Hoosier Huddle's Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Six


Written by Evan McShane (@veryreasonable)

We are getting deeper into the season and the race in the Big Ten is becoming clearer. Last week saw Ohio State take down Michigan State and Minnesota and Wisconsin keep their undefeated seasons alive.

Week 6 Power Rankings

1. Ohio State (6-0, 3-0)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 1

Defeated Michigan State 34-10 

With each passing week it becomes more and more clear: this might be one of the most talented team’s Ohio State has had in recent memory, and that’s saying something. The Buckeyes blew the doors off Michigan State at home 34-10. Justin Fields threw for over 200 yards and two touchdowns while running back JK Dobbins was the star. Dobbins erupted for a 67-yard TD run before the end of the first half that really got things going for OSU. Dobbins would finish with 172 yards rushing on the day. Ohio State out-gained MSU 529 yards to just 285. The Buckeyes will be favored in every game from here on out, perhaps the only question is, by how much? Ohio State has outscored Big Ten opponents 133-27 through three games.

Next Week: OFF 

2. Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0)

Last Week’s Ranking: 2

Defeated Kent State 48-0 

The Badgers kept rolling on Saturday, defeating Kent State handily. Jonathan Taylor continued his Heisman push, rushing for 186 yards and scoring five total touchdowns. Taylor and the Badgers continued to look like the second-best team in the conference and the best team in the Big Ten West. Can the Badgers stay undefeated before their big showdown against Ohio State on October 26TH? Wisconsin faces their toughest test of the year so far when the Spartans come to town next week.

Next Week: Michigan State @ Wisconsin (3:30pm) 

3. Penn State (5-0, 2-0)

Last Week’s Ranking: 4

Defeated Purdue 35-7 

Penn State established themselves as one of the best three teams in the conference, joining Ohio State and Wisconsin. The Nittany Lions steamrolled Purdue at home, jumping out to a 28-0 lead and never looking back. Penn State’s offense has been unstoppable to start the year and Saturday was no different. Next week, Penn State will face by far their toughest test when they travel to Iowa to play the Hawkeyes. For now they look like the real deal, but we will learn a lot more about the Nittany Lions after next week.

Next Week: Penn State @ Iowa (7:30pm on ABC)

4. Minnesota (5-0, 2-0)

Last Week’s Ranking: 6

Defeated Illinois 40-17

As the only remaining team with five or more wins on the season, the Gophers round out the top four of the power rankings. I’m not convinced Minnesota is the fourth best team in the conference, but they Gophers have taken advantage of an easy schedule and remain undefeated to start the year. Minnesota rolled into Illinois and stomped the Badgers. After taking a 16-10 lead into halftime, the Gophers trounced the Illini in the second half, winning by a final of 40-17. Minnesota faces perhaps their toughest challenge of the year when Nebraska comes to town next week. 

Next Week: Nebraska @ Minnesota (7:30pm 

5. Michigan (4-1, 2-1)    

Last Week’s Ranking: 7

Defeated Iowa 10-3

Now two wins removed from an embarrassing blowout in Wisconsin, the fighting Harbaughs are back on track. Michigan’s defense held firm against Iowa from start to finish in what was an ugly, typical Big Ten game. Neither team was able to gain more than 275 yards of offense and Iowa turned the ball over four times. The Wolverines hung on for a 10-3 victory despite only making 13 first downs. Michigan held Iowa to 0.0 yards per rushing attempt. The Wolverines will face a struggling Illinois team on the road next week.   

Next Week: Michigan @ Illinois (Noon on ABC)

6. Iowa (4-1, 1-1)

Last Week’s Ranking: 3

Lost to Michigan 10-3

Iowa couldn’t get out of their own way in Michigan on Saturday. The Hawkeyes turned the ball over four times and rushed for just one yard as a team—that’s right, 30 attempts for one yard. The Iowa defense held Michigan to just 10 points and less than 275 yards of total offense but it wasn’t enough. Iowa faces another challenge next week when Penn State comes to town. Regardless of the home-field advantage, Iowa will need to match PSU’s offensive firepower to stand a chance. The Hawkeyes are still in contention for the Big Ten title game, but we will know much more about their chances after next week.

Next Week: Penn State @ Iowa (7:30pm on ABC) 

7. Nebraska (4-2, 2-1)

Last Week’s Ranking: 8

Defeated Northwestern 13-10

Nebraska’s defense was up to the task on Saturday when Northwestern came to town. Granted, the Wildcats offense has been horrendous this season, but the Cornhuskers didn’t disappoint. Despite a day full of offensive struggles, a last second field goal was enough for victory. QB Adrian Martinez only completed 13 passes for 145 yards, but he came through when it counted, completing a 32-yard pass to Wandale Robinson to set up the game-winning field goal. Nebraska faces a much tougher challenge next week as they travel to Minnesota to face the undefeated Gophers.

Next Week: Nebraska @ Minnesota (7:30pm) 

8. Michigan State (4-2, 2-1)

Last Week’s Ranking: 5

Lost to Ohio State 34-10

Join the club, Sparty. Michigan State fell victim to an Ohio State blowout, joining the likes of Indiana and Nebraska. Even the Spartans vaunted defense wasn’t enough to slow down the Buckeyes. Michigan State’s offense saved them last week against the Hoosiers, but this week was a different story. MSU couldn’t get it going in the passing game and the ground attack didn’t provide any answers either. Michigan State faces another tall task as the travel to Wisconsin to face the Badgers next week. With two losses already, the Spartans playoff hopes are all but over. Which direction where their season go?

Next Week: Michigan State @ Wisconsin (3:30pm) 

9. Indiana (3-2, 0-2)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 9


The Hoosiers had a bye week to regroup before entering an important stretch of Big Ten play. Indiana will have their homecoming weekend next week as they host Rutgers. Make sure to visit Hoosier Huddle every day for news, stories, and updates.  

Next Week: Rutgers @ Indiana (Noon)

10. Maryland (3-2, 1-1)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 11

Defeated Rutgers 48-7

Maryland got back on track after getting demolished 59-0 at home by Penn State last week. This week, the Terrapins had a blowout of their own, toppling Rutgers on the road 48-7. Maryland amassed 490 yards on a balanced attack, racking up 200 yards on the ground and another 290 through the air. The Terrapins got back to their bread and butter: explosive plays. Maryland executed two 80-yard plays, a 100-yard kickoff return, one 50-yard reception and a 42-yard run on the day. Maryland will face another struggling team next week when they head to Purdue.

Next Week: Maryland @ Purdue (Noon)

11. Northwestern (1-4, 0-3)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 10

Lost to Nebraska 13-10

It has been a brutal start to the season for Northwestern. The Wildcats suffered a heartbreaking loss in Lincoln to the Cornhuskers, losing on a last second field goal as time expired. Northwestern’s defense is reminiscent of recent years: stout and disciplined, doing enough to keep NW in the game. However, the offense has been utterly anemic this year. The Wildcats haven’t been able to get anything going on the ground or in the passing game. As Northwestern was driving down the field with the game tied at 10, quarterback Aidan Smith threw an ill-advised pass that was intercepted. The Wildcats defense finally gave way, giving up a 42-yard drive and field goal, losing 13-10. NW has a much-needed bye week to rest and recover. 

Next Week: OFF

12. Purdue (1-4, 0-2)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 12

Lost to Penn State 35-7

Without Rondale Moore and Elijah Sindelar on Saturday, Purdue never stood a chance against the Nittany Lions. Penn State raced out to a 28-0 lead just 16 minutes into the game and never looked back. Purdue was able to prevent the Nittany Lions from scoring completely at will, holding PSU to just seven points over the final 44 minutes of play. Purdue will have to adjust quickly with redshirt freshman QB Jack Plummer as it is unclear when Sindelar will be back, if at all. Purdue better get healthy and improve soon or this could be a long season for Jeff Brohm and the Boilers. Through five games, it’s been a complete nightmare in West Lafayette so far.

Next Week: Maryland @ Purdue (Noon)

13. Illinois (2-3, 0-2)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 13

Lost to Minnesota 40-17

Illinois held firm for one half, trailing by just six points at the break, but ultimately the Fighting Illini could not keep it close. Minnesota outscored the Illini 24-7 in the second half to run away with a lopsided victory. Illinois could not stop the run game, nor could they run the ball themselves. Illinois failed to eclipse 100 yards rushing while surrendering over 300 yards on the ground to the Gophers. Illinois will need to straighten out both sides of the ball when Michigan comes to town next weekend. Through five games, Purdue and Illinois are neck and neck for worst team in the Big Ten West.

Next Week: Michigan @ Illinois (Noon on ABC) 

14. Rutgers (1-4, 0-3)   

Last Week’s Ranking: 14

Lost to Maryland 48-7 

Rutgers held Maryland to a slow start before getting blown out at home by a score of 48-7. The Scarlet Knights’ starting QB and RB, Artur Sitkowski and Raheem Blackshear, both announced their decisions to redshirt the rest of the season. At this rate, it will be a miracle if Rutgers wins a Big Ten game in 2019.

Next Week: Rutgers @ Indiana (Noon)