Big 10 Power Rankings Week 5

It was a wild week for the Big 10 and left us more questions than answers. Well, it might have given an answer, but it isn’t one that is a good look for the conference: maybe this conference just isn’t that good.

14. Northwestern: Kuddos to you for losing gracefully. Running the ball is difficult, but the passing game is okay. Statistically, this team isn’t as bad as they perform. Penn State should have obliterated them, but they kept it close. Moral victories baby; 1-4 baby.

13. Indiana: The win against Illinois was like ten years ago. A beat down by Cincy was forgivable; a two score loss to Nebraska isn’t. Nebraska has been a train wreck this year and looked competent in this game. Even the victory against Illinois was more of a gift than anything else.

12. Nebraska: How does a team this bad pass two teams in the Big 10? Maybe Nebraska is figuring it out. Maybe the Big 10 is awful, and no one deserves being in the top. Maybe the Big 10 should go down to 10 and forget the bottom. Still, over 200 yards passing and 100 yards rushing is a revelation for this team.

11. Rutgers: Hey, I’ll bump them up the rankings despite the beat down. They scored a touchdown in the First Quarter, and Samuel Brown V ran for six yards a carry. Losing like this is understandable against Ohio State.

10. Michigan State: The defense did come to play despite the score. Maryland has a legit offense. Payton Thorne was awful again. He got saved by penalties, which wiped away two interceptions. Sparty is on a three game skid, which will go to four next week against Ohio State. Making a bowl game is looking rough. Mel Tucker should hide his phone if State loses to Wisconsin in two weeks, as boosters are going to ask for a refund.

9. Wisconsin: Being blitzed by Ohio State: excusable. Being blitzed by Illinois: disastrous. QB Graham Mertz can at least say his two int performance wasn’t the worst thing about the Badger offense as the running game would have struggled against a mediocre high school team. The offensive line was non-existent once again. Wisconsin is in freefall, but a tilt with Northwestern is just what the doctor ordered. Of course a loss there should result in a drop down to the FCS.

8. Iowa: This was a winnable game that slipped away, yet there are moral victories galore. Spencer Petras just outplayed 5 Star JJ McCarthy (you know the guy that stole the job from the guy that took Michigan to the CFP). Brian Ferentz, labeled the worst OC in the NCAAF, outcoached the twin Co-OC combination at Michigan. Still, Iowa had quite the streak of home wins against Harbaugh. Letting that streak die is hard to swallow.

7. Minnesota: It was an ugly day for a team that had just moved up to the #2 spot. This was the team that look destined to win the West before being dismantled by Ohio State in the Conference Championship. Instead, the Gophers were just humiliated by Purdue. Would things have been different if future pro Mohamed Ibrahim had suited up? Possibly, still Tanner Morgan has to hit his receivers more than Purdue’s DBs. The Gophers were supposed to be golden on both sides of the ball, but the offense is just Ibrahim and the defense got exposed.

6. Purdue: Frustrating. This team is going to beat teams it shouldn’t and lose to teams it shouldn’t. Having a QB that throws two interceptions isn’t helpful, unless the opposing QB is worse. Purdue was balanced offensively and opportunistic on defense. Still, what can you expect from a team that struggled against Syracuse and FAU? Expect frustration and a lot of teeth gnashing.

5. Illinois: The Illini hype train would be in full effect if they hadn’t thrown the game away against Indiana. The defense is ranked 4th in the nation, and the running game is respectable. Wins against Virginia and Wisconsin would be catapulting them into the Top 25. Of course, the loss to Indiana has brought deserved skepticism. I’m staying skeptical until they find a better passing game. Then again, the Big 10 is very wide open/weak, so they get a huge jump this week.

4. Maryland: Imagine if Maryland’s coaching staff could call plays better. They might have beaten Michigan and blown out Michigan State. The Terrapins have two good runners and speed everywhere. I wondered how Tagovailoa would respond to the benching last week- turns out, pretty well. He shredded the Spartan defense. The defense isn’t up to par yet, but there are bright spots.

3. Penn State: They were a little disappointing in this win. Sean Clifford was meh, again. The running attack has a two headed monster that is scary. The Nittany Lions destroyed Northwestern’s run game; unfortunately, they also can’t stop anyone from passing, even NW. This team is tantalizing but frustrating. They need to figure out the passing game on both sides of the ball to be taken seriously, as well as being worthy of their ranking.

2. Michigan: JJ McCarthy was supposed to be the answer but isn’t. The defense was “NFL like” but doesn’t get pressure or tackles. The Iowa OC outcoached the twin play callers for Michigan (seriously how can two guys do worse than the person labeled the worst OC in football?). Still, the Maize and Blue have Blake Corum and you don’t. Corum, and Schoonmaker, are good enough that even an inept coaching staff can’t hold back forever. Michigan wins, but they only rank as high as they are because the rest of the Big 10 is awful.

1. Ohio State: No Jaxon Smith-Njigba and no TreVeyon Henderson (both arguably Top Five players at their positon) would mean defeat for any school not named Alabama or Georgia. Ohio State is in that rare air with those schools. They just dismantled Rutgers. Miyan Williams is a star and would start at any school in the nation; cat just put up video game numbers. CJ Stroud still has a ton of weapons, and Ryan Day’s defense is coming together. No one gets within single digits of the Buckeyes until the CFP.

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