These rankings were originally scheduled to go up earlier this morning, but, well, then the D.J. Williams news hit, and then the Cliff Alexander stuff hit, and now here we are.
No huge shakeups in the rankings this week, though some teams have swapped positions with their latest wins and losses. So let's just get to it.
TEAM RECORD (LAST WEEK) -- POINTS
1. Ohio State 9-0 (1) - 165 -- Good god the Buckeyes didn't mess around with Purdue on Saturday did they? It was a good, quick clean death for the Boilermakers. Now the Buckeyes are sitting at 9-0 with their final three games against our Illini, Indiana and a Michigan team that looked pretty god awful on Saturday. We should probably just save everybody some time and send Ohio State to Indianapolis right now. This Week: Bye
2. Wisconsin 6-2 (2) - 150 -- You know what surprises me the most about this Wisconsin team? Well, the Badgers are basically ranked in the top three of the conference in every statistic I use in these rankings, but there is one stat where they find themselves in the middle of the Big Ten. And that's converting on third downs. Wisconsin is converting only 44.66% of its third downs this season, which is seventh in the Big Ten and a full 3% behind the Illini. I just find that hard to believe considering Wisconsin's style of play. This Week: vs. BYU
3. Michigan State 8-1 (3) - 140 -- Michigan State hit Devin Gardner 15 times while I was writing this sentence and OH NO DEVIN GARDNER'S SPLEEN JUST POPPED OUT OF HIS EAR. DEAR GOD THIS IS A TRAGIC SCENE. Seriously, it's a lot of fun watching the Michigan State defense operate against other teams, isn't it? It's basically my favorite unit in the Big Ten. This Week: Bye
4. Nebraska (6-2 (5) - 116 -- Nebraska moves back up a spot after falling from third to fifth last week thanks to Ron Kellogg putting all his weight -- and he has quite a bit of weight -- into that Hail Mary to knock off Northwestern on Saturday. Wasn't that awesome? Hail Marys to win games are awesome enough when they happen, but when they happen to Northwestern they're like a billion times better. This Week: at Michigan
5. Michigan 6-2 (4) - 109 -- Michigan only drops a spot in the rankings after getting killed by Michigan State, but more important than their spot is the amount of points they've lose. Last week the Wolverines had 129 points and trailed Ohio State by only 34 points. This week the Wolverines have 109 points and trail Ohio State by 56 points. Hell, they're 31 points behind Wisconsin. It's going to be hard for Michigan to get back to the top three. This Week: vs. Nebraska
6. Minnesota 7-2 (7) -- 104 -- Minnesota!! Seriously, I've tried to figure out what it is about the Gophers that's helped them off to a 7-2 start, and there are a couple of factors. First of all, there's the schedule. While Nebraska is a very impressive win, the rest have just been wins you take and don't complain about. But what I think is the real key to this team's success is its offensive performance in the red zone. Now, the only team in the Big Ten to have less red zone possessions this year than Minnesota's 30 is Purdue at 16. However, Minnesota maximizes its trips. The Gophers have gotten points on 29 of those 30 trips, averaging 5.1 points per red zone possession (not including PATs). To put that in contrast, Ohio State is averaging 5.28 points per trip and the Illini are averaging 3.97. This team finishes its drives, and because if that it's beating teams. This Week: vs. Penn State
7. Iowa 5-4 (6) - 90 -- So the Iowa offense has basically fallen off a cliff in recent weeks, not that it was ever all that high to begin with. In their four non-conference games the Hawkeyes were averaging 35.3 points per game, which given last season, was fantastic. However, in five conference games the Hawkeyes are averaging 17.4 yards per game, and only 13 per game in its last two. The only team averaging less is Purdue. This Week: at Purdue
8. Penn State 5-3 (9) - 82 -- I suppose there are two ways you can look at Penn State's win on Saturday and it depends which side of the fence you're on. There's the Illinois side, which is "HEY, SURE, WE BLEW A LATE LEAD AND LOST, BUT FOR THE LOVE OF GOD WE WENT ON THE ROAD AGAINST PENN STATE AND HAD A LEAD IN THE FOURTH QUARTER AND WENT TO OVERTIME! ON THE ROAD!" And then there's the Penn State side, which is "holy fuck we needed a fourth quarter comeback to beat Illinois. Illinois!" This Week: at Minnesota
9. Indiana 3-5 (8) - 80 -- You know why Indiana's loss to Minnesota really hurt the Hoosiers? Because it basically eliminated them from bowl contention. I mean, unless you think Indiana is knocking off Ohio State or Wisconsin. It can certainly get to 5-7 on the year with games against us and Purdue, but that Minnesota was a must-win. So maybe this will be a deflated team on Saturday? This Week: vs. Illinois
10. Northwestern 4-5 (10) - 70 -- NORTHWESTERN FAN IS VERY QUIET THESE DAYS. NORTHWESTERN FAN MIGHT BE DEAD. Seriously, with every passing week the possibility that our game on the last week of the regular season could feature both us and Northwestern being 5-6 and playing for a bowl game. I'm simultaneously thrilled and terrified of this prospect. This Week: Bye
11. Illinois 3-5 (11) - 58 -- The Illini lost but actually gained three points in the rankings. Progress! Seriously, we've gone over it enough since that game ended on Saturday, but I'm cautiously optimistic about things right now. I'm not going to sit here and guarantee a bowl berth like Birkhead did, but I'm liking our chances at grabbing a win or two. Possibly even this weekend. This Week: at Indiana
12. Purdue 1-7 (12) - 29 -- Wanna hear some fun Purdue stats? Of course you do! Did you know that Purdue is averaging only 4.3 points per game in conference this season? You do now! But wait, there's more. Did you know that the Purdue offense HASN'T TAKEN A SINGLE SNAP INSIDE THE OPPONENT'S RED ZONE SINCE SEPTEMBER 28 AGAINST NORTHERN ILLINOIS? GOOD GOD. If you think the 2012 Illini were worse than 2013 Purdue, you just aren't paying attention. This Week: vs. Iowa
Last week's rankings can be found here.
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