Week 11 B1G Power Rankings: Northwestern can't score, Nebraska can't stop anyone
The least active weekend in the B1G didn’t come without at least a few fireworks.
Only eight teams were in action on Saturday, with Michigan being the only ranked team to take the field. So, if you were searching for those blockbuster games and marquee matchups, this wasn’t the weekend for you.
But, for those who stuck around, Purdue defeated Nebraska on a late, trick-play call in the red zone; Rutgers and Illinois were tied through one half; Pat Fitzgerald received an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty and Zach Charbonnet has more rushing touchdowns than any other freshman in Michigan history.
So, there were some things to enjoy and celebrate of the weekend.
With six teams out of action this week, the top of the B1G Power Rankings didn’t see much change. But there’s plenty of movement from the middle on down. Here’s how teams stand heading into Week 11:
14. Rutgers, 2-7 (L, 38-10 vs. Illinois)
Well, it was a solid first half from the Scarlet Knights, staying tied with Illinois through two quarters. Rutgers had some things cooking early, but just doesn’t have the talent or depth to compete on Saturdays in the B1G right now.
Last week: No. 14
13. Northwestern, 1-7 (L, 34-3 vs. Indiana)
It’s been a month since Northwestern last scored a touchdown. A MONTH! A brutal first half of the schedule truly hindered the Wildcats’ ability to get into a rhythm, but failing to move the football against Indiana’s defense is not a good sign. Somehow, the offense looks worse each week.
Last week: No. 12
12. Maryland, 3-6 (L, 38-7 vs. #14 Michigan)
If you’re looking for a reason to be positive after a 31-point loss, Maryland fans, it’s that your team moved up a spot in the power rankings this week, despite the defeat. At least the Terrapins have been able to score touchdowns. That’s about all they can say right now, though.
Last week: No. 13
11. Nebraska, 4-5 (L, 31-27 vs. Purdue)
A third straight loss has the Huskers plummeting week after week. After a 4-2 start, a bowl game felt like a lock. Now, Nebraska is a longshot to get to the postseason. Scott Frost’s team seems to be unraveling right now, and who knows if the season can be salvaged at this point?
Last week: No. 9
10. Purdue, 3-6 (W, 31-27 vs. Nebraska)
Spit and duct tape is keeping Purdue’s roster intact, and yet the Boilermakers find ways to stay competitive and occasionally get wins. They needed a game-winning drive from a third-string walk-on quarterback and still got the job done. The record might be bad, but Brohm’s Boilers are fighters.
Last week: No. 11
9. Michigan State, 4-4 (OFF)
Another off week to try and steer the ship in the right direction after three straight losses. Joe Bachie’s season-ending suspension is a pretty significant loss moving forward, though. We’ll see how the MSU defense responds.
Last week: No. 8
8. Illinois, 5-4 (W, 38-10 vs. Rutgers)
Lovie Smith said he expected to celebrate a lot more wins in the second half of the season. He’s been right so far. The Illini are controlling to roll, ripping off three straight wins and continuing to climb in the power rankings. Who would’ve though a few weeks ago Illinois would be knocking on the door of bowl eligibility.
Last week: No. 10
7. Indiana, 7-2 (W, 34-3 vs. Northwestern)
For the first time since 2007, Indiana is guaranteed to end the season with a winning record. A team that struggled to reach bowl eligibility in Tom Allen’s first two seasons has seven wins and is playing with house money at this point. Could IU find itself in the Top 25 in the future?
Last week: No. 7
6. Iowa, 6-2 (OFF)
The most important month of the season for the Hawkeyes, with games against Wisconsin, Minnesota and Illinois before a rivalry contest against Nebraska to close out the year. Iowa still has a shot at a division title, but will have to be flawless to go 4-0 in November.
Last week: No. 6
5. Michigan, 7-2 (W, 38-7 vs. Maryland)
Michigan seems to have “hit its stride” as Jim Harbaugh promised. A second consecutive blowout win, this time on the road, is further evidence that the Wolverines are doing some good things on both sides of the ball. Rivalry games against Michigan State and Ohio State will define the season.
Last week: No. 5
4. Wisconsin, 6-2 (OFF)
How will Wisconsin respond after back-to-back losses out of the off week? The Badgers have had Iowa’s number recently, and need a win over the Hawkeyes to keep their division hopes alive.
Last week: No. 4
3. Minnesota, 8-0 (OFF)
P.J. Fleck and the Gophers have two weeks to prepare for their biggest test of the season: Penn State. We’ll find out if Minnesota is a contender or pretender next week. Lights, camera, action.
Last week: No. 3
2. Penn State, 8-0 (OFF)
Penn State is about to make its third road trip in its last four games. This is another marquee game for the Nittany Lions, and a chance to get another signature win. Like I said earlier, lights, camera, action.
Last week: No. 2
1. Ohio State, 8-0 (OFF)
Technically, Ohio State has to play Maryland and Rutgers the next two weeks. We all know those are essentially glorified byes. The Buckeyes will hold onto the No. 1 spot for at least another two weeks before games against Penn State and Michigan to end the regular season.
Last week: No. 1