-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Nate Sudfeld looks to lead IU to their first top-10 win since 1987
Big Ten East division power rankings following Week 9:
(1) Ohio State Buckeyes (1); Record: 8-0 (4-0)
Last Week: Idle
The undefeated Ohio State Buckeyes, ranked No. 1 in the AP and Coaches Poll, slot in at No. 3 in the initial College Football Playoff Rankings, behind the Tigers of Clemson and LSU. That’s the good news. The bad news is they will have to play this week’s game against the Minnesota Golden Gophers without starting QB J.T. Barrett, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated. That means Cardale Jones gets another crack at the starting role.
Coming Up: 11/7: vs. Minnesota; 11/14: @ Illinois
(2) Michigan State Spartans; Record (2): 8-0 (4-0)
Last Week: Idle
Four spots behind Ohio State in the first College Football Playoff Rankings are the Spartans of Michigan State at No. 7. While they are on the outside looking in for the moment, No. 2 LSU plays No. 4 Alabama this Saturday, and MSU gets their crack at OSU in two weeks (11/21). If Sparty takes care of business they will break into the top fourwhen it counts.
Coming Up: 11/7: @ Nebraska; 11/14: vs. Maryland
(3) Michigan Wolverines (3); Record: 6-2 (3-1)
Last Week: Won @ Minnesota 29-26
After blowing an early 14-3 lead, the Wolverines held on to beat the Golden Gophers with a game-winning goal-line stand to end the game. With starter Jake Rudock injured (bruised ribs/torso), backup QB Wilton Speight connected with Jehu Chesson for the winning score with just under five minutes remaining. Back on the practice field, Rudock is expected to make the start this Saturday.
Coming Up: 11/7: vs. Rutgers; 11/14: @ Indiana
(4) Penn State Nittany Lions (4); Record: 7-2 (4-1)
Last Week: Won vs. Illinois 39-0
Topping 30 points for the second week in a row and just the third time this season, the Nittany Lions played their most complete game of 2015, as they shutout the Illini. The defense dominated and QB Christian Hackenberg—21 of 29, 72.4 percent—had his most efficient performance of his junior season, as PSU more than doubled the Illini’s yardage output.
Coming Up: 11/7: @ Northwestern; 11/14: Idle
(5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5); Record: 3-5 (1-4)
Last Week: Lost @ Wisconsin 48-10
For the second-straight week the Scarlet Knights were blown out of the water. If you’re scoring at home, that’s 97-17 in the past two weeks and it doesn’t get any easier for Rutgers as they travel to Ann Arbor this Saturday. Without star WR Leonte Carroo, the Rutgers passing game managed just 82 yards through the air, including a mere 31 yards on 4 of 14 passing (2.2 yards per pass) by starting QB Chris Laviano. As of Monday Carroo is still not cleared and is questionable for Saturday.
Coming Up: 11/7: @ Michigan; 11/14: vs. Nebraska
(6) Indiana Hoosiers (6); Record: 4-4 (0-4)
Last Week: Idle
After four-straight losses, including a pair of fourth-quarter collapses against Rutgers and Michigan State, the Hoosiers really needed a week to lick their wounds and recover if they have any hope of finishing strong. Their next two games are at home, but is Indiana good enough to hand No. 9 Iowa their first loss of the season or beat No. 17 Michigan for the first time since 1987? The time for moral victories is behind coach Kevin Wilson.
Coming Up: 11/7: vs. Iowa; 11/14: vs. Michigan
(7) Maryland Terrapins (7); Record: 2-6 (0-4)
Last Week: Lost @ Iowa 31-15
Maryland’s losing streak has reached five and with Wisconsin and Michigan State coming up in the next two weeks, there is no end in sight. No matter how well they run the football—34 carries, 167 yards, 4.9 YPC versus Iowa—if they continue to turn the ball over (3 INTs, 1 lost fumble) the Terps will continue fall short. They’ve played better under interim coach Mike Locksley, but it’s still not good enough.
Coming Up: 11/7: vs. Wisconsin; 11/14: @ Michigan State
Daniel Mogollon is a member of the Pro Football Writers of America and the Football Writers Association of America. He is also a voter for the Thorpe and the Rotary Lombardi Award, as well as the Latino Sports MVP Awards. You can reach him via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.