Week 9 B1G Power Rankings
I’m not opposed to change.
I’m a supporter of the targeting rule (in theory), the spread offense and the College Football Playoff. As we develop as college football fans, there are certain things that need tweaks and adjustments to better reflect the culture we’ve built in the sport.
Having said that, my B1G power rankings had no business changing much after Saturday. Ohio State and Michigan State still played like the top two teams in the conference, and Iowa and Michigan likely weren’t going to be moved up or down because of their idle status.
This was not the week for some top-heavy shakeup. Or any shakeup, really.
Northwestern and Wisconsin certainly bridged the gap between themselves and the top four, but let’s not forget that Iowa and Michigan both trounced the Wildcats and Iowa beat Wisconsin three weeks ago in Madison.
Now that I’ve explained myself, let’s get to it:
Biggest/only riser: Illinois +1
Biggest/only faller: Nebraska -1
14. Purdue (prev. 14)
It actually was a productive bye week for the Boilers. They’re receiving a $60 million upgrade to their football facilities, which is a topic that surely came up during one of Darrell Hazell’s bye week recruiting visits. All in all, the Boilers came out ahead.
13. Maryland (prev. 13)
Mike Locksley would’ve earned himself a whole bunch of kudos had the Terps pulled one out against Penn State. Instead, the nation’s most turnover-prone team shot itself in the foot. Five times. Ball security needs to be this team’s biggest priority down the stretch.
12. Indiana (prev. 12)
The Hoosiers took a page out of Nebraska’s playbook in the last two weeks. They looked solid more most of the game, then fell apart in winning time. Yes, they played with the No. 6 team in the country into the fourth quarter, but second half defensive lapses are keeping IU out of the B1G win column.
11. Rutgers (prev. 11)
I don’t know if there were many teams in the B1G that would’ve been able to do anything differently against the defending champs. One blowout loss to the nation’s No. 1 team — without Leonte Carroo for most of it — doesn’t change Rutgers’ standing.
10. Minnesota (prev. 10)
Hopefully the bye week was kind to the banged up Gophers. They’ll need to be back to full strength for a three-game stretch against Michigan, Ohio State and Iowa.
9. Nebraska (prev. 8)
I mean, what hasn’t been said? I guess for once, Nebraska didn’t technically blow a last-minute lead. Crazy is the fact that the Huskers will need to beat either Michigan State or Iowa to earn bowl contention. I’m not betting on either of those.
8. Illinois (prev. 9)
Illinois deserved to move down after allowing a depleted Wisconsin offense to still score 24 points. But I obviously can’t drop the Illini behind Nebraska. That wouldn’t make much sense. A road win at Penn State would be an even bigger boost for Bill Cubit’s future in Champaign.
7. Penn State (prev. 7)
Speaking of those Lions, a one-point win against Maryland isn’t exactly going to be considered the highlight of the season. It does, however, give Penn State bowl eligibility after eight weeks with a solid chance to get back to nine wins.
6. Northwestern (prev. 6)
For all of us that thought the Wildcats were in serious trouble, Saturday showed this team showed that it can bounce back. And speaking of bowl eligibility, Northwestern has that for the first time in three years. That’s still a big deal in Evanston.
5. Wisconsin (prev. 5)
The Badger defense is going to keep the team in every game it plays in the B1G. If not for the dominance of Michigan’s defense, the Badgers would clearly have the top unit in the conference. A win at Illinois might not look like much on a national stage, but for the Badgers to grind out a win with their mess of offensive injuries showed that they aren’t going anywhere in the B1G West race.
4. Michigan (prev. 4)
Usually I talk about bye weeks being perfectly timed. I bet the Wolverines wanted to get back on the field more than anyone after the Michigan State debacle. What they can’t afford to do now is assume they’ll go into Minnesota and get a victory in a building that only Ohio State and TCU have won in the last two years.
3. Iowa (prev. 3)
Big Ten Network anchor Mike Hall brought up a great point. Iowa and Alabama are arguably the only two teams in the country with three solid wins. If you squawked at Iowa — pun intended — moving up two spots into the top 10 during a bye week, think about that.
2. Michigan State (prev. 2)
Nobody is more valuable to his team in the B1G than Connor Cook is. With the exception of maybe Leonard Fournette and Dak Prescott, Cook might be the most valuable player in America. That’s a good thing for a national title contender to have.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
Oh, so that’s why we were all in on the Buckeyes. It turns out, J.T. Barrett is pretty good when he plays a full game. As a result, so are the Buckeyes. Crazy is the fact that Ohio State hasn’t lost a regular season conference game in four years. All signs point to Ohio State having one of the top two spots when the College Football Playoff poll comes out a week from Tuesday.