Big Ten Power Rankings

By The Daily Illini sports staff

Editor’s note: Every week, The Daily Illini football staff ranks the football teams in the Big Ten 1-14 and compiles the lists into its own Big Ten power rankings.

1. Michigan (2) — Jim Harbaugh’s squad just keeps on rolling. The Wolverines held possession for over 40 minutes of Saturday’s 41-8, dismantling Illinois, and weren’t even close to being tested after jumping out to a 21-0 lead in the opening quarter. They may not be challenged until the season-ending bout with Ohio State.

2. Ohio State (1) — OSU suffered the big upset of the weekend, falling to Penn State 24-21. The Buckeyes controlled possession, dominated total yardage and converted on nine of 22 third downs but couldn’t put the Nittany Lions away in the end. Barring another upset, there may not be anymore losses on OSU’s schedule. 

3. Nebraska (4) — They trailed 14-10 at the half, but Tommy Armstrong and the Cornhuskers held off an inspired Purdue team for a 27-14 win. Nebraska remains undefeated and has a solid grasp on the Big Ten West. 

4. Wisconsin (3) — The Badgers continue to grind through a brutal schedule and nabbed their first win in three weeks against a hot-and-cold Iowa team. Senior running back Corey Clement has carried the team on his shoulders, topping 130 yards for two-straight weeks on 60 total carries.

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5. Penn State (5) — A sea of white engulfed Beaver Stadium’s field after the Nittany Lions knocked off the No. 2 team in the country on Saturday. It took eight OSU penalties and a blocked field goal return in the final minutes, but Penn State finished the job no one thought they could. Sophomore Saquon Barkely continues to dominate on the ground, leading the way with 99 yards on 12 carries. 

6. Iowa (6) — A once potent Hawkeyes offense has sputtered in a big way this season, and Iowa’s nine points on Saturday was a season-low. Regarded as one of the best QBs in the conference prior to the season, C.J. Beathard has disappointed thus far — he’s topped 200 passing yards twice through eight games.

7. Northwestern (9) — After stumbling out of the gates, the Wildcats have put together three-straight impressive conference wins. Their latest, a 24-14 victory over Indiana, came on the strength of Clayton Thorson’s three passing scores and two timely interceptions. 

8. Maryland (10) — A 28-17 win over Michigan State sounded a whole lot better this time last year, but the Terps handled business regardless. Perry Hills lit up the MSU secondary for a 20-for-27, two-touchdown passing performance while running back Ty Johnson and Lorenzo Harrison each ripped off big runs to seal Maryland’s fifth win of the season.

9. Minnesota (8) — The Gophers sneaked away with a win over Rutgers on a last-second field goal, but giving up 32 points to a team that had scored 14 total points in its past four games definitely isn’t a good look for Tracy Claeys’ crew. Senior quarterback Mitch Leidner only has one touchdown pass in his past four contests.

10. Indiana (7) — Their schedule hasn’t done them any favors, but the Hoosiers have lost three in a row and don’t look like much of a threat in the East. Quarterback Richard Lagow piled up 319 yards on a whopping 59 attempts, and probably hopes he won’t be throwing that much against an easier stretch of the schedule that includes Maryland and Rutgers in the next two weeks.

11. Purdue (11) — Darrell Hazell certainly has his team playing hard, and even if he can’t prevent his eventual firing, he’s definitely postponing it. A loss is a loss, but hanging around against a top-10 team was an impressive feat for Purdue. Quarterback David Blough has 767 passing yards and seven TDs in his past two contests.

12. Illinois (12) — Third-string quarterback Jeff George Jr. was forced to make his first-career start in the Big House and never stood a chance. He completed four passes while the Illinois running game was mostly bottled up by Michigan’s athletic front seven. Lovie Smith has made it a point to give the younger players on the roster more tick, and they played hard in a 41-8 loss that could have been a lot worse. 

13. Michigan State (13) — How the mighty have fallen. A year after making the CFB playoff, the Spartans are in the same company as Rutgers as the only teams without a conference win in the Big Ten. Perhaps playing in-state rival Michigan next week could provide a spark, but Mark Dantanio is in full damage-control mode at this point. 

14. Rutgers (14) — The Scarlet Knights finally showed some semblance of an offense, and it looks like Giovanni Rescigno has officially taken over as the starter under center. The junior has given his team a spark, and Rutgers will look to at least avoid being embarrassed for the remainder of the season. 

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