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Big Ten power rankings: Michigan State and Indiana losses set up an angry Spittoon battle

Okay, maybe Wisconsin is for real.

Wisconsin v Michigan State Photo by Bobby Ellis/Getty Images

It’s Monday morning, baby.

You know what that means.

Time to drink precisely one large coffee and consume this week’s power rankings:

Tier 5: LOLinois

14. Northwestern

The Wildcats continue to look inept on offense. The first to 10 points at Iowa next weekend may win that game.

13. Illinois

Got a week off to prepare for a trip to Lincoln. But with games against Purdue and Rutger after that, there’s a chance for the Illini to gain some momentum.

Tier 4: Signs of competence?

12. Rutger

Losing 14-7 to Iowa is a very B1G final score. Also, Rutger almost gained the “S” back from their name because their AD, Pat Hobbs, chugged a beer at a tailgate, but they’ve lost the “S” again because the school cancelled the student tailgate after this happened and force Hobbs to apologize.

11. Purdue

Won against an FBS school! And came from behind no less!

Tier 3: Treading water in the East

10. Penn State

Did you know that James Franklin has not won a game against a team that finished the season ranked since he got to Penn State? That’s not going to fly with the fans in Happy Valley for much longer.

9. Indiana

Alex and Swick both touched on this game a lot already, but yeah, that was not very fun. The most frustrating part of Saturday’s loss was this feeling that we have seen this game play out way too many times before. Gameplan breaks down, QB has to air it out, #CHAOSTEAM happens, defense gets tired out and makes bad mistakes, game ends in a one-score loss.

Here’s hoping Dan Feeney and Dimitric Camiel get healthy soon - the Hoosiers will need the right side of the o-line at full strength as conference play begins.

8. Maryland

The Terps’ next four: Purdue, at Penn State, Minnesota, MSU. Could the Terps be 5-2 or even 6-1 before they come to Bloomington in late October?

7. Michigan State

Last weekend, I thought this team was for real after they went into Notre Dame and rolled past the Irish. A week later, Sparty managed only 6 against Wisconsin, while ND lost again and fired its DC. The bad part about this loss for IU fans is that MSU will come into Bloomington angry on Saturday night. If they’re fired up and Tyler O’Connor can actually get things going on offense, then IU may be in for a long night.

That being said - take a look at those S&P+ rankings! Indiana is actually... ahead of MSU? Well great, now I’m talking myself into the Hoosiers for this one.

Tier 2: Holding out hope in the West

6. Iowa

Look, I’m gonna make fun of the North Dakota State loss all season, but the Bison are a dang good team, and I don’t blame Kirk Ferentz as much for that one as I blame AD Gary Barta (an NDSU alum) for scheduling that contest. However, a loss to Rutger would have been a lot more embarrassing than the NDSU loss, so good for the Hawkeyes to avoid that.

5. Minnesota

In fifth place now on account of not screwing up - yet. Alex pointed this out in the gambling column but the Gophers could have one of those classic B1G West seasons where they go 10-2 but no one knows if they’re actually good because of how weak their schedule is. Man, why couldn’t IU have been placed in the West?

4. Nebraska

The biggest difference for Nebraska between this year and last is that the defense actually is able to close out games. With Illinois and then a bye, the Huskers will almost certainly bring a 5-0 record into Bloomington on Oct. 15.

Tier 1: Quest for the CFP

3. Wisconsin

After crushing MSU 30-6, it’s safe to say that the Badgers are legit. Next week they head to the Big House, which will be a very good test of their early-season success.

2. Michigan

Not many people were expecting Penn State to win (other than this guy), but this game was a rout and showed a more focused and disciplined Wolverines team than the one that let Colorado hang around for two and a half quarters the week before.

1. Ohio State

Didn’t play, but still top dog. Nice of the Big Ten to give the Buckeyes two weeks to prepare for Rutger.

Three non-B1G teams I liked:

West Virginia - A lot of Big 12 teams tripped over their own feet in non-conference play. WVU, in a season where Dana Holgorsen is likely coaching for his job, did not, as they crushed Mizzou, fended off Bo Pelini and Youngstown State, and snuck past BYU Saturday in a 35-32 nail-biter.

Washington - Won a crazy #pac12afterdark game in overtime at Arizona. They’ll host fellow top-10 team Stanford on Friday night, with the winner almost assuredly clinching the Pac-12 North.

Texas A&M - I’ll admit that I got these guys wrong. After all the offseason drama, I thought they would struggle and that Purdue would start trying to lure Kevin Sumlin back to his alma mater. After a huge win in the JerryDome over Arkansas, they’re now 4-0 with two SEC victories.

Three (or four) non-B1G teams I didn’t like:

LSU - A salute to Les Miles, who was one of the most entertaining coaches of the past decade. Watching LSU’s games under Miles were always a riot, and win or lose, something crazy was always bound to happen. Unfortunately, the failures at end of last season and the beginning of this one showed that it was time for a change on the Bayou. My guess is former LSU assistant and current FSU coach Jimbo Fisher might get the call, unless Tom Herman decides it’s time to jump ship from Houston.

USC/Notre Dame - No wonder these two are rivals; their fanbases both obsessed with chasing a past success that no longer is around. USC lost to Utah, who has a quarterback named Troy Williams. Does it surprise you that he does both good and bad things on the field? And Notre Dame lost at home to Duke, which must have left Dick Vitale feeling very conflicted over who to root for.

Oregon - Colorado is much improved this season, but losing to the Buffaloes at home sealed Mark Helfrich’s fate as this decade’s Larry Coker.