Week 8 B1G Power Rankings
We forget sometimes that one play can change the tone of a season. One fumbled snap, one costly fourth-quarter interception, one defensive stand can change it all.
Even the great teams find themselves in those situations from time to time. Every unbeaten team in the B1G has had to come up with a clutch fourth quarter play to stay perfect. It usually doesn’t come in the fashion that we spent the entire week talking about.
If there was anybody on earth that predicted Michigan State would upset Michigan on a last-second fumbled punt snap return — I’m guessing that’s the way to phrase that — you’re lying.
Still, the great teams have moments like that. Is luck involved? Sure, but great teams put themselves in position to capitalize on those breaks.
That’s my long-winded way of saying that the Spartan’s ability to win in any way possible this season makes them as powerful as any team in the country. The Spartans aren’t just getting by. They’re gaining steam and experience that’s making them even more dangerous to end Ohio State’s reign.
With that said, here are your Week 8 B1G Power Rankings:
Biggest riser: Nebraska +2
Biggest faller: Michigan, Minnesota -2
14. Purdue (prev. 14)
Make it 0-6 against FBS schools this year. For as rough a year as its been, the Boilers were a play or two away from pulling off stunners in East Lansing and Madison. Consolation prizes are the only prizes to be had for Purdue in 2015.
13. Maryland (prev. 13)
The Terps got a chance to catch their breath in the midst of a murderous B1G slate. Mike Locksley will start his B1G head coaching career with Penn State, Iowa, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
12. Indiana (prev. 11)
My goodness, this offense is good. My goodness, this defense is the opposite of that. There’s no excuse for allowing 28 unanswered points on your home field to Rutgers. For all the non-conference chatter about the improved Hoosiers, Kevin Wilson’s team is in familiar territory — 0-3 in the B1G.
11. Rutgers (prev. 12)
Kyle Flood for coach of the year! Jokes aside, that was an impressive effort on both sides of the ball to pull off the largest comeback we’ve seen in B1G play in 2015. There’s still no proof that Leonte Carroo can be guarded by anyone in the B1G.
10. Minnesota (prev. 8)
The Gophers are too banged up defensively to look like the product we’ve grown accustomed to seeing from Jerry Kill. This team needed to be as close to full strength as possible to take on the B1G’s toughest schedule. That, the Gophers are not.
9. Illinois (prev. 9)
Hopefully the bye week did wonders for Josh Ferguson. The Illini will need him against the stout defenses of Wisconsin and Penn State.
8. Nebraska (prev. 10)
We saw balance, we saw ball-carriers tackled at the line of scrimmage and we saw execution down the stretch. Not to get carried away, but Nebraska looked like an above average football team on Saturday.
7. Penn State (prev. 7)
I’m not going to fault the Lions too much for letting things slip away in Columbus. The run defense struggled mightily against the Ezekiel Elliott-Barrett Jones combination, as most would. If there’s a positive to take for the Lions after Saturday, it was Saquon Barkley looking plenty healthy getting feature back work.
6. Northwestern (prev. 5)
Nine days ago, we were talking about whether or not a win at Michigan would make the Wildcats worthy of a top-five team. They’ve been outscored 78-10 since. Yikes.
5. Wisconsin (prev. 6)
Another somewhat ugly B1G win showed the Badgers identity in 2015. Joe Schobert and T.J. Edwards are leading a group that make a two-possession lead a lock. The Badgers end the season against teams with a B1G record of 4-9. Unfortunately for Wisconsin, it would need Iowa to drop two B1G games to win the West.
4. Michigan (prev. 2)
What’s the worst thing about losing like that? Two losses make the Wolverines virtually out of the College Football Playoff picture. They were 10 seconds away from vaulting themselves into that conversation. Still, this group can easily bounce back with a four-game winning streak heading into its showdown against Ohio State.
3. Iowa (prev. 4)
Ok, who’s ready to finally believe in the Hawkeyes? I’m speaking of the national media, which still doesn’t believe unbeaten Iowa is a top-10 team despite the fact that it has impressive wins over Northwestern, Pitt and Wisconsin, two of which were on the road. It’s time to show the Hawks more love.
2. Michigan State (prev. 3)
The Spartan narrative shifted so dramatically on that final play. Without that miracle, the Spartans are still the team that suffers that one tough loss that prevents them from being the B1G’s best. Now, they have a game against Indiana and a bye week to get healthy to take their best shot at Ohio State. This team is as dangerous as any in college football because of its ability to pull out close games.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
If you weren’t impressed by the nation’s No. 1 team on Saturday night, I don’t know what to tell you. Against a stout Penn State defense, the Buckeyes ran wild. Many hoped this was the style Urban Meyer would implement from the start. It remains to be seen if J.T. Barrett will be the guy going forward. All we know is that the Buckeyes are 7-0 and still keeping defenses off-balanced, which is exactly what Meyer wants.