It was billed as the best week in college football so far, and it did not disappoint. Some of the top teams in the land fell in surprising upsets. These helped the B1G. Michigan State and Ohio State gained ground on the College Football Playoff. If we had Power Rankings for the conferences themselves, the B1G would be moving up.
1. #8 Michigan State Spartans - vs. Nebraska, Win 27-22 - Last Week: 1
There is little question now: the Spartans are the team to beat in the B1G. They didn't allow Nebraska, a team that has been exceptionally good on offense, to score a single point in the first half. That's really good. But then again, they did allow Nebraska to score three touchdowns in the final quarter. They still won, though, and are have only one major game left on the schedule (vs. Ohio State, November 8th) before they're in the running for the College Football Playoff.
2. #15 Ohio State Buckeyes - @ Maryland, Win 52-24 - LW: 4
J.T. Barrett continues to improve. He was able to easily surpass a Maryland secondary that's been better than average for most of the year. Barrett had 4 touchdowns and a 91.7 QBR (that ever-loving, questionable stat that ranks on a scale from 1-100, 100 being the best). And let's definitely not forget the Ohio State D-line. They blew up the Terps on nearly every play. It was a truly dominant performance in all aspects of the game.
3. #21 Nebraska Cornhuskers - @ Michigan State, Loss 22-27 - LW: 2
Nebraska wasn't allowed to play their game against the Spartans. There was no room to run and the 1.3 yards per rush is a hard pill to swallow, but the Huskers found away to score some points late in the game. Don't worry Nebraska fans, at the current pace, the you'll likely get a rematch in the B1G Championship Game.
4. Rutgers Scarlet Knights - vs. Michigan, Win 26-24 - LW: 6
I try to keep these Power Rankings honest and realistic, but I can't find a reason to not put the Scarlet Knights in 4th. Rutgers is a shocking 5-1 after taking down the winningest team in college football history which is also their first win as a member of the B1G. Quality running backs, a strong D-line, and some good performances from quarterback Gary Nova now have this team to new heights.
5. Maryland Terrapins - vs. Ohio State, Loss 24-52 - LW: 5
The Terps would've been extremely lucky to pull this one out, so I'm not dropping them too much. Does the fact that junior quarterback Caleb Rowe replaced C.J. Brown in the second half mean anything? Probably not, but it's something to keep an eye on. Maryland has two weeks to make that decision as they prepare for Iowa.
6. Iowa Hawkeyes - DNP - LW: 7
Iowa get back to back Hoosier State teams -- Purdue last week, bye week, then Indiana. The game against Indiana depends on two things. Can Iowa's defense make the plays? Or, maybe more importantly, which Indiana shows up to play?
7. (tied) Northwestern Wildcats - vs. Wisconsin, Win 20-14 - LW: 10
There's one player you need to know. His name is Godwin Igwebuike, a redshirt freshmen corner making his first career start this past Saturday. The dude made plays left and right, making 3 interceptions and quite possibly ending the Badgers single-handedly. I don't know what Fitzgerald has done, but this Northwestern is not the same one that started the season a month and a half ago.
7. (tied) Wisconsin Badgers - @ Nortwestern, Loss 14-20 - LW: 3
I feel the tie is necessary in this case. If the game against Northwestern was played 9 more times, Wisconsin is going to win more times than not. Nevertheless, Melvin Gordon had 259 rushing yards and it still wasn't enough to get past the Wildcats. Four interceptions nullified his efforts and the #17 Badgers were dropped from the national rankings.
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers - DNP - LW: 8
Here's a fun stat for you: Minnesota averages 113.2 passing yards per game, ranked 124th in the nation of 128 teams.
10. Indiana Hoosiers - vs. North Texas, Win 49-14 - LW: 9
Kevin Wilson's Hoosiers had a good all-around game. They produced 593 yards of offense (230 rushing, 363 passing) and allowed the Mean Green to a 348 yards and 2 turnovers. It wasn't great but it was good. I'm not jealous, but I do wish the Illini could have a completely average game.
11. Penn State Nittany Lions - DNP - LW: 11
Hopefully, James Franklin & Co are working on their defense because that offensive line isn't going to be fixed any time this season. They play the free-falling Wolverines in Ann Arbor.
12. Purdue Boilermakers - @ Illinois, Win 38-27 - LW: 14
As an Illini fan: Good job Purdue. You earned it, you really did. Your defense made enough plays -- knocking down passes at the line, recovering stupid red zone fumbles -- but most of the credit goes to your offense. They looked like last week's Nebraska, running through coaching-vacancy-sized holes for yards upon yards and dominating every single block at the line of scrimmage. Yup, good job.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini - vs. Purdue, LOSS 27-38 - LW: 12
The defense was outclassed, outsmarted, and out-everything-elsed. In all honesty, the offense was pretty good. Either way, the season feels over and it's only half way done. We'll watch the next few weeks with empty stares and contemplate the best hire for the future. Ironic Opportunity That I'm Not Saying Should Happen: Nebraska's offensive coordinator is Tim Beck. Tim Beck to replace Tim Beckman?
14. Michigan Wolverines - @ Rutgers, Loss 24-26 - LW: 13
The last time this school was in this kind of shape may be nonexistent. For those of you that love to watch the Prom King fail, here you go. At the beginning of the season, Rutgers was an "automatic win", but now Michigan is fighting for it's bowl rights. Their next game is against a Penn State team that was last seen handing out quarterback sacks.
Last week's Power Rankings for reference.
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