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Big Ten Power Rankings: MSU remains near top of league as others climb, fall

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Another week, another massive upset in the Big Ten.

This week it was Penn State who was knocked off as a double-digit favorite, with the Fighting Illini picking up the improbable win. That upset drops the Nittany Lions and boosts Illinois, but where do the rest of the league’s teams land?

See where I rank each of the Big Ten teams in our latest batch of Big Ten power rankings:

No. 14: Rutgers

Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 14 (same)

Record: 3-4 (0-4 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Bye

Rutgers had this weekend off and hopefully used the bye week to regroup. The Scarlet Knights have lost four straight games, and will have a winnable game this upcoming week against Illinois.

No. 13: Maryland

Scott Taetsch/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 11 (down two spots)

Record: 4-3 (1-3 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Loss at Minnesota, 34-16

Maryland’s slide continued this weekend with another double-digit loss. The Terps have dropped their last three games all in blowout fashion and look to be the same lackluster Maryland squad we’ve gotten used over the years.

No. 12: Northwestern

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 12 (same)

Record: 3-4 (1-3 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Loss at Michigan, 33-7

The Wildcats battled with the Wolverines for the first 30 minutes of Saturday’s road matchup but didn’t have the horses to keep up in the second half. The talent gap from Northwestern to the top teams in the league is noticeable and will keep the Wildcats near the bottom of the Big Ten.

No. 11: Nebraska

Jeff Hanisch/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 10 (down one spot)

Record: 3-5 (1-4 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Bye

Nebraska dropped one spot despite not playing this week due to Illinois’ rise in the power rankings. Nebraska has the ability to knock off any team in this league (besides Ohio State) but never seems to put a complete performance together to actually do so.

No. 10: Indiana

Marc Lebryk/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 9 (down one spot)

Record: 2-5 (0-4 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Loss vs. Ohio State, 54-7

At this point, I’m starting to feel bad for the Hoosiers… Indiana has five losses and all of them are against teams that were ranked in the top 10 at some point this season. Saturday’s blowout loss vs. the Buckeyes could have been the final nail in the Hoosiers’ coffin for this year too.

No. 9: Illinois

Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 13 (up four spots)

Record: 3-5 (2-3 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Win at Penn State, 20-18

It took nine overtimes but Illinois was able to pull off one of the most improbable upsets of the season on Saturday over Penn State. The Fighting Illini get a nice boost up the power rankings thanks to this win but overall I’m not particularly high on Illinois — they just are more deserving of this spot over the teams below them.

No. 8: Purdue

Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier

Previous power ranking: No. 8 (same)

Record: 4-3 (2-2 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Loss vs. Wisconsin, 30-13

I finally bought into the Boilermakers after last week’s huge upset of Iowa, and then they let me down against the Badgers. Purdue was dominated in the second half against Wisconsin and proved they may be better than most of the other teams in the Big Ten West but still not a true contender in the division.

No. 7: Minnesota

Harrison Barden/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 7 (same)

Record: 5-2 (3-1 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Win vs. Maryland, 34-16

Minnesota has looked very impressive ever since their shocking upset loss to Bowling Green. The Golden Gophers are in the thick of the Big Ten West Division race after another win this weekend, and have another winnable matchup this next week against Northwestern.

No. 6: Penn State

Rich Barnes/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 4 (down two spots)

Record: 5-2 (2-2 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Loss vs. Illinois, 20-18

If you lose at home as a three-touchdown favorite, you’ll be punished in these rankings. That’s the case for Penn State who essentially had their season ended on Saturday vs. Illinois. The Nittany Lions would need to win out to have any chance at winning the Big Ten and that seems very unlikely with what we saw this weekend.

No. 5: Wisconsin

Nikos Frazier / Journal & Courier

Previous power ranking: No. 6 (up one spot)

Record: 4-3 (2-2 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Win at Purdue, 30-13

It looks like Wisconsin is getting back to what we are used to seeing out of the Badgers. Wisconsin picked up an impressive victory over Purdue this past weekend and will have a chance to truly put themselves back in the Big Ten title race with a win over Iowa this upcoming weekend.

No. 4: Iowa

Jeffrey Becker/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 5 (up one spot)

Record: 6-1 (3-1 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Bye

Iowa moved up one spot this week after Penn State dropped. The Hawkeyes will travel to Wisconsin next week and will need a victory to remain the true top dog of the Big Ten West.

No. 3: Michigan

Rick Osentoski/USA TODAY Sports

Previous power ranking: No. 3 (same)

Record: 7-0 (4-0 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Win vs. Northwestern, 33-7

The final score was a little misleading as the Wolverines struggled at times against Northwestern this week. In the end, Michigan was able to get a convincing victory and set up a massive rivalry matchup with the Spartans next weekend. The winner of that game will be the Buckeyes’ top competitor in the league.

No. 2: Michigan State

Nick King/Lansing State Journal

Previous power ranking: No. 2 (same)

Record: 7-0 (4-0 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Bye

Michigan State was on a bye this week but that didn’t stop some from calling out the Spartans as frauds. The Spartans will have a chance to silence the doubters this week against the Wolverines in a nationally televised showdown on FOX.

No. 1: Ohio State

Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch

Previous power ranking: No. 1 (same)

Record: 6-1 (4-0 in Big Ten)

This week’s result: Win at Indiana, 54-7

Everyone is playing for second place in the Big Ten right now. The Buckeyes flexed on the Hoosiers this weekend, with the game being over before halftime. Ohio State simply is back on track and I don’t see anyone in the Big Ten hanging with the Buckeyes right now.

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