Big Ten East Power Rankings: J.T. Barrett Shows We He Should Have Been Starting All Along
-by Daniel Mogollon, Staff Writer
Big Ten East division power rankings following Week 8:
(1) Ohio State Buckeyes (1); Record: 8-0 (4-0)
Last Week: Won @ Rutgers 49-7
That was maybe Ohio State’s most complete win of the season. Part of me believes the college football world missed the boat on their best chance to knock off the Buckeyes, the other part of me remembers it was against Rutgers. Having said that, clearly J.T. Barrett (5 total TDs)—14 of 18 passing for 223 yards; 101 rushing yards—is the right man pulling the trigger.
Coming Up: 10/31: Idle; 11/7: vs. Minnesota
(2) Michigan State Spartans; Record (2): 8-0 (4-0)
Last Week: Won vs. Indiana 52-26
Just as they have throughout much of the season the Spartans found themselves in a closer than expected contest, however unlike their three-point win over Purdue or seven-point victory against Rutgers, this time MSU was able to pull away for a comfortable W (21 points in final five minutes). Connor Cook had another monster throwing day (398 yards, 4 TDs), however what’s up with the defense? They allowed 308 yards and 3 TDs through the air and when IU’s starting RB got the ball he was effective (7.1 YPC). They’re beatable.
Coming Up: 10/31: Idle; 11/7: @ Nebraska
(3) Michigan Wolverines (2); Record: 5-2 (2-1)
Last Week: Idle
After their unfathomable last-second impossible loss to in-state rival Michigan State no one needed an off week more than the Wolverines of Michigan. If they can regroup, a ten-win season is still there for the taking. With their trip to Minnesota this Saturday, the Maize & Blue begin a stretch with three of their next four games on the road.
Coming Up: 10/31: @ Minnesota; 11/7: vs. Rutgers
(4) Penn State Nittany Lions (4); Record: 6-2 (3-1)
Last Week: Won at Maryland 31-30
The Nittany Lions keep on winning (6 of 7) but like their previous five victories, Saturday’s W over Maryland leaves one wondering how much of the outcome was about Penn State and how much was about the opponent? They allowed 466 yards and 30 points to a previously inept Maryland offense. On the bright side, the offense unleashed their explosive potential. Despite completing only 13 of 29 passes, QB Christian Hackenberg (315 yards) still averaged 10.9 yards per pass (24.2 per completion). WR’s Chris Godwin and DaeSean Hamilton are playmakers.
Coming Up: 10/31: vs. Illinois; 11/7: @ Northwestern
(5) Rutgers Scarlet Knights (5); Record: 3-4 (1-3)
Last Week: Lost vs. Ohio State 49-7
They had some success running the ball but not nearly enough to keep it close. The Ohio State offense completely out-classed the Rutgers defense, as the Buckeyes out-gained them by 235 yards. A touchdown with 13 seconds left saved the Scarlet Knights the indignity of being shutout on their home field. With trips to Madison and Ann Arbor coming up things aren’t going to get much easier for RU.
Coming Up: 10/31: @ Wisconsin; 11/7: @ Michigan
(6) Indiana Hoosiers (6); Record: 4-4 (0-4)
Last Week: Lost @ Michigan State 52-26
They do know the game lasts four quarters don’t they? Indiana has been outscored 46-0 in the past two fourth quarters, 56-0 in the past three. The Hoosiers put up impressive-looking numbers—QB Nate Sudfeld threw for 308 yards and three TDs, RB Jordan Howard rushed for 78 yards on just 11 carries (TD), Simmie Cobbs Jr. had five grabs for 108 yards (TD)—but they must feel very hollow in Bloomington after their fourth-strait defeat.
Coming Up: 10/31: Idle; 11/7: vs. Iowa
(7) Maryland Terrapins (7); Record: 2-5 (0-3)
Last Week: Lost vs. Penn State 31-30
QB Perry Hills had the best game by a Maryland passer all season: 19 of 28 passing, 225 yards through the air, 124 yards rushing on 26 carries, two total TDs. On the not-so-bright-side Hills still threw three interceptions. You know if that’s your “good” game, one which may “stabilize” the position in College Park, things are not going well. They now have 16 turnovers in their past four games and their deep pass defense left much to be desired against PSU.
Coming Up: 10/31: @ Iowa; 11/7: vs. Wisconsin
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.