B1G Power Rankings: Badgers still in the hunt

Little movement up and down the rankings as middle tier starts to separate

B1G Power Rankings - Oct. 25

1. Ohio State (8-0, 4-0 Big Ten); last week's rank: No. 1

Last game: 49-7 win at Rutgers

Urban Meyer is 28-0 in Big Ten regular season games. Ridiculous. In a month, he should be 32-0 because Ohio State is more talented than anyone in the BIg Ten and well-coached. J.T. Barrett is the best quarterback for this team. He was great through the air (14-for-18, 223 yards, 3 TDs, 0 INTs) and on the ground (101 rushing yards, 1 TD) on Saturday.

Up next: Idle

2. Michigan State (8-0, 4-0); last week's rank: No. 2

Last week: 52-26 win vs. Indiana

Spartans quarterback Connor Cook had his first-round game as he threw for 398 yards and four touchdowns in Saturday's win. But is the Spartans defense -- which ranks ninth in the Big Ten in scoring defense -- strong enough to take down Barrett, Ezekiel Elliott and the Buckeyes offense? Doubtful.

Up next: Idle

3. Iowa (7-0, 3-0); last week's rank: No. 3

Last week: Idle

Iowa needs a week to heal up, especially for running back Jordan Canzeri and quarterback C.J. Beathard. The Hawkeyes schedule is favorable: vs. Maryland, at Indiana, vs. Minnesota, vs. Purdue and at Nebraska. And while Wisconsin still needs Iowa to lose twice to have a shot at taking the Big Ten West, the Badgers are at least putting a bit of pressure on Iowa to not have any slip ups.

Up next: vs. Maryland, 2:30 p.m. Saturday

4. Michigan (5-22-1); last week's rank: No. 4

Last week: Idle

Punter Blake O'Neill's mistake was costly, but the way he responded was admirable. Michigan would've liked to play a game to forget about the fluky loss to Michigan State but it still looks like a nine-win team in this conference.

Up next: at Minnesota, 6 p.m. Saturday

5. Wisconsin (6-2, 3-1 Big Ten); last week's rank No. 5

Last week: 24-13 win at Illinois

Wisconsin kept within striking distance with a tough win at Illinois. The Badgers aren't overly talented on offense and injuries have been costly, but they keep plugging away, and the schedule (vs. Rutgers, at Maryland, vs. Northwestern, at Minnesota) sets up for a strong finish.

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

6. Northwestern (6-2, 2-2); last week's rank: No. 6

Last week: 30-28 win at Nebraska

The Wildcats bounced back from two blowout losses to Michigan and Iowa to clinch bowl eligibility for the first time in three seasons. The defense allowed a lot of yards but came away with big plays, including a Nick Van Hoose 72-yard interception return and sophomore quarterback Clayton Thorson's legs provided a spark to the offense. The Wildcats aren't a division title contender, but they're an improved team.

Up next: Idle

7. Penn State (6-2, 3-1); last week's rank: No. 7

Last week: 31-30 win over Maryland

PSU quarterback Christian Hackenberg still wasn't accurate (13-for-29) but he made big plays, throwing for 315 yards and three touchdowns as the Nittany Lions squeaked out a win in Baltimore. Maryland (462 total yards) moved the ball against a strong PSU defense, but the Nittany Lions forced five turnovers.

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

8. Illinois (4-3, 1-2); last week's rank: No. 8

Last week: 24-13 loss to Wisconsin

Injuries are crushing the Illini offense, especially in the red zone and third-and short opportunities. The Illini now must rely on its improved defense and hope quarterback Wes Lunt can carry the offensive load. He's capable but he faces a big test at Happy Valley this week.

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

9. Nebraska (3-5, 1-3); last week's rank: No. 9

Last week: 30-28 loss to Northwestern

Be careful what you wish for, Nebraska fans. Sure, Bo Pelini was abrasive and maybe a bit tough to root for. But he won at least nine games in each of his nine seasons in Lincoln. Nice-guy first-year head coach Mike Riley is two losses away from missing a bowl, something Nebraska hasn't done since the 2004 season.

Up next: vs. Purdue, 11 a.m. Saturday

10. Minnesota (4-3, 1-2); last week's rank: No. 10

Last week: Idle

The Gophers Big Ten-worst scoring offense has a difficult task against Michigan's Big Ten-best scoring defense.

Up next: vs. No. 15 Michigan, 6 p.m. Saturday

11. Indiana (4-4, 0-4); last week's rank: No. 12 [MEDIA:1579484

Last week: 52-26 loss to Michigan State

Four straight losses -- the Hoosiers were competitive against Michigan State for three quarters -- puts fifth-year head coach Kevin Wilson square on the hot seat. With Iowa and Michigan next on the schedule, the Hoosiers losing streak likely will increase to six before must-win road games at Maryland and Purdue

Up next: Idle

12Rutgers (3-4, 1-3); last week's rank: No. 11 [MEDIA:1579485

Last week: 49-7 loss to No. 1 Ohio State

A late touchdown helped Rutgers avoid the shutout, but Rutgers coach Kyle Flood is likely sweating. An offseason of scandal and a huge step back from last season's bowl likely puts his job in jeopardy.

Up next: at Wisconsin, 11 a.m.

13. Maryland (2-5, 0-3); last week's rank: No. 14 [MEDIA:1579484

Last week: 31-30 loss vs. Penn State

Interim head coach Mike Locksley put forth a heck of an offensive effort (462 yards) against a stout Penn State defense, but five turnovers doomed the Terps. Expect Locksley to get another offensive coordinator job on the East Coast.

Up next: at No. 12 Iowa, 2:30 p.m.

14. Purdue (1-6, 0-3); last week's rank: No. 13 [MEDIA:1579485

Last week: Idle

The Boilermakers are the least talented team in the Big Ten, and Darrell Hazell has shown no progress in Year Three. With just one win in his first 19 Big Ten games, Hazell's buyout ($6 million) may be his best case to keep the job for a fourth season.

Up next: vs. Nebraska, 11 a.m.

Werner's Week 9 picks (winners in bold)

Last week's record: 4-1

Rutgers at Wisconsin

Nebraska at Purdue

Illinois at Penn State

Maryland at Iowa

Michigan at Minnesota

 


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