College football Saturday is nearly upon us. Last week saw a few important matchups like Iowa-Michigan and Ohio State-Michigan State that gave us some more important data points on some of the top teams in the conference. This week we’ll see the Hawkeyes in the spotlight once again as they play Penn State. Check out where each of the teams in the conference stand heading into week
1. Ohio State Buckeyes
Last week: 34-10 win vs. Michigan State (6-0)
SP+ Ranking: 2
Justin Fields good. Defense good. Ryan Day good. Until they lose they’re gonna sit up top. They’ve got a bye this week, which gives them extra time to prepare to beat Northwestern senseless. Ohio State vs. Mick McCall: appointment television.
2. Wisconsin Badgers
Last week: 48-0 win vs. Kent State (5-0)
SP+ Ranking: 6
Things didn’t go as well as hoped for the Badgers against Northwestern as they only won by nine points. They rebounded bigly against the Golden Flashes. Johnathan Taylor ran for 186 yards on 19 carries (9.8 YARDS PER CARRY!!!) and four touchdowns in the blowout. Next up is Michigan State. If Taylor can star against that defense it’d likely be a big boost for his Heisman campaign.
3. Penn State Nittany Lions
Last week: 35-7 win vs. Purdue (5-0)
SP+ Ranking: 7
They beat up on Purdue’s mish-mash of dudes who aren’t broken enough to be on the injury report. The Nittany Lions have officially closed out the “easy” portion of their schedule and starting this weekend we’ll begin to find out if they’re actually contenders or not. They play Iowa in what’s probably the best Big Ten game this week depending on how you feel about Wisconsin-MSU. After that they also play Michigan and Michigan State. They might be the most intriguing team to watch over the next few weeks because of that tough schedule.
4. Michigan Wolverines
Last week: 10-3 win vs. Iowa (4-1)
SP+ Ranking: 17
They played an abomination of a game against Iowa. Friend of the site Patrick Mayhorn put it best:
iowa and michigan should not be allowed to play football anymore this season. they need an extended offseason to sit in the corner and think about what they did— patrick mayhorn (@patrick_mayhorn) October 5, 2019
This weekend they get to beat up on Illinois.
5. Iowa Hawkeyes
Last week: 10-3 loss @ Michigan (4-1)
SP+ Ranking: 21
They lost the abomination of a game. Nate Stanley threw three picks. Tough day for the Hawkeyes all around. I’m not selling quite yet though because even if they can’t bounce back with a win against Penn State their remaining schedule is pretty soft:
I’m seeing at least four more wins there, possibly even five. Gotta love playing in the Big Ten West, not that anybody at this website would know anything about that.
6. Michigan State Spartans
Last week: 34-10 loss @ Ohio State (4-2)
SP+ Ranking: 18
Still not buying the Spartans. Ohio State is really, really good so I’m not holding this specific loss against them but I’m still inclined to believe that they’re the worst of the traditionally “good” teams in the conference this season. They’ve fallen out of the AP Top 25 and they’ll face a tough Wisconsin team at Camp Randall this weekend. I’m not expecting it to work out well for Michigan State.
7. Indiana Hoosiers
Last week: Bye (3-2)
SP+ Ranking: 28
Homecoming weekend in Bloomington as they close out their non-conference slate against rutger. If things go as expected Michael Penix Jr. will dazzle as the Hoosiers pick up their fourth win of the season, keeping #9WINDIANA on track and everybody will get to have a nice day at the stadium. Keep in mind though that it’s homecoming weekend in Bloomington and the Hoosiers haven’t won their homecoming game since 2010.
8. Minnesota Golden Gophers
Last week: 40-17 win vs. Illinois (5-0)
SP+ Ranking: 26
MINNESOTA AIN’T PLAYED NOBODY PAWWWWWL. That being said the Golden Gophers are still undefeated and could very well win their next three in a row, which means they’d head to Happy Valley at 8-0 for a showdown with Penn State. I’d like to see them play a real team before I actually buy into the hype, but the closest thing we’ll get over the next three weeks is Nebraska(?), who they’ll play on Saturday. It’s either the Huskers or Maryland. All Minnesota can do is keep taking care of business against seemingly lesser opponents for now.
9. Maryland Terrapins
Last week: 48-7 win @ rutger (3-2)
SP+ Ranking: 36
I have no idea what to make of Maryland. The turtles lost to Temple (lol) and then got trounced by Penn State in their own stadium, but came back last week to beat rutger like a drum. Perhaps it means rutger is really, really bad. Maryland gets Purdue this week and is only a 3.5-point favorite in Vegas though that certainly has something to do with starting QB Josh Jackson being hurt and Tyrrell Pigrome playing in his place.
10. Nebraska Cornhuskers
Last week: 13-10 win vs. Northwestern (4-2)
SP+ Ranking: 39
The Huskers are only marginally better than a bad Northwestern team as they skated past the Wildcats by three points in Lincoln thanks to a last-second field goal. Then they proceeded to celebrate like they were going to the World Series:
If you missed the game winning call from @LosHuskers, we've got your back. pic.twitter.com/BIe4m2YR41— Husker Sports (@HuskerSports) October 6, 2019
Celebrating is good and fine and all, but it was a slight win over a bad team. Not great! This week they’ll play Minnesota on the road.
11. Northwestern Wildcats
Last week: 13-10 loss @ Nebraska (1-4)
SP+ Ranking: 70
They barely missed out on picking up their second win of the season despite scoring 10 points. They get a bye this week. They play Ohio State in their next game. I’d expect it to be brutal.
12. Purdue Boilermakers
Last week: 35-7 loss @ Penn State (1-4)
SP+ Ranking: 70
Purdue can’t catch a break. Everybody’s hurt. This week they get Maryland at home and Josh Jackson is out as previously mentioned so maybe, just maybe they can pull an upset. I wouldn’t hold my breath but it isn’t out of the question.
13. Illinois Fighitng Illini
Last week: 40-17 loss @ Minnesota (2-3)
SP+ Ranking: 71
Illinois is still bad. This week they’ll get pummeled by (spins wheel) Michigan. Wash, rinse, repeat.