BRR: B1G power rankings (11-13-14)

After months of being maligned, the reality is the Big Ten now has five teams ranked in the college football playoff. How do they stack up against each other?

In Charge:

Ohio State: Head coach Urban Meyer has the Buckeyes back where they belong, on the very top of the Big Ten. Ohio State still hasn’t lost a regular season conference game in since Meyer took over. This is a remarkable reality. Most counted the Buckeyes out when Heisman contender, Braxton Miller, went down for the season in fall camp. As Lee Corso would say, “not so fast my friend.” Ohio State is now the heavy favorites to win the Big Ten behind freshman quarterback J.T. Barrett.

Bonafide Contenders

Michigan State: The Spartan offense played a pretty good game against Ohio State last weekend. It was their nationally respected defense that got sliced up. No one expected Ohio State to score 49 points in East Lansing, especially the Michigan State coaches. The Spartans are still the second best team in the Big Ten, but they have almost no shot at making the championship game.

Nebraska: Somehow the Cornhuskers fell three spots in the rankings after their bye week. While this throws fans into frenzy, it matters not. Nebraska hits the road to play No. 20 Wisconsin in Madison. If they win this game they will pass all of those two loss teams ahead of them. The committee is simply asking what the entire nation asks, “Do the Huskers have what it takes to beat a legitimate top 25 team?”

WISCONSIN: The Badgers have been rolling over opponents in their last four games. With that said, Maryland was their best opponent in that stretch. They welcome Nebraska to town this weekend with a chance to notch their first big win of the season. Running Back Melvin Gordon will be ready, hopefully for a showdown against Husker running back Ameer Abdullah.

Minnesota: The Golden Gophers played a 24-karat on Saturday as they slaughtered Iowa 51-14. No one in the country saw that coming. This weekend they welcome Ohio State to town with another chance to shock their visitor, along with the entire nation. It is doubtful of course, but certainly not impossible. The Buckeyes cannot afford a hangover from last weekend.

Contender Wannabes

MARYLAND: They have had an extra week to prepare for Michigan State this weekend. If the Spartans come to this game depressed after their playoff shattering loss to the Buckeyes they could lose this game. Expect Maryland to be ready to strike as they see a wounded foe roll into town.

IOWA: Head coach Kirk Ferentz needs to take a long look in the mirror after his teams very poor showing last weekend. The crazy reality is that if they win out they still win the Big Ten west. The only thing you can count on with Iowa is that they cannot be counted on. Two weeks ago they beat Northwestern 48-7, one week later they lose 51-14 to Minnesota. Will the real Iowa Hawkeyes please stand up?

Penn State: It was not pretty, but the Nittany Lions ended their four game losing streak as they beat Indiana. The unsung hero of this team is kicker, Sam Ficken, who is having a great season and clinched their game against the Hoosiers with 55 seconds left. Penn State is now poised to make a bowl game. They simply have to beat Temple or Illinois in the next two weeks to get that sixth win.

Contend? That’s Hilarious

MICHIGAN: In the ugliest game of the Big Ten season the Wolverines beat Northwestern 10-9 last weekend.

Rutgers: The Scarlet Knights are looking to end their three-game skid. Luckily for them they are going from three of the best teams in the Big Ten to Indiana. They also had a bye week to rest up and prepare. A win this weekend makes them bowl eligible.

NORTHWESTERN: After a slow start to the season it looked like they turned things around with three consecutive wins, one of them against Wisconsin. Four games later they sit at an abysmal 3-6. This week the Wildcats get to travel to South Bend to take on No. 18 Notre Dame. Northwestern must win their final three games to go bowling. It is looking like they will miss bowl season for the second straight year.

Purdue: The Boilermakers only lost to Wisconsin by 18 and they continue to look improved. Head coach Darrell Hazel has a long way to take his team, but he certainly made the right call when he benched quarterback Danny Etling for Austin Appleby. Purdue could finish the season with a splash by beating Northwestern and Indiana, finishing 5-7.

ILLINOIS: The Fighting Illini sit at 4-5 with three teams that all look very beatable. Head coach Tim Beckman needs to work more magic like they did against Minnesota and pull a couple of these games out. It all starts this weekend against Iowa.

INDIANA: There isn’t a lot to say except, “How disappointing.” Many thought this might be the year the Hoosiers make a bowl game, but their 3-6 record indicates otherwise. A couple bad games early and a few brutal injuries have this team at the bottom of the Big Ten.

*** Posted by Josh Harvey ***

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