Week 7 B1G Power Rankings
There might not be a weekend all year in which we see the top five teams in the B1G hold their spots from one week to the next.
This week was no different.
Northwestern certainly had earned its No. 2 spot, but if you saw any of Saturday’s game, it was clear that Michigan was the far superior team. And on the flip side, you can’t say you’re one of the nation’s best and lose by 38 points.
Now if Michigan State goes into Michigan and pulls out a victory, the Spartans would have the best win of any team in the conference. That might even be enough to jump past Ohio State.
But before we get there, let’s focus on the here and how.
Biggest riser: Minnesota +3
Biggest faller: Indiana -4
14. Purdue (prev. 12)
Far too often, this team doesn’t look like it belongs on the same field as mediocre opponents. That, ultimately, will determine Darrell Hazell’s future in West Lafayette.
13. Maryland (prev. 14)
The Terps played like a win against Ohio State really would’ve really saved Randy Edsall’s job. For three quarters, they did exactly that. Still, the wheels came off down the stretch. That’s become too regular an occurrence in the first half of 2015.
12. Rutgers (prev. 13)
A shot in the arm from Leonte Carroo nearly led the Scarlet Knights to a stunning win against Michigan State. For all the off-field issues Rutgers has, they don’t have as many on-field issues as you would think.
11. Indiana (prev. 7)
Dropping IU four spots for Saturday’s loss might seem harsh. But based on the logic that these teams are ranked based on who is most likely to win a game right now, the Hoosiers take a hit because of the injuries to Jordan Howard and Nate Sudfeld. If they return to form, IU will return to the top half of the conference.
10. Nebraska (prev. 10)
The best Nebraska stat I saw all weekend was that the Huskers have been tied or winning with 14 seconds left in every game this season. To be 2-4 right now is mind-boggling, given the fact the Huskers could easily be 5-1 with a couple of quality wins. But good teams find ways to close.
9. Illinois (prev. 9)
Illinois put itself in position to win against one of the top teams in the conference. This defense still has work to do against the run, but the Illini will definitely not be a doormat in the West.
8. Minnesota (prev. 11)
Where in the world did that come from? If I would’ve told you that Mitch Leidner would complete eight passes, you would’ve said, ‘Oh boy. Here comes another blowout loss.’ But Shannon Brooks ran all over the Boilers and Minnesota’s defense stepped up and finally got takeaways. A home win against Nebraska would immediately insert the Gophers back into the B1G West title discussion, quarterback issues and all.
7. Penn State (prev. 8)
Christian Hackenberg showed that he can take what a defense is giving him. In the case of IU’s last-ranked pass defense, that was everything. Still, he looked confident despite the fact that he was sacked four times and hit throughout the day. That’s huge for this team.
6. Wisconsin (prev. 6)
It could’ve been a crushing way to fall to 0-2 for the Badgers. Instead, the Badgers are at the same point they were at as last year with games against Purdue, Illinois, Rutgers and Maryland in the next month. Back on track, the Badgers are.
5. Northwestern (prev. 2)
I still believe this is one of the elite defenses in the country. Saturday exposed Northwestern’s young offense more than its defense. And Michigan is also playing as well as anybody right now.
4. Iowa (prev. 5)
The Hawkeyes will miss Drew Ott greatly, but they’ve already had to find ways to win without him anchoring the defense. Saturday’s trip to Northwestern could have some major B1G West implications. But if Iowa comes out with a win in Evanston, the schedule is extremely favorable down the stretch.
3. Michigan State (prev. 3)
I already dismissed the fact that the Spartans weren’t going to win pretty much this year. They’re too banged up to get picky about B1G road wins. Having said that, this is still a 6-0 team with the winningest quarterback in college football. Early game-pickers are already overlooking that heading into Saturday.
2. Michigan (prev. 4)
The best defense in the country cannot be playing any better right now. Jake Rudock isn’t turning the ball over and the Wolverines are capitalizing on short fields. If that’s not a recipe for a College Football Playoff team, I don’t know what is.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
I’m holding on to the same logic I explained last week. If I’m betting on any B1G team to win a game, it’s still Ohio State. The Buckeyes flashed how dangerous they are on Saturday when the passing game gets rolling. If this red-zone quarterback switch really is the answer, this offense is capable of looking like the unit we all thought it could be in August.