B1G Power Rankings after Week 10: Michigan flexing its muscle on the rest of the league
Is there any doubt right now?
If there was any question that Michigan was a serious contender in the national picture, the Wolverines answered them with by pounding Penn State on Saturday in a 42-7 decision. It was the most dominant performance we’ve seen from any team in the conference this season.
Michigan, right now, appears to be head and shoulders above the rest of the league.
Down a few rungs on the B1G ladder, we saw some shifts in the rankings. Purdue’s win over Iowa helped the Boilermakers move up and Wisconsin dropped after an ho-hum performance against Rutgers. There was plenty of other movement as well.
Let’s take a look at the B1G power rankings following Week 10.
14. Rutgers, 1-8 (lost to Wisconsin 31-17)
The Scarlet Knights still haven’t posted a win since the first week of the season, but they’ve played well (relatively speaking) over the last few weeks. Rutgers didn’t have an answer for Jonathan Taylor or the rushing attack, but it did hold the Badgers to 31 points. That feels like a small victory.
13. Indiana, 4-5 (bye week)
The Hoosiers were on a bye week but Minnesota’s lopsided loss to Illinois certainly didn’t do them any favors.
12. Minnesota, 4-5 (lost to Illinois 55-31)
Ugly, ugly, ugly. This is the second time in three weeks Minnesota has been embarrassed by an average (at best) team in the B1G. The Gophers just don’t have an answer for a strong rushing attack. Such a disappointing performance after a nice win over Indiana a week ago.
11. Illinois, 4-5 (def. Minnesota 55-31)
Reggie Corbin had 213 yards. A.J. Bush added 127. In total, Illinois accounted for 430 rushing yards and five touchdowns on the ground in a blowout win over Minnesota. This was, by far, the most impressive win of the Lovie Smith era. Now, can it translate to next week? The Illini have a shot to get back to .500 against Nebraska next Saturday.
10. Nebraska, 2-7 (lost to No. 10 Ohio State 36-31)
An incredible effort from Nebraska but, like so many times this season, it just wasn’t enough. Adrian Martinez had another great outing, throwing for 266 yards and rushing for 72 more. He accounted for three total touchdowns in the loss. Just a few more plays and the Huskers might’ve pulled off the upset.
9. Maryland, 5-4 (lost to Michigan State 24-3)
Bad luck paired with some offensive struggles was a recipe for disaster for the Terrapins. Maryland accumulated just 100 yards against the Spartans’ defense and a late interception that could’ve resulted in a touchdown was fumbled in the end zone. It was definitely a crushing blow for the Terps. With Ohio State and Penn State still on the schedule, Maryland likely needs a win over Indiana next week to play in a bowl game.
8. Wisconsin, 6-3 (def. Rutgers 31-17)
Jonathan Taylor was pretty good, hitting the 200-yard mark for the sixth time in his career and the third time this season. But this was another less-than-impressive performance from Wisconsin. But the Badgers did hit the six-win mark and clinch bowl eligibility for the fourth straight year under Paul Chryst. Wisconsin has two huge tests ahead, traveling to Penn State and Purdue in consecutive weeks.
7. Iowa, 6-3 (lost to Purdue 38-36)
From College Football Playoff contender to middle-of-the-road B1G team. It’s funny how back-to-back losses can completely change the complexion of a season. The Hawkeyes had their chances, but the defense just didn’t play well enough against a high powered Purdue offense. Iowa has essentially been eliminated from the B1G West race.
6. Purdue, 5-4 (def. No. 16 Iowa 38-36)
Purdue was able to move the football through the air and played with a lead through most of the game. A few penalties and a great drive late in the game set up a game-winning field goal for Spencer Evans. The Boilermakers have now beaten three ranked opponents in Ross-Ade Stadium this year and is still alive in the B1G West.
5. Northwestern, 5-4 (lost to No. 4 Notre Dame 31-21)
Just not enough plays this time. Northwestern had opportunities to knock off Notre Dame for a third-straight time, but the Wildcats dug a 24-7 hole and couldn’t make enough plays late in the game. The good news is that Northwestern is still 5-1 in the B1G and controls its own destiny in terms of a trip to Indianapolis. With games against Iowa, Minnesota and Illinois ahead — and owning the head-to-head game with Purdue — the Wildcats have a clear path to the B1G title game.
4. Penn State, 6-3 (lost to No. 5 Michigan 42-7)
It’s easy to question whether Penn State should be this high after suffering a beating at the hands of Michigan. This is still a team that’s a few plays away from being 8-1, though. The Nittany Lions’ loss is more of a credit to the Wolverines than an indictment of James Franklin and Co. Penn State just couldn’t figure anything out against such a solid defense.
3. Michigan State, 6-3 (def. Maryland 24-3)
The Spartans might have three losses but they continue to do impressive things defensively. Considering the number of injuries Mark Dantonio’s bunch has face this season, it’s somewhat remarkable they’re 6-3 this season. Next week, Michigan State gets the opportunity to play spoiler, taking on No. 10 Ohio State in East Lansing.
2. Ohio State, 8-1 (def. Nebraska 36-31)
Questions about Ohio State’s legitimacy as a title contender aren’t going anywhere after the win over Nebraska. Sure, the offense looked better and the Buckeyes were able to run the football more effectively (229 yards), but there’s still some serious questions about that defense. Ohio State will have a big test on Saturday, taking on Michigan State in East Lansing.
1. Michigan, 8-1 (def. No. 14 Penn State 42-7)
There should be no doubt who the best team in the B1G is right now. After blowing out Penn State and recording its eighth straight win, Michigan is playing the best football in the conference. Jim Harbaugh is closing in on his first division title and a chance to claim a B1G championship. The next two weeks should be a breeze for the Wolverines, taking on Rutgers and Indiana. That should set the stage for a colossal matchup with Ohio State in the season finale.