Big Ten Power Ranking – Week 5
Hello and welcome to the Big Ten Power Leaderboard! Each week, we’ll rank how teams in the conference are playing, hoping to see who’s a contender and who’s a contender over the course of the season.
The rules are few, but resolved:
- Teams are ranked according to how they play at this moment. No work, no rankings in the polls, just how each team is playing at this point in the season.
- The ranking approach is not necessarily based on on-field results (although these do matter, as an obvious and tangible data point), but more generally whether both teams have played at a neutral site 100 times , which team would win 51 times (or Straight).
- These rankings are subjective. As an author, I have to follow the rules as closely or loosely as I like, and if you don’t like the rankings, you’re wrong.
Week 5 is in the books and we have big movers in the conference. Let’s go!
1. Ohio State
OSU appears to have entered Death Star Mode™, after beating Rutgers 49-10. Granted, it was against Rutgers, but the Scarlet Knights at least looked competent under Greg Schiano. It didn’t matter because the Buckeyes were scoring at will. After a “slow year” in 2021, it looks like OSU is on the way to the playoffs.
Then to Michigan State.
I don’t think Iowa is very good at football, but Michigan had a very full day in the office, winning 27-14. If it hadn’t been for trash theatre, Iowa’s output would have been even less. Still, there is a big gap between No. 1 and No. 2 in these rankings.
Then to Indiana.
3. Penn State
An ugly 17-7 win over Northwestern gave me pause on where to put the Lions, but after rewatching the game and looking at some of the stats, it really was nowhere near as close as the score l would indicate. 5 turnovers can’t (and certainly won’t happen again), but playing in the remnants of a hurricane, I’m going to give PSU a pass.
Then slow down.
Michigan State looks #bad, but the Terrapins did the job, winning 27-13. The defense remains suspect, but the attack is more than capable of scoring points on most teams. The B1G East is beastly again.
Next, at home against Purdue (who can go over 50 points first?).
One of the biggest wins of the weekend went to the Boilermakers, who upset Minnesota 20-10. Granted, Minny didn’t have Mo Ibrahim, but Purdue ended a prolific attack from Gopher. The West is still very popular.
Then to Maryland.
Just when Minnesota gets an ounce of national recognition, they’ll ship their pants off. I’ll give them a little break from this ranking for playing without their best RB, but a lot of teams are already dealing with injuries and dealing with them well.
Then slow down.
Don’t look now, but the Fighting Illini are 4-1 and control their own destiny in the West. Bret Bielema turned the program around with speed, and the 34-10 win over Wisconsin was by far the conference’s best victory this weekend. How high can the Illini climb?
Next, home against Iowa.
Iowa came out and did things in Iowa, barely posing a threat to Michigan until the game was well in hand. At this point, I feel their role is going to ruin the best teams in the West.
Next, away to Illinois (speaking of a spoiler (I don’t really think Iowa stands a chance in this one but I like chaos)).
Oh Wisconsin, what happened to you? Illinois embarrassed you, and Paul Chryst got the axe. The mighty fell pretty quickly.
Next, to Northwestern (Pillow Fight of the Week).
10. State of Michigan
Looks like the wheels fell off Transfer State University™and while I still think Mel Tucker is a good coach, it’s hard to build a ton of success without developing homegrown talent.
Next, home against Ohio State (oh lawd).
The Scarlet Knights were about as competitive as I expected against OSU, but unfortunately that still puts them quite far down this ranking. It’s not their fault they’re stuck in the East, maybe we’ll see their true potential every time the B1G scraps the current divisions.
Then, at home against Nebraska (Pillow Fight of the Week 2).
Hey look, a sign of life! Granted, it was a 35-21 win over fellow cave dweller Indiana, but a win is a win! Let’s see if the Huskers can keep the momentum going.
Then to Rutgers.
I don’t know what I can say about the Hoosiers, besides being easily the worst team in the East.
Next, home against Michigan.
On the one hand, they held Penn State to the same number of points (17) as their previous opponent (Miami (OH)). On the other hand, if there hadn’t been a hurricane, the game wouldn’t have been as close as it was. Also, resorting to weird snap counts and pre-snap changes and then having your OL initiate contact every time the DL jumps offside (thanks to those weird snap counts and those pre-snap changes) seems a little bush league IMO. But when your offense only gets one yard per play, why not?
Next, home against Wisconsin.
My rankings don’t swarm, they fold.
OSU remains in the lead, while Michigan overtakes PSU. Maryland and Purdue are up, but Minnesota is falling. Illinois is rising fast, while Iowa remains flat. Wisconsin and Michigan State’s trend is down and Rutgers remains flat. Nebraska leaves the basement, while Indiana and the Northwest move in.
On to week 6!