Big Ten Football Week 11 Power Rankings: The Michigan State Spartans Are the Elite of the Legends Division
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer; Image: Connor Cook has thrown for more than 200 yards in four of five Big Ten games. (Image Source: Al Goldis/AP Photo)
Here are this week’s power rankings:
(1) Ohio State Buckeyes (Previous Rank: 1); Record: 9-0 (5-0)
Last Week: Won @ Purdue 56-0
The key stat: Braxton Miller ran the ball just one time. HC Urban Meyer wisely saved his quarterback and allowed him to work on his short-to-intermediate passing (19 of 23).
Coming Up: 11/9: Idle; 11/16: @ Illinois
(2) Wisconsin Badgers (Previous Rank: 2); Record: 6-2 (4-1)
Last Week: Won @ Iowa 28-9
While the offense failed to get a first down in the first quarter, the defense not only kept them in the game by keeping Iowa out of the end zone, they set up two TDs with INTs in Iowa territory.
Coming Up: 11/9: vs. BYU; 11/16: vs. Indiana
(3) Michigan State Spartans (Previous Rank: 4); Record: 8-1 (5-0)
Last Week: Won vs. Michigan 29-6
They’re 5-0 in conference play for the first time under Mike Dantonio and some of the players were talking roses after they beat up on Michigan. With the potential for a letdown, this is the perfect time for an off week.
Coming Up: 11/9: Idle; 11/16: @ Nebraska
(4) Michigan Wolverines (Previous Rank: 3); Record: 6-2 (2-2)
Last Week: Lost @ Michigan State 29-6
The Wolverines only drop one spot but believe me, the gap between the top three and the middle of the Big Ten is pretty wide right now. It’s hard to believe a UM O-line is this bad.
Coming Up: 11/9: vs. Nebraska; 11/16: @ Northwestern
(5) Iowa Hawkeyes (Previous Rank: 5); Record: 5-4 (2-3)
Last Week: Lost vs. Wisconsin 28-9
Iowa did a fantastic job shutting down Melvin Gordon (season lows 62 yards, 3.6 YPC), the problem was Marc Weisman (1.7 PC) and Damon Bullock (1.o YPC) did nothing before Jake Rudock was injured.
Coming Up: 11/9: @ Purdue; 11/16: Idle
(6) Minnesota Golden Gophers (Previous Rank: 6); Record: 7-2 (3-2)
Last Week: Won @ Indiana 42-39
If QB Philip Nelson can play like he did against Indiana the Gophers might be able to play with anyone in the Big Ten and could be MSU’s toughest challenger in the Legends Division.
Coming Up: 11/9: vs. Penn State; 11/16: Idle
(7) Nebraska Cornhuskers (Previous Rank: 7); Record: 6-2 (3-1)
Last Week: Won vs. Northwestern 27-24
They say it’s better to be lucky than to be good…QB Ron Kellogg III is running around without his helmet and HC Bo Pelini raises his arms to that notion. The Hail Mary keeps the Huskers in the division race.
Coming Up: 11/9: @ Michigan; 11/16: vs. Michigan State
(8) Northwestern Wildcats (Previous Rank: 8); Record: 4-5 (0-5)
Last Week: Lost @ Nebraska 27-24
Before you say the ‘Cats should be lower, all the teams they’ve lost to are ranked ahead of them. Northwestern could easily be riding a two-game Big Ten road-winning streak.
Coming Up: 11/9: Idle; 11/16: vs. Michigan
(9) Penn State Nittany Lions (Previous Rank: 9); Record: 5-3 (2-2)
Last Week: Won vs. Illinois 24-17 (OT)
For the second time this season, the Nittany Lions snatched victory from the jaws of defeat at home. Junior RB Bill Belton had a monster day rushing for 201 yards on 36 carries (5.6 YPC).
Coming Up: 11/9: @ Minnesota; 11/16: vs. Purdue
(10) Indiana Hoosiers (Previous Rank: 10); Record: 3-5 (1-3)
Last Week: Lost vs. Minnesota 42-39
In a span of 16 minutes, IU scored 26 unanswered points. Fabulous. However, they were thoroughly outplayed over the rest of the game as their bowl hopes went up in smokes.
Coming Up: 11/9: vs. Illinois; 11/16: @ Wisconsin
(11) Illinois Fighting Illini (Previous Rank: 11); Record: 3-5 (0-4)
Last Week: Lost @ Penn State 24-17 (OT)
It’s the same song…Illinois is better but still not good enough. This one really hurt. The Fighting Illini could taste victory but dropped their 18th straight conference game.
Coming Up: 11/9: @ Indiana; 11/16: vs. Ohio State
(12) Purdue Boilermakers (Previous Rank: 12); Record: 1-7 (0-4)
Last Week: Lost vs. Ohio State 56-0
Purdue had 116 yards of offense, so did Jeff Heuerman. Who is Jeff Heuerman? He’s Ohio State’s tight end who caught five passes for 116 yards on Saturday.
Coming Up: 11/9: vs. Iowa; 11/16: @ Penn State
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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.