. The Badgers are most likely one of the top four teams in the Big Ten this year, but I don't know if I believe they are in the top two.

Up Next: at #65 Purdue

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 65.1%

Projected Average Score: Wisconsin 32, Purdue 19

3. Michigan State #16, 132 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#5 149 107 127 131 160 39.11

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#61 139 105 197 134 107 20.96

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#68 66 3.56 131 3.57 98

If either team has the upper hand going into this week's matchup between what is likely the Big Ten's two best teams (sorry, Wisconsin), it's probably Michigan State. Coming off a bye week, the Spartans have an extra week to prepare and rest up for the Buckeyes. Not to mention, this game is being played in East Lansing. Basically, what I see this game boiling down to, is which defense can get the most stops. Both teams have better offenses than defenses, but Ohio State currently has the higher ranked defensive unit, according to THOR+. I've already outlined that Ohio State's defense has yet to face an offensive attack this good, so their advantage on defense may not matter all that much; especially on the road. But we shall see. I think most people are predicting a close, hard-fought game. And that should be a welcoming sight for the conference after the Ohio State vs. Illinois matchup last Saturday night.

Up Next: vs. #11 Ohio State

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 63.4%

Projected Average Score: Michigan State 35, Ohio State 31

4. Nebraska #21, 130 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#24 115 120 100 124 135 33.02

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#33 129 104 95 108 124 17.11

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#22 113 4.04 139 3.50 126

Nebraska won by 21 points against Purdue, but the real story was Ameer Abdullah leaving the game with a knee injury. Abdullah's injury happened early in the game, so Nebraska got to see what an Abdullah-less offense would look for almost an entire game. It was good enough to put up 35 on Purdue's crappy defense, but that type of performance from the offense more than likely would have resulted in 17-20 points against Wisconsin or Iowa. The cornhuskers now get a week off to game plan and get healthy (the collective eyes of Nebraska are looking at you, Abdullah), before taking part in what is possibly a battle for the Big Ten West next Saturday.

Up Next: Bye Week

5. Maryland #34, 116 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#47 88 87 76 93 109 26.35

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#35 119 107 104 115 122 17.44

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#12 166 4.60 109 3.73 137

If there is any kicker in the nation I want on my team for an end-of-game field goal, it is absolutely Brad Craddock. This guy has not missed all year and is automatic from just about anywhere on the field. And that proved true after he hit a 43 yarder to win a tough road game at Penn State. College kickers, eh? Well, that's not an issue for Maryland this year. Unfortunately for the Terps, nobody else on the team inspires that much confidence right now. Maybe Stefon Diggs does, but unfortunately, he can't throw himself the ball. That brings us to C.J. Brown, whose stock continues to be down. Yes, Penn State's defensive line threw the Maryland offensive line around all day (Brown was sacked 6 times), but Maryland fans have pointed out that his accuracy is still iffy and his decision-making abilities are questionable. Things would be different if he were an electric runner, but I don't know if he's much more than above average, and I would still question that right now. Maryland's offense is still at #47 in the nation, according to THOR+, and that's in large part thanks to adjusting for strength of schedule. But their peripherals (also opponent-adjusted) are bad and I'm waiting for this offense to fall even more.

Up Next: Bye Week

6. Iowa #38, 114 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#69 104 85 119 111 96 23.18

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#14 135 104 105 106 134 14.79

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#79 102 3.93 89 3.88 96

Needless to say, a 48-7 thrashing of Northwestern was just about the least likely expected outcome going into Saturday's game. All signs pointed to a defensive struggle to the death, but instead, we saw Iowa's defense dominate and Northwestern's flounder. That was easily the most complete offensive showing that the Hawkeyes have had all year. In past games, they would explode for a quarter or so and then turtle for the remainder of the game. Not against Northwestern. They moved the ball consistently all game, and had no trouble finding the end zone. This win moves Iowa up the THOR+'s national ranks, and if the offense can keep pulling off performances like that, they will continue to rise. However, before I come off as too optimistic, this is only one performance. There's a chance that this offense could finally be gelling into a cohesive unit (please, oh please), or it could turn out that Saturday was just one of those statistical anomalies. Let's hope for the former, and not be totally devastated if it's the latter.

Up Next: at #53 Minnesota

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 42.9%

Projected Average Score: Iowa 17.6, Minnesota 18.2

7. Minnesota #53, 106 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#66 86 100 79 98 98 23.61

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#51 127 102 141 99 112 19.73

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#14 130 4.22 137 3.52 133

With Floyd on the line this week, I have absolutely nothing kind to say about Minnesota. The defense that was the strength of their team earlier in the year has been trending downward in recent weeks, while the offense still doesn't scare much of anyone. If Iowa's offense plays like they did last week, we could see another easy victory in TCF Bank Stadium, just like we did last year. Yes, THOR+ likes Minnesota strictly due to home field advantage, but this game could easily go either way. I happen to like Iowa, myself. So bring home the bacon, Hawks.

Up Next: vs. #38 Iowa

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 57.1%

Projected Average Score: Minnesota 18.2, Iowa 17.6

8. Michigan #57, 104 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#93 61 102 39 92 83 19.94

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#26 99 124 52 130 128 16.18

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#103 118 4.10 44 4.22 81

This has been a nightmare season for the Wolverines, but at least they were able to increase their winning streak against Indiana to 19 games. They did so by executing a defensive game plan that not only kept points off the board, but also set their offensive up with good field position. Two of Michigan's touchdowns were set up by forced fumbles that resulted in the offense only needing to go 20 and 27 yards to reach the end zone. But even without the help from the defense, the Wolverines had a nice day on the offensive side of the ball. Devin Gardner had himself a nice day passing (Indiana defense, ya'll!), and the maize and blue may have also found themselves a running back in Drake Johnson -- although, one game against Indiana certainly doesn't mean we should crown him as the next great Michigan back yet. Anyway, it was a nice win for Michigan, who hopes to fight to stay alive in their hopes to reach a bowl game this year. This Saturday, they face off against a reeling Northwestern team that is also fighting to make a bowl game. Despite Northwestern giving up 48 points to Iowa, I still expect this Saturday's game to produce very few points.

Up Next: at #77 Northwestern

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 45.0%

Projected Average Score: Michigan 13, Northwestern 14

9. Purdue #65, 99 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#55 64 114 93 115 104 25.28

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#79 104 108 83 92 93 24.04

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#58 96 3.86 114 3.69 105

I'm rooting for you, Purdue. I really am. If you want to help Iowa out this weekend and trip Wisconsin up, I'm all for it. Unfortunately, with that defense, I just don't see it. The Badgers have literally stampeded their way through their last two opponents, and I'm worried this weekend will just be more of the same. But if you want to give your program that "corner-turning" win this weekend, I'm all for it.

Up Next: vs. #13 Wisconsin

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 34.9%

Projected Average Score: Purdue 19, Wisconsin 32

10. Indiana #68, 99 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#39 76 128 114 103 112 27.28

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#86 93 103 49 98 88 25.27

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#114 56 3.45 71 4.02 63

On the bright side, Tevin Coleman rushed for over 100 yards again in week 10. On the dark side, well, Indiana was embarrassed by Michigan team that is usually the embarrassee and not the embarrasser this year. This Hoosier defense is still very Hoosiery, which means all the pressure lies on the shoulders of the offense. That's nothing new, of course, but this year's offense just isn't quite as potent as we have come to expect in recent times. Tevin Coleman can only do so much on his own, and you can't really blame true freshman Zander Diamont for playing like a true freshman. Indiana likely needs to win their last four games to go bowling this season, and if they still had Nate Sudfeld at quarterback, I would say there may be an outside shot. Their remaining four games are against Penn State, Rutgers, Ohio State, and Purdue. With Sudfeld, maybe there's a chance they could catch Ohio State napping before their rivalry game with Michigan. Without Sudfeld, the Hoosiers are going to most likely need a superhero-like performance from Tevin Coleman to make a bowl game this year.

Up Next: vs. #69 Penn State

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 64.1%

Projected Average Score: Indiana 20, Penn State 12

11. Penn State #69, 97 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#118 73 66 81 72 56 13.23

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#8 133 135 107 123 137 14.17

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#18 158 4.52 102 3.78 130

Penn State continues to play opponents close, but continues to not come away with the victory. Maryland was the latest iteration of this, as Brad Craddock sealed a 20-19 Maryland win with 51 seconds left in the game. The defense, per usual, was great, which means Penn State's woes continue to fall directly on the offense. Christian Hackenberg completed on 18 of his 42 pass attempts for 177 yards on the day. He wasn't helped by the fact that he was sacked six times, but our friends at Black Shoe Diaries think Hack should also shoulder some of the blame for this terrible performance. No matter who you want to place the blame on, this offense is an abomination right now, and that is what is holding Penn State back from winning games. THOR+ doesn't like the Nittany Lions' odds of snapping a four-game losing streak this weekend, but maybe a game against the Indiana defense can help get the offense back on track. I mean, it worked for Michigan, after all.

Up Next: at #68 Indiana

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 35.9%

Projected Average Score: Penn State 12, Indiana 20

12. Illinois #70, 97 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#40 99 88 60 75 112 27.12

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#92 85 90 67 105 85 25.90

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#120 18 3.05 85 3.91 52

It's now ten teams later, and there is still nothing worth recapping from that Illinois and Ohio State game. Alas, on to the bye week.

Up Next: Bye Week

13. Northwestern #77, 93 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#109 67 82 133 109 67 16.05

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#37 115 115 103 102 122 17.57

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#97 84 3.74 85 3.91 84

Being a fan of Northwestern football has to suck right now. Saturday was a game in which they felt their team had a legitimate chance to win (as did most of this fanbase), only to see their hopes and dreams dashed from the first whistle. There were literally no positives to take away from Northwestern's loss at Iowa. A couple of weeks ago, this Wildcat team looked as if they could upset just about anybody in the conference, but right now they just look lost. And it's not just the fact that the offense is comically bad, either (it is). The defense also hasn't helped keep them in the thick of things over their last six quarters. So, were we all wrong about the defense? And, on a more macro scale, why should we believe things will get better for this Northwestern program?

Up Next: vs. #57 Michigan

THOR+ Projected Chance of Winning: 55.0%

Projected Average Score: Northwestern 14, Michigan 13

14. Rutgers #83, 91 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#63 112 88 92 94 99 24.01

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
#95 98 78 79 111 80 26.97

Special Teams Rank ST Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. ST Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg Special Teams+
#45 94 3.85 129 3.58 112

The good news for Rutgers was that Gary Nova was able to play on Saturday. The bad news was that he wasn't particularly good. Nova completed only 5 out of his 15 passes for 46 yards, tossing in an interception and no touchdowns on the way to being shutout at home against Wisconsin on homecoming weekend. His backup wasn't much better, and neither was anybody else on the team, because. They. Were. Shutout. I don't mean to disparage one of the newest additions to the conference this season, but the fact that this Rutgers team still has a chance at being bowl-eligible just seems ludicrous.

Up Next: Bye Week