A lot of teams on bye last week and we’re already a little late as it is (was distracted by Showtime Mahomes last night, sorry!), so let’s get right into this week’s rankings.
14. Rutger (1-4)
Showed some life in the fourth quarter against an Indiana team that was trying its best to get out of New Jersey unscathed. The Hoosiers now have more wins in their all-time series against Rutger (3-2), eliminating a silly talking point from Scarlet Knights fans.
13. Nebraska (0-4)
After the Michigan debacle, Scott Frost said that Purdue was a “winnable” game. Well, pretty much every perceived slight is bulletin-board material to Purdue fans, and the Huskers lost 42-28 in a game that wasn’t as close as its final score indicated.
Meanwhile, UCF just crushed Pitt and is still undefeated.
12. Illinois (2-2)
No game last week. Heads to Rutger on Saturday. Lord have mercy on all who watch that one.
11. Northwestern (1-3)
The Wildcats jumped out to a 17-0 lead, then let Michigan slowly cut into it all game before the Wolverines escaped Ryan Field with a 20-17 victory.
Many Northwestern fans expressed frustration with Mick McCall’s playcalling throughout the second part of the game and hmm, I wonder if there are any other Big Ten teams that this reminds me of.
10. Minnesota (3-1)
No game last week. Plays Iowa for the Pig this weekend.
9. Purdue (2-3)
Did Purdue fans make shirts to commemorate their win over winless Nebraska? Buddy, I got news for you.
is there anything purdue fans can’t get embarrassingly aggrieved about pic.twitter.com/lFlEOZuqFx— crimson quarry (@crimsonquarry) October 1, 2018
8. Indiana (4-1)
It’s a very shaky 4-1 for the Hoosiers but I’ll take it five games into the season. The biggest story is how the run offense, which was so good against UVA and Ball State, seems to have disappeared during conference play. Stevie Scott had a touchdown on Saturday, but only had just over 3 yards per carry and coughed a ball up late that turned into a Rutger touchdown. It’s on Mike DeBord at this point to open the offense up, especially in the second half, and on Peyton Ramsey to show he’s capable of making those plays - otherwise the time might be right for Mike Penix.
Fun fact: The Hoosiers are 3-10 in October over the past 3 years. One of those wins was against Charleston Southern in a rain makeup game. And with OSU, Iowa, and PSU the next three weeks, the Hoosiers could be back at .500 on the season heading into a late-October clash with Minnesota.
7. Maryland (3-1)
No game last week. And the Washington Post’s reporting about DJ Durkin’s bizarre motivational tactics continues a not very good look for the program this fall. I don’t know about you, but I sure wouldn’t want to see this while eating lunch:
During meals and in the training room, players were shown graphic videos featuring loud music, violent imagery and animals killing each other. The videos were intended to motivate the players. “There would be videos of animals eating other animals, pulling them apart,” one player said. “Video segments of, like, zombies just pulling out the intestines of other people.”
6. Iowa (3-1)
No game last week. The Hawkeyes do have a clear path to 10 wins, but if Wisconsin doesn’t lose, it will be hard for them to win their division.
5. MSU (3-1)
Very meh victory over a very meh Central Michigan team, 31-20.
4. Wisconsin (3-1)
No game last week. Loss to BYU doesn’t look as good either after Washington destroyed them at home.
3. Michigan (4-1)
Squeaked by Northwestern. It’s not a stretch to say Chase Winovich looks like the best defensive player in the conference right now either, with Nick Bosa out indefinitely.
2. Penn State (4-1)
For the second year in a row, Penn State let a big fourth-quarter lead to Ohio State slip away in the closing minutes. James Franklin has unquestionably built a great program again in State College, but his decisionmaking throughout the game left me baffled. The 4th-and-5 playcall that sealed the game (a run out of a shotgun, after calling 2 timeouts to set the play up) made little sense, especially since it took the ball out of Trace McSorley’s hands to deliver a winning moment in front of 100,000+ fans. But there were other tactical mistakes as well:
James Franklin today:— Jeff (BPredict) (@BPredict) September 30, 2018
✔️Two punts inside Ohio State's 40
✔️A third punt on 4th & 1 from OSU's 49
✔️FG on 4th & 3 in the red zone
✔️Forgot to go for 2 when up by 5 in the 4th
✔️Burned two timeouts to make a 4th & 5 a must-convert play, then called a draw out of shotgun.
Penn State played well enough to win this game. But to beat a team like Ohio State, “well enough” doesn’t usually count. Last year, Iowa and Oklahoma’s relentlessness and refusal to take the foot off the gas led to wins over the Buckeyes. Penn State let OSU back into the game and it cost them dearly.
1. Ohio State (5-0)
Obviously Dwayne Haskins is really good, but I couldn’t help but think Penn State had the best shot of any team to stop them from rolling through the conference undefeated, and now the rest of us will have to sit through thousands of eye-rolling “redemption” stories about Urban Meyer. Gross.
OSU hosts Indiana this weekend. Could get real ugly in Columbus real fast.