Week 11 B1G Power Rankings
Nebraska’s season — up until Saturday — had not been a roller coaster. This was a team that had only experienced lows. Highs were few and far between.
Saturday was certainly a high. You could argue that with the exception of Michigan State’s win against Michigan, no B1G team had experienced a better high all year.
In terms of how that relates to power rankings, Nebraska showed that it actually has upside. It’s one thing to hang with an undefeated team. Rutgers and Indiana did that against Michigan State. It’s another to beat them.
Rocky season aside, showing that you’re capable of beating anyone shows something. At least it does in these rankings.
Biggest riser: Nebraska +4
Biggest faller: Rutgers -2
14. Purdue (prev. 13)
The Boilers briefly climbed out of this spot last week, but then suffered their worst loss of the year at home to Illinois. Their last three B1G losses have been by an average of 26 points. Rebuild or not, that should never happen.
13. Rutgers (prev. 11)
I’ve been holding off on putting the Scarlet Knights in that last spot because they’ve been without their best player each of the last three weeks. But Leonte Carroo isn’t making tackles for a defense that allowed an AVERAGE of 51 points and 517 yards per contest in its last four games.
12. Maryland (prev. 12)
The Terps have lost four straight games to teams with a combined 33-5 record and actually haven’t looked that bad doing so. The turnovers have to turn around for Maryland to avoid a B1G goose egg.
11. Indiana (prev. 10)
Speaking of close-but-no-cigar, IU has been within a touchdown in the final five minutes of all four B1G games in which Nate Sudfeld and Jordan Howard started. But it’s the fourth-quarter wilting that continues to plague the Hoosiers. Still, the season could be saved with wins against Maryland and Purdue to clinch bowl eligibility for the first time in eight years.
10. Nebraska (prev. 14)
What kind of lousy B1G writer would ever doubt Mike Riley’s bunch? Oh yeah, this one. The quickest way to rise in the power rankings is not by beating up some struggling team, but by ending an undefeated start. In the crazy world that it is college football, a whole lot can change in a week.
9. Illinois (prev. 9)
Purdue made the Illini offense look better than it was, but that’s still an impressive showing on the road. Josh Ferguson and Ke’Shawn Vaughn are going to be a dangerous one-two punch down the stretch.
8. Minnesota (prev. 8)
Rarely does a team continue to rise after three straight losses. But nearly knocking off Michigan and going to the wire against Ohio State shows that the Gophers are at the very least, a formidable B1G team under Tracy Claeys.
7. Penn State (prev. 6)
How do you evaluate a team that’s won all the games it was supposed to — we can all agree now that Temple was and is the better team — and loses all the games it was supposed to? You put them right smack dab in the middle of the power rankings.
6. Northwestern (prev. 7)
Everybody wrote off Northwestern after back-to-back blowout losses to Michigan and Iowa. But the Wildcats were banged up in the secondary and it showed. Back-to-back wins at Nebraska and against Penn State are further proof that Northwestern certainly belongs in the top 25.
5. Wisconsin (prev. 5)
Five wins in a row is no small feat considering the offensive injuries the Badgers have dealt with this season. Hopefully now Corey Clement can use the bye week to get healed up before two must-win B1G West games.
4. Michigan (prev. 4)
Against a Rutgers squad without Leonte Carroo, the Wolverines were destined for a convincing win on Saturday. The Wolverines do what elite teams are supposed to do against bottom-feeder B1G teams. They destroy them.
3. Michigan State (prev. 2)
The Spartans’ bad habit of playing down to their competition finally caught up to them. The question moving forward is whether or not MSU can play up to its backloaded competition and somehow earn a B1G East title.
2. Iowa (prev. 3)
And then there were two. Iowa is 9-0 for the first time since the 2009 Orange Bowl season, which isn’t simply a product of the Hawkeyes beating up on a weak B1G West. They make winning play after winning play and don’t even put themselves in position to get upset like Michigan State did on Saturday and several times earlier in B1G play.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
They might’ve dropped in the polls, but the Buckeyes did not drop in this one. They’re still the most dangerous team in the B1G and the country, despite the fact that they skated by with a two-touchdown win at home against Minnesota. Assuming OSU gets by Illinois, then the fun will really start.