B1G power rankings after Week 7
The Big Ten has become the 2-win 10.
As in, there are 10 — yes, ten — B1G teams with exactly two wins after Week 7. Some are 2-2, one is 2-3, some are 2-4 and some are 2-5.
In the weirdest season of college football ever, that is just one more weird stat.
The gulf is growing between the conference’s top four teams and the others. So of course, one of those two-win teams has to be ranked 5th and one has to be 14th in our power rankings this week. There’s quite a bit of movement this week so let’s jump in.
Here are our rankings after Week 7:
14. Purdue (2-4, lost to Nebraska 37-27)
What on earth happened to this team? After a 2-0 start, the Boilermakers lost a close one to Northwestern — no shame in that result. But after that the wheels have come off with losses to three other teams in this 2-win bunch: Minnesota, Rutgers and now Nebraska.
13. Michigan (2-4, idle)
If this season wasn’t rough enough in Ann Arbor, now UM is the latest program dealing with a COVID-19 outbreak. Only the finale against Ohio State remains — assuming the Wolverines can play. Even in a year that almost everyone wants to forget, Maize and Blue Nation wants to forget 2020 more than most.
12. Rutgers (2-5, lost to Penn State 23-7)
The Scarlet Knights have spent all season proving that they had top-notch heart if not elite talent yet. Saturday was the first time all season that they got pancaked. Just 205 total yards and 12 first downs against the Nittany Lions reminded fans of the awful Rutgers teams of the past few years.
11. Illinois (2-4, lost to Iowa 35-21)
The Fighting Illini looked good early but were ultimately overwhelmed by a suddenly stout Iowa offense. Illinois has given up at least 20 points in every game this season and quarterback Brandon Peters was benched in the second half in favor of Isaiah Williams.
10. Nebraska (2-4, beat Purdue 37-27)
Just when it seems safe to give up the Cornhuskers for dead, they come up with a performance like Saturday’s. Nebraska bolted to a 17-0 lead and hung on. What’s more, the team passed for 253 yards, a season high and the most for Scott Frost’s bunch since Oct. 26, 2019, when they had 294 vs. Indiana.
9. Penn State (2-5, beat Rutgers 23-7)
If Saturday resembled the bad old days for Rutgers, it looked like the good old days for the Nittany Lions. Few Penn State fans will have good memories of 2020 but the program’s 900th victory will certainly rank right up there and serve as a reminder of where this program usually is.
8. Michigan State (2-4, lost to Ohio State 52-12)
No dip in the rankings for getting blown out by Ohio State. Starting quarterback Rocky Lombardi was knocked out of the game in the second quarter but the Spartans might have gotten an encouraging glimpse of the future. Backup Peyton Thorne completed his first 11 passes and had a rushing touchdown.
7. Minnesota (2-3, idle)
The Golden Gophers were off for a second consecutive week and now just have a road game at Nebraska remaining. More than a dozen members of the program have tested positive for COVID-19 but coach P.J. Fleck, ever the optimist, says his team should be able to play against the Cornhuskers.
6. Wisconsin (2-2, lost to Indiana 14-6)
The defense in Madison is championship caliber. The offense is the reason that the Badgers are going to settle for a bowl well outside of the New Year’s Day 6. For the second game in a row, Wisconsin was held to single digits in points in Saturday’s loss to an Indiana team that didn’t have its starting QB.
5. Maryland (2-2, idle)
After another week off, Maryland has played just four games, tied with Wisconsin for the fewest in the B1G. A finale against Rutgers gives the Terrapins a decent chance at taking a winning record into Championship Week, where they might well meet Wisconsin in a division crossover game.
4. Iowa (5-2, beat Illinois 35-21)
The Hawkeyes might spend the entire spring and summer wondering what might have been. Iowa is on a five-game winning streak but won’t go to the B1G Championship Game. If it hadn’t been for a blown 17-0 lead against Northwestern, Kirk Ferentz’s bunch would be prepping for Indianapolis, not NU.
3. Northwestern (5-1, idle)
The Wildcats had their scheduled game against Minnesota canceled but, in a refreshing bit of normalcy for 2020, will close out the regular season against archrival Illinois before heading to the conference title game. NU lost a chance to rebound from its first loss against Michigan State.
2. Indiana (6-1, beat Wisconsin 14-6)
It says a lot about the Hoosiers that players wouldn’t let coach Tom Allen do his his post-game interview on ABC because they kept hugging him and yelling into the microphone about how he’s the best coach in America. At least for the 2020 season, we’d have a hard time arguing with those players.
1. Ohio State (5-0, beat Michigan State 52-12)
The Buckeyes dealt with concerns about how prepared they’d be for MSU without coach Ryan Day, one of many program members missing because of coronavirus. OSU responded with an emphatic victory — and now faces more questions about whether next week’s game against Michigan will happen.