We're nine weeks in now, guys. We're supposed to know things. There's supposed to be enough of a body of evidence to formulate some ranking of teams that will eventually determine who will play for the national championship. Those rankings will be wrong, and they will change, because college football is the world's most entertaining stupid game. Three weeks in a row, college football has provided endings to games only foreseeable to those on hallucinogenic drugs. Tuesday night MACtion started this week. We are in the college football homestretch, where championship things will be decided by some string of farfetched and how in the hell events. It will be great, terrible, and horrid all rolled into one ball of football-shaped catharsis -- and you should be excited.
Here are this week's power rankings, divided into two categories: bowl eligible and not.
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS?
14. Nebraska 3-6 (1-4)
These are the rules, Nebraska. Purdue has now won two football games in the 2015 season. One was over an FCS program in Indiana State only a handful of years away from being on the brink of shutdown. The other is over Nebraska. Christ. Nebraska football is a poop sinking to the bottom of this power ranking toilet. Of all of the assy performances in college football in 2015, Nebraska's on Saturday in Ross-Ade might have been the assiest. 5 turnovers. 274 yards and 4 touchdowns given up to a Purdue aerial attack that is far removed from the Tiller years. Mike Riley seems to be a very nice and wonderful man and I'll feel very bad for him when he's fired in December after a 3-9 season that looks more and more likely by the day.
13. Rutgers 3-5 (1-4)
Rutgers scored 22 points in the fourth quarter against Indiana. They have scored 17 in the two weeks since. Ban this sport.
12. Maryland 2-6 (0-4)
Mike Locksley has coached 28 games as a Division I head coach. He has won two of them. Mike Locksley should probably not be Maryland's full-time head coach.
11. Purdue 2-6 (1-3)
Uggggggggghhhhhhh. Purdue football is fine. I have nothing against it, I've got friends who are fans, it's fine. I do not hate Purdue football. I sat on the front row for a Purdue-Michigan State game last year at Ross Ade for $20, This is the saddest thing I can say about Purdue football. Things have not been great, and it was probably Indiana's best shot at a sure-thing win the rest of the season. That is now no longer true. Does this mean Purdue is good or better than Indiana? Hell no. They still needed 5 turnovers from Nebraska's backup quarterback to get this win -- it was more a self-destruction. But Indiana is more than capable of self-destructing in such a manner, so I'm gonna go curl up in the fetal position for the entire month ok thx later
10. Illinois 4-4 (1-3)
Couldn't score a single dang point in Happy Valley. At least Indiana had 7.
9. Indiana 4-4 (0-4)
Spencer Hall says it's always a smart thing when teams do not play football and have a bye week. Indiana football did a smart thing last weekend.
8. Minnesota 4-4 (1-3)
Heartbreaker in Minneapolis last weekend. Obviously, the retirement of Jerry Kill due to reappearing health issues last week was unfortunate, and a chance to upset Michigan in the closing seconds ended due to a Wolverines goal-line stance and poor clock management. Tracy Claeys seems to be the successor to Kill, and he could likely keep up a good thing that Kill started in what is a very tough job to succeed. The drawback, however, is that hiring Claeys could lead to a Bill Lynch type scenario for the Gophers. Come hiring season, it will be interesting to see how this job ranks compared to Maryland and Illinois, as despite not being a recruiting hotbed, the Twin Cities seem like a perfectly nice place to live, and the Gophers play in a stadium that's less than a decade old and is currently being shared with the Vikings before they move into their publicly-funded palace.
VIEWS FROM THE 6 (WINS)
6. (tie) Northwestern 6-2 (2-2)
6. (tie) Penn State 7-2 (4-1)
These two face off in Evanston this weekend, probably for the right to play in Tampa at 11 a.m. on New Year's Day.
5. Wisconsin 7-2 (4-1)
It's looking like another boring solid 10-2 season for the Badgers. Must be nice to have Rutgers and Maryland as your cross-division opponents.
4. Michigan 6-2 (3-1)
Maybe all the bad karma from the end of that Michigan State game reversed itself around for Minnesota. The Wolverines will probably knock off undefeated Ohio State in the Big House and cause the college football playoff committee to self-destruct. Which would probably mean 8 playoff teams sooner rather than later.
3. Iowa 8-0 (4-0)
Of all Iowa's final opponents (IU, Purdue, Minnesota, Nebraska), I think the Hoosiers might have the best chance of knocking the Hawkeyes off. I don't need a reason let's just roll with it and see what happens Saturday.
1. (tie) MSU 8-0 (4-0)
1. (tie) OSU 8-0 (4-0)
Both these teams didn't play last week and face token opposition until their big matchup on Novermber 21. The DUI arrest of J.T. Barrett certainly wasn't what the Buckeyes needed, but I don't think Cardale will lose his perfect starting record this weekend against Minnesota either.