By Adam Hoge -
For the second week in a row, Iowa City was home to another unexpected turn in the Big Ten title race. The Hawkeyes beating Michigan State was not necessarily surprising, but the way in which they dominated the Spartans in every facet of the game certainly was. Another week, another shakeup in the Big Ten Power Rankings:
Week 10 Power Rankings (BCS rankings are used)
1. No. 9 Wisconsin (7-1, 3-1) – Coming off back-t0-back wins over Ohio State and Iowa, the Badgers got a well deserved bye week and jump up to No. 1 in the Big Ten by virtue of Michigan State’s loss. A three-way tie for the Big Ten title is looking more and more likely and Wisconsin is currently in the driver’s seat for the Rose Bowl because the BCS standings would be the tiebreaker in that situation. Last week: 2
2. No. 10 Ohio State (8-1, 4-1) – Who knew Ohio State wouldn’t be getting respect? The Buckeyes have outscored its last two opponents 101-10 but still sit one spot behind where they debuted in the BCS standings two weeks ago. Last week: 3
3. No. 16 Iowa (6-2, 3-1) – Iowa’s Big Ten title hopes are still alive and well after the thumping they put on Michigan State Saturday, but games against Northwestern — who the Hawks always struggle against — and Ohio State remain. Iowa fans have to be wondering how the Spartans are still ranked ahead of them in the BCS. Last week: 4
4. No. 14 Michigan State (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) – Saturday’s loss certainly ended Michigan State’s National Championship hopes, but the Spartans still have a good shot to earn a share of the conference title. That game at Penn State to the end season doesn’t seem as easy now though. Last week: 1
5. Illinois (5-3, 3-2) – I really thought Saturday’s game against Purdue was going to tell us a lot about the Illini and it did. They beat a bad team very convincingly and we can now say for sure that Illinois is a much better football team than we thought it would be. Still, this weekend’s game at Michigan is the kind of game good football teams have to win. Last week: 6
6. Northwestern (6-2, 2-2) – The third time was the charm for the Wildcats who are now bowl eligible for the fourth straight season. But they drop in my power rankings because that win at Indiana was hardly impressive. Illinois quite frankly looks like the better team right now. Last week: 5
7. Penn State (5-3, 2-2) – It’s nice to see some life out of the Nittany Lions’ offense, even if it is coming against bad defenses. I didn’t think Penn State could keep up with Denard Robinson and the Wolverines, but 41 points later, they had a nice 10-point win. Last week: 8
8. Michigan (5-3, 1-3) – I said last week a 3-5 conference record looked likely and that was when I thought they would beat Penn State. They’ll be lucky to get three Big Ten wins now. Last week: 7
9. Purdue (4-4, 2-2) – After a 2-0 Big Ten start, the Boilermakers have lost their last two games by a combined score of 93-10. Ouch. With Wisconsin’s powerful offense coming to West Lafayette this weekend, it doesn’t look like it will get better anytime soon. Last week: 9
10. Indiana (4-4, 0-4) – Considering the Hoosiers’ laughable non-conference slate and winless Big Ten record, it’s likely Indiana will have to finish 3-1 to earn a bowl invitation. With Iowa and Wisconsin on the schedule the next weeks, I think it’s safe to say that won’t happen. Last week: 10
11. Minnesota (1-8, 0-5) – More bad news for a bad team: Michigan State, Illinois and Iowa remain on the schedule. Last week: 11
Five random nuggets
- Penn State has never lost a game in which running back Evan Royster has reached 100+ rushing yards. The Lions are 14-0 when that happens.
- It’s been 12 years since the Big Ten had a three-way tie for the Big Ten title with all three teams having less than two conference losses. In 1998, Wisconsin, Ohio State and Michigan all had 7-1 Big Ten records.
- Denard Robinson leads the nation in rushing yards with 1,287. The next closest Big Ten player is Wisconsin’s John Clay, who has 887.
- Northwestern’s Dan Persa continues to the lead the nation in completion percentage. He has completed 75.7 percent of his passes this season.
- The once dominant Michigan Wolverines are now 4-16 in Big Ten games since Rich Rodriguez took over as head coach in 2008.
Get more college football coverage from Adam Hoge by following him on Twitter @AdamHoge670.