B1G Power Rankings: Rising power in East

Ohio State and Michigan State aren't the only Big Ten teams dreaming of a College Football Playoff berth

B1G Power Rankings - Oct. 12

1. Ohio State (6-0, 2-0 Big Ten); last week's rank: No. 1

Last game: 49-28 win vs. Maryland

Urban Meyer's use of his two uber-talented quarterbacks -- Cardale Jones is the starter but J.T. Barrett scored three touchdowns as a red-zone option -- remains one of the most intriguing great-team problem. But the Buckeyes still have the best collection of talent in the conference -- and Meyer is now 26-0 during the Big Ten regular season.

Up next: vs. Penn State7 p.m. Saturday

2. Michigan (5-1, 2-0); last week's rank: No. 5 

Last week: 38-0 win over No. 13 Northwestern

Three straight shutouts. Michigan's defense allows fewer than seven points per game and might be the best unit in the country. This is a patented Jim Harbaugh football team: run the football -- third in the Big Ten in rushing -- and stop the run. The Wolverines are built like recent Michigan State teams. Right now, they look better than the Spartans. They can prove themselves as a legit Big Ten East contender when they host Sparty this weekend.

Up next: vs. Michigan State, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

3. Michigan State (6-0, 2-0); last week's rank: No. 2  

Last week: 31-24 win at Rutgers

Sparty is winning, but they're winning ugly against some ugly teams -- like Rutgers and Purdue. The Oregon win looks less and less impressive each week -- the Ducks lost to Washington State last week -- so Michigan State likely faces its biggest test this weekend when it travels to the Big House. Is its short run as best team in the state already over?

Up next: at Michigan, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

4. Iowa (6-0, 2-0); last week's rank: No. 4 

Last week: 29-20 win vs. Illinois

The Hawkeyes aren't sexy. But they run the ball well. They stop the run. They pressure the quarterback. They control the clock. And they win the turnover battle. That's winning football. The Hawkeyes can further establish themselves as the West favorite with a road trip to Northwestern this weekend. Injuries could be the team's biggest threat. Top pass rusher Drew Ott is out for the season with a torn ACL.

Up next: at Northwestern, 11 a.m. Saturday

5. Northwestern (5-1, 1-1); last week's rank: No. 3  

Last week: 38-0 loss at No. 18 Michigan

Was Northwestern finally exposed or is Michigan just that good? Probably a little bit of both. Michigan focused on shutting down stud running back Justin Jackson and forced freshman quarterback Clayton Thorson to beat them. He couldn't. But the Wildcats running game and defense are still good enough to win a wide-open West. But they might need to win against Iowa this weekend to do so.

Up next: at Michigan, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

6. Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1 Big Ten); last week's rank No. 6

Last week: 23-21 win at Nebraska

Wisconsin avoided an 0-2 start to Big Ten play with a late field goal in Lincoln. The defense is good enough to win the West. But can Joel Stave and the offense do enough for Wisconsin to win the West? Don't sleep on the Badgers yet.

Up next: vs. Purdue, 11 a.m. Saturday

7. Penn State (5-1, 2-0); last week's rank: No. 8 

Last week: 29-7 win vs. Indiana

Penn State's defense is one of the better units in the conference and makes up for a meager offense. Though talented quarterback Christian Hackenberg is showing signs of getting on track.

Up next: at Ohio State7 p.m. Saturday

8. Illinois (4-2, 1-1); last week's rank: No. 7 [MEDIA:1579485

Last week: 29-20 loss at Iowa

One Iowa observer said during the Illini's loss in Iowa City: "Illinois is a respectable Big Ten team." The Illini aren't the biggest nor the fastest nor the deepest. But they aren't the smallest nor the slowest nor the most shallow anymore. A bye week hopefully will allow a banged-up Illini squad to heal up before hosting Wisconsin for a big homecoming matchup.

Up next: Bye

9. Minnesota (4-2, 1-1); last week's rank: No. 11 [MEDIA:1579484]

Last week: 41-13 at Purdue

Never doubt Jerry Kill. Just when you think the Gophers are slipping to the bottom of the West, they thoroughly crush the West's worst. Saturday's offensive outburst still is an anomaly against a poor Purdue defense. But Minnesota will probably find a way to sneak out at least six or seven wins this season. Kill usually does.

Up next: vs. Nebraska, 11 a.m. Saturday

10Indiana (4-2, 0-2); last week's rank: No. 9 [MEDIA:1579485

Last week: 29-7 loss to Penn State

Injuries to quarterback Nate Sudfeld and running back Jordan Howard crushed this team's hopes for any chance of a win vs. Penn State. If you had to bet, would you put money on the Hoosiers to gain bowl eligibility? Luckily for them, Maryland, Rutgers and Purdue remain on the schedule.

Up next: at Penn State, 11 a.m. Saturday

11. Nebraska (2-4, 0-2); last week's rank: No. 10 

Last week: 23-21 loss to Wisconsin

Bo Pelini usually lost four games each season -- but at least he didn't have four losses by mid-October. The honeymoon certainly is over early for nice-guy Mike Riley following the Huskers' fourth loss on their opponents' last play. Is it bad luck? Is it bad coaching? Did Pelini leave holes on the roster? It's odd to say but with Minnesota, Northwestern, Iowa and Michigan State left on the schedule Nebraska has little margin for error for its quest -- for bowl eligibility.

Up next: at Minnesota, 11 a.m. Saturday

12. Purdue (1-5, 0-2); last week's rank: No. 12

Last week: 41-13 loss vs. Minnesota

Like Illinois in previous seasons Purdue just doesn't have enough talent. Hazell's team will fight but there isn't enough size nor enough playmakers on either side of the ball.

Up next: at Wisconsin, 11 a.m. Saturday

13. Rutgers (2-3, 0-2); last week's rank: No. 13 

Last week: 31-24 loss to Michigan State

Like Purdue, the Scarlet Knights gave Sparty a scare. But Rutgers' road game at Indiana this week might be its only chance for a win until mid-November with Ohio State, Wisconsin and Michigan next up on the schedule.

Up next: at Indiana, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

14. Maryland (2-4, 0-2); last week's rank: No. 14

Last week: 49-28 loss at Ohio State

The Terps gave a great effort in Randy Edsall's last stand but the administration made the move to fire Edsall on Sunday. Former Illini offensive coordinator Mike Locksley -- whose offense is last in the Big Ten in total offense -- takes over as the interim head coach.

Up next: Bye

Werner's Week 7 picks (winners in bold)

Iowa at Northwestern

Nebraska at Minnesota

Purdue at Wisconsin

Rutgers at Indiana

Penn State at Ohio State

Michigan State at Michigan

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