Big Ten Power Rankings following Week 11
Saturday Tradition’s Big Ten Power Rankings are updated as we head out of Week 11 and turn toward the home stretch of the season! Now, there are just 2 regular-season games to go before we reach Championship Weekend, and the B1G race is still up in the air.
In the West, a leader has emerged and stands on the doorstep of a trip to Indy. In the East, Ohio State and Michigan are once again on a collision course with a likely winner-take-all showdown in The Game.
Moving forward, here are the full power rankings heading toward Week 12:
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14. Indiana (3-7)
Last week: at Illinois, L 48-45
If you want to play the moral victory game, Brendan Sorsby was impressive on the road and Donaven McCulley is a bona fide star at receiver. Unfortunately, the Hoosier defense surrendered over 660 yards of offense, and that’s even with a pair of takeaways. Yikes.
13. Michigan State (3-7)
Last week: at Ohio State, L 38-3
Unfortunately for Spartan fans, Tom Izzo’s group did not provide the kind of start everyone was hoping for after the way this football season has gone. The good (ish) news? There are only two more games in the season before Michigan State can turn the page from the remnants of the Mel Tucker era and start fresh entering 2024.
12. Purdue (3-7)
Last week: vs. Minnesota, W 49-30
Purdue came out guns blazing in Week 11 and piled up 28 first-half points behind QB Hudson Card. Card finished the game with 4 total touchdowns and completed 17-of-25 passes for 251 yards, and Devin Mockobee rushed for 153 yards and a touchdown. Purdue racked up 600 yards of offense against the normally strong Minnesota defense, including 8 yards per carry for the Boilermakers.
11. Minnesota (5-5)
Last week: at Purdue, L 49-30
At one point in this game, Minnesota was trailing 49-23. File this one away as a massive disappointment and a wild letdown for the Golden Gophers in just about ever facet of the game.
10. Wisconsin (5-5)
Last week: vs. Northwestern, L 24-10
Hunter Wohler summed it up best after the game, calling the Badgers soft and lacking energy on either side of the ball. There’s really no other way to sum up Wisconsin surrendering 24 first-half points to Northwestern and not finding the end zone until 11 seconds left in the game.
9. Northwestern (5-5)
Last week: at Wisconsin, W 24-10
Even without Ben Bryant, Northwestern has been a tough out for opponents. After he returned to the lineup, Bryant threw 2 touchdowns and was efficient with the football early on as the Wildcats cruised in the second half behind their defense. Somehow, Northwestern will be bowl-eligible with a win over Purdue or Illinois in the final two weeks. Both are winnable games.
8. Illinois (5-5)
Last week: vs. Indiana, W 48-45
After looking like a team left for dead through the first half of the season, Bret Bielema has rallied his team with 3 wins in the last 4 games played. Combined, those 4 games have been decided by a total of 10 points. Next up the Illini must travel to Iowa City to face B1G West-leading Iowa, but the team needs just one win for a bowl game after John Paddock threw for 507 yards of offense and the walk-off TD against Indiana.
7. Nebraska (5-5)
Last week: vs. Maryland, L 13-10
Playing up to a standard has been a big deal for Matt Rhule, and it appears none of Nebraska’s QBs are currently capable of playing to that standard. Jeff Sims, Heinrich Haarberg and Chubba Purdy all saw reps against Maryland, and all 4 were credited with turnovers. In total, the Huskers finished with 5 turnovers, including Purdy’s interception that came on 3rd-and-goal late in the fourth quarter.
6. Maryland (6-4)
Last week: at Nebraska, W 13-10
Maryland is not ready to compete for championships, and Mike Locksley acknowledged that in the middle of the 4-game losing streak. Fortunately, the Terrapins did reach another bowl game, continuing what should be the normal expectation for the program. Taulia Tagovailoa and Mike Locksley still have 2 more regular-season games together, and they’ll try to shock Michigan in Week 12.
5. Rutgers (6-4)
Last week: at Iowa, L 22-0
Rutgers is in the middle of its toughest stretch of the season, but Saturday’s performance was arguably the most disappointing of the season. It was the first time getting shut out this season, and the Scarlet Knights were largely overpowered by an Iowa team that has struggled throughout the year. Now, Greg Schiano’s group must travel to face Penn State.
4. Iowa (8-2)
Last week: vs. Rutgers, W 22-0
For the first time in a B1G game, it felt like everything began to click for Iowa. Deacon Hill had his best collegiate game while going 20-for-31 with 223 yards, a touchdown and an interception with 7 Hawkeyes recording a catch. The Hawkeyes even clinched a share of the B1G West title and can secure the division outright with a win in either of the remaining games.
3. Penn State (8-2)
Last week: vs. Michigan, L 24-15
It truly was a tale of two teams for Penn State in this one. The defense played angry, aggressive and determined against Michigan. Unfortunately, the offense played scared and inept, particularly in the passing game. James Franklin will no longer have to face Ohio State or Michigan on an annual basis in the new-look B1G, but questions of Penn State hitting its ceiling under his leadership are absolutely warranted.
2. Ohio State (10-0)
Last week: vs. Michigan State, W 38-3
Like Ryan Day said entering halftime, this is how the offense should look on a regular basis. Kyle McCord was efficient in throwing the ball, Marvin Harrison Jr. was a menace, and the running attack kept the team balanced. After getting a big lead, the Buckeyes dialed it back to keep the major offensive pieces healthy.
1. Michigan (10-0)
Last week: at Penn State, W 24-15
The Wolverines hit Beaver Stadium with a determined edge to them, and that was evident as they returned to their ground-and-pound identity down the stretch of this game. JJ McCarthy was just 7-for-8 with 60 yards in the passing game, but Blake Corum rushed for 145 and Michigan had 227 yards on the ground as a team. Beyond that, the defense set the tone while slowly strangling the life out of Penn State’s offense. Jim Harbaugh’s status is one to watch, but Sherrone Moore had the last laugh in Week 11.