Week 6 B1G Power Rankings
It all depends on your definition of power rankings.
If you want to base them on which team has looked the best on a week-by-week basis, then you’d probably be all over the map. Ohio State did not play like the best team in the conference in Week 5.
In fact, Iowa, Michigan and Northwestern all looked better than the Buckeyes and Spartans did. So if you want to base your rankings on that, be my guest.
I, however, subscribe to the belief that they should be based on who the best team is. That means, if I’m betting on one team to go win me a game right now, it’s this team. That takes injuries into account. That takes whether or not a team’s performance varies based on competition into account.
That’s my way of prefacing the fact that you might not agree with these, but there’s a method to it all.
Biggest riser: Illinois +2
Biggest faller: Minnesota -2
14. Maryland (prev. 14)
The last two weeks, Maryland has been outscored 73-6 and has more interceptions thrown than total points. The struggle is real.
13. Rutgers (prev. 12)
Being idle isn’t always a bad thing.
12. Purdue (prev. 13)
Not bad, Boilers. Going to East Lansing and having a chance to win on the final drive is impressive. Even more impressive was Markell Jones once again. He’s capable of giving plenty of B1G teams headaches.
11. Minnesota (prev. 9)
Every week, I lose more and more faith in the Gophers. Northwestern brought all of their offensive issues to the forefront. It’s hard to establish consistency with a limited quarterback and two freshmen tailbacks. Even worse, the injuries are mounting.
10. Nebraska (prev. 10)
ESPN’s Mitch Sherman threw out a great stat that sums up the Huskers in late-game situations. The BYU and Illinois games saw Nebraska have the two highest win probabilities of any losing team this season. Defensive bounce-back aside, you’re only as good as your last play.
9. Illinois (prev. 11)
For once, Illinois found a way to win a game it probably shouldn’t have. If the Illini have really taken a step, it’ll show in a three-game stretch starting with a tilt at Iowa, vs. Wisconsin and at Penn State.
8. Penn State (prev. 7)
This is a middle-of-the-pack, not-going-to-blow-anyone-out team. The Lions have a top-20 defense that’s not going to lose them any games. Ball control and long sustained drives are huge for this team going forward, assuming that involves the return of Saquon Barkley and Akeel Lynch.
7. Indiana (prev. 8)
The Hoosiers nearly earned their best win in program history on Saturday. The defense played well for most of the game, which was surprising against the nation’s No. 1 team. If not for Ezekiel Elliott deciding to take matters into his own hands, IU would’ve been the darling of the college football work. Instead, this team has to recover from its first loss and hopefully get Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard back healthy.
6. Wisconsin (prev. 6)
You have to feel for Joe Schobert and that Badger defense right now. To have only surrendered 13 points in a four-game stretch is incredible. Still, Wisconsin struggled after losing top-receiver Alex Erickson and is already without Corey Clement for the foreseeable future. Joel Stave’s leadership is going to be needed now more than ever.
5. Iowa (prev. 5)
I said after making my preseason predictions that if there was one team that was going to surprise the B1G and make me look stupid, it was Iowa. There might be a few more defense-fueled wins like Saturday at Wisconsin, but that’s ok. This team just finds a way. That’s a nice team characteristic to have in October.
4. Michigan (prev. 4)
An elite defense is now getting the turnovers it lacked last year. Couple that with an offense that’s going to continue to improve under Jim Harbaugh, and the Wolverines have “giant killers” written all over them.
3. Michigan State (prev. 2)
The Spartans are being held together by scotch tape and just getting by. The RJ Williamson loss is a major one, and potentially playing without Jack Conklin, Macgarrett Kings, Josiah Price for any more time is a not good for MSU. The question is, when will the injuries be too much to overcome?
2. Northwestern (prev. 3)
The nation’s top-ranked defense played like it yet again. The Wildcats avoided the injury bug that finally bit against Ball State and responded with a complete demolition of Minnesota. If you’re stripping brand recognition and preseason rankings, there’s no doubt the Cats are a top-five team in the country.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
What differentiates Ohio State’s struggles from Michigan State’s? The Buckeyes aren’t getting beat by opponents. They’re beating themselves. Ohio State ranks 111th in penalties and 117th in turnovers. That’s coachable. And luckily, the Buckeyes have arguably the best coach to do so. They’re is still the best bet of any team in the conference to win any one game. Expectations are tempered, but the talent is still there for the Buckeyes to beat any team in the country.