Much of the Big Ten season has been spent trying to figure out who is good and who isn’t because there wasn’t much discrepancy between the two early in the season.
Well here we are, entering week 10 of the season, and I still have no idea. I know Ohio State and Penn State are good. Wisconsin is pretty clearly, right now, the third-best team in the conference.
After that? Pull the teams out of a hat. Put them in a randomizer. Throw darts at a wall. Because next to nothing separates basically the remaining 11 teams.
So I’m not going to slave over figuring out who is the 11th-best team in the conference and who is fifth-best because next week, the standings will flip. Everyone in the Big Ten is bad this year.
t14. rutger (3-5, 2-3)
Last week: Loss at Michigan, 35-14
For a brief moment, I thought I was going to be conflicted and have to decide whether I wanted to root for rutger for the hilarity of a Michigan loss to them. But then rutger rutger’d.
t14. Illinois (2-6, 0-5)
Last week: Loss vs. Wisconsin, 24-10.
In a week where little made sense, Illinois held Wisconsin to 168 rushing yards and nearly out-gained them. Three turnovers by the Illini, though, was the difference.
t14. Maryland (4-4, 2-3)
Last week: Win vs. Indiana, 42-39
Maryland won a game where they were out-gained by 140 yards, lost the time of possession battle by 13 minutes and didn’t win the turnover battle.
t14. Nebraska (4-4, 3-2)
Last week: Win at Purdue, 25-24
Nebraska’s Tanner Lee had 431 yards and two touchdowns. That half of Purdue quarterback David Blough’s season total.
t14. Minnesota (4-4, 1-4)
Last week: Loss at Iowa, 17-10
Minnesota has four Big Ten losses by margins of 7, 14, 3 and 7.
t14. Purdue (3-5, 1-4)
Last week: Loss vs. Nebraska, 25-24
If Purdue can win at home against Illinois (big ask) and on the road against Northwestern (bigger ask), there’s the chance they’ll host Indiana with both teams looking for the sixth win of the year.
t14. Northwestern (5-3, 3-2)
Last week: Win vs. Michigan State, 39-31 (3OT)
Northwestern will likely be favored in its last four games. We’re hilariously close to nine-win Northwestern.
t14. Indiana (3-5, 0-5)
Last week: Loss vs. Maryland 42-39
With the doom and gloom wearing off a bit from Saturday, Indiana is still on track to be bowl eligible so long as they beat Illinois, rutger and Purdue. The margin for error is nil, though, and Indiana is Indiana.
t14. Iowa (5-3, 2-3)
Last week: Win vs. Minnesota, 17-10
Like Minnesota, Iowa’s three Big Ten losses have been by 2, 7 and 7. HOWEVER, they’re about to get Ohio State and Wisconsin in back-to-back weeks.
t14. Michigan (6-2, 3-2)
Last week: Win vs. rutger, 35-14
Not sure if Michigan’s offense is good because John O’Korn was out or because rutger. Leaning toward rutger for now.
t14. Michigan State (6-2, 4-1)
Last week: Loss vs. Northwestern, 39-31
After being held to 252 total yards against Indiana, Michigan State threw for 445 yards and still lost.
3. Wisconsin (8-0, 5-0)
Last week: Win at Ilinois, 24-10
Saturday’s results mean Wisconsin essentially has a two-game lead in the West Division and these divisions are still a joke.
2. Penn State (7-1, 4-1)
Last week: Loss at Ohio State, 39-38
Much will be made about Saquon Barkley being shut down (rightfully so), but Penn State gave up 530 yards of offense. Kevin Wilson has settled in nicely in Columbus.
1. Ohio State (7-1, 5-0)
Last week: Win vs. Penn State, 39-38
Ohio State seems to be getting better each week. Their Week 2 loss to Oklahoma seems like ages ago and it’s next to impossible to imagine them out of the playoff.