Power Ranking Big Ten Football Teams Post Week 9
Week 9 in the Big Ten provided even more clarity as to who runs the conference, as Ohio State notched an impressive victory over Penn State.
Michigan State is rounding into form just in time for the meat of its schedule, and Minnesota continues to be one of the better stories of this 2013 season.
As we reach November, the Legends Division is up for grabs, and several key matchups should make for a wild month of football.
Check out our Big Ten Power rankings after Week 9.
All stats via ESPN
12. Purdue Boilermakers
There isn't much to say about Purdue football in 2013.
The Boilermakers are perhaps the leading candidates for worst BCS-conference team, having suffered blowout losses to nearly every opponent on the schedule, including Northern Illinois.
The offense is managing a measly 13 points per game and the defense is giving up nearly 35.
A home contest with Illinois on Nov. 23rd may be the only chance left at another victory this season.
11. Illinois Fighting Illini
Illinois may be a cut above Purdue, but the Fighting Illini aren't a very good football team in 2013, to state the obvious.
They're giving up more than 33 points per game and have been embarrassed the past three weeks by Nebraska, Wisconsin and Michigan State.
Quarterback Nathan Scheelhaase can make plays, but he hasn't been able to find the end zone through the air very often, and has zero touchdown passes in the last three games.
Illinois still has winnable games against Indiana and Purdue.
10. Indiana Hoosiers
The problem with Indiana hasn't been the offense, as the Hoosiers rank 8th in the country, scoring more than 42 points per game.
With that mark, you'd expect a much better record than the 3-4 one the team currently has. Instead, the defense is giving up more than 37 points per game.
Because of that, the Hoosiers' excellent offense has been unable to keep up with teams like Michigan and Michigan State.
The lone conference win came against Penn State, an impressive 44-24 victory, but any momentum gained in that tilt was quickly lost after consecutive losses to the Michigan schools.
9. Northwestern Wildcats
My, how the mighty have fallen.
Before a matchup with Ohio State, it seemed like Northwestern was poised for a breakthrough season. Since the loss, the Wildcats have suffered three straight defeats.
The team is still showing some fight, see close losses to Minnesota and Iowa. But after a 4-0 start, Wildcats' fans can't be happy with the turn the season has taken.
Their team will play at Nebraska next Saturday.
8. Nebraska Cornhuskers
When you think about Nebraska, you normally envision a pretty good football team. Even before Saturday's loss to Minnesota, it seemed like this squad had a puncher's chance at making the Big Ten championship game.
But then you look at their resume, where you see a 5-2 record without any wins against a quality opponent. The losses came against the aforementioned Golden Gophers and a solid UCLA team, but the in-conference wins were against Purdue and Illinois.
The record doesn't look terrible. Unfortunately, the product does.
7. Penn State Nittany Lions
Penn State and Nebraska are pretty interchangeable at this point, but the Nittany Lions get the nod due to their impressive home win over Michigan.
Still, Saturday's blowout loss to Ohio State brought Bill O'Brien's team back to earth and showed it that there is still plenty of work to do. The next three games are against Illinois, Minnesota and Purdue, so there's a decent chance for a trio of victories.
But this seems like a team that is still a year or two away from being able to consistently compete with the top tier in the league.
6. Minnesota Golden Gophers
With wins over Northwestern and Nebraska, Minnesota has officially moved into the top half of the Big Ten power rankings.
The defense is allowing just 23 points per game and the offense, led by Philip Nelson at quarterback, has been finding a way to get it done when it matters most.
The real question for this team now is can they continue the upward trajectory and end up in a decent bowl game? Or will the Gophers fall back into old habits and drop two or three games?
5. Iowa Hawkeyes
Iowa is the antithesis of Indiana this season, but fortunately for the Hawkeyes, an outstanding defense has led to some impressive victories.
The team played tough in its only two in-conference losses to Michigan State and Ohio State, and Iowa has taken care of business everywhere else.
A 17-10 victory over Northwestern on Saturday means that Kirk Ferentz's team, with games remaining against both Nebraska and Michigan, still has an outside shot at the Legends' division title.
4. Michigan Wolverines
A topsy-turvy start to the season finally turned into a loss for Michigan against Penn State on October 12th.
But the Wolverines rebounded with an impressive offensive performance in a 63-47 win over Indiana. Still, the biggest question mark during the bye week has to be the defense, which has allowed more than 30 points on three occasions in 2013.
The biggest game of the year for this team will take place next Saturday when Brady Hoke's team travels to East Lansing to take on Michigan State, and the winner will have a major leg up in the division title race.
3. Michigan State Spartans
The Michigan State Spartans have quietly gone 4-0 in conference play and an improved offense gives this team a real shot to make it to the conference championship game.
Granted, three of the four wins came against Indiana, Illinois and Purdue, but the important thing is Mark Dantonio's guys are playing their best football heading into a critical stretch of games.
After the Spartans take on the Wolverines next Saturday, they'll travel to Nebraska before Minnesota and Northwestern round out the schedule.
2. Wisconsin Badgers
We've said it before and we'll probably say it again: Wisconsin is a darn good football team and could probably beat a handful of teams currently ranked in the Top 15.
The Badgers only two losses came against Arizona State and Ohio State, though the defeat to the Sun Devils was marred by controversy at the end.
Running back Melvin Gordon is an absolute beast and the defense is as feisty as ever behind the play of linebacker Chris Borland.
Unfortantely for Wisconsin, they'll need Ohio State to lose twice in order to jump ahead of them in the division race.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
As has been the case throughout the season, Ohio State is the No. 1 team in the Big Ten power rankings.
While previous weeks have seen the Buckeyes look underwhelming in their victories, Week 9 saw a team that looked very much like a national championship contender.
Quarterback Braxton Miller accounted for five total touchdowns and the Buckeyes beat Penn State 63-14, scoring serious style points for the first time all season.
Urban Meyer's team may need some help to get into the Top 2 of the BCS rankings, but they are the clear-cut favorite in the Big Ten.