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Power Rankings: Upsets shift the Big Ten landscape

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Michigan State...hello?

Minnesota v Maryland
Taulia Good???
Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

There was a big game that went about as expected, a big upset in the The Great Lakes State, and a few other pretty exciting matchups, as well. Let’s see how they shook up the power rankings heading into another packed week:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (2-0)

Last week: 38-25 win at Penn State

Up next: Home vs. rutger (OSU -38)

SP+ Ranking: 1

Previous CQ Ranking: 1

The Buckeyes are the real deal. They took down a good Penn State team pretty easily, holding the Nittany Lions to just six first-half points on a pair of field goals, one coming on a weird officiating decision at the end of the half. Justin Fields continued to put up video-game numbers, going 28-for-34 through the air for 318 yards and four touchdowns. Seems like Ohio State is destined for the College Football Playoff unless something very weird happens in the next several weeks.

2. Indiana Hoosiers (2-0)

Last week: 37-21 win at rutger

Up next: Home vs. Michigan (UM -3)

SP+ Ranking: 25

Previous CQ Ranking: 4

Never a doubt! The Hoosiers went to New Jersey and won their fifth-straight matchup with the Scarlet Knights. The defense was good as hell for the most part, the offense figured it out down the stretch and Chuck Campbell continued to come through as needed. Next up is a visit from Jim Harbaugh, and IU is the higher-ranked team in the matchup. Normal season, get a new slant.

3. Wisconsin Badgers (1-0)

Last week: Covid Bye

Up next: Another Covid Bye

SP+ Ranking: 3

Previous CQ Ranking: 3

Will the Badgers ever take the field again? Is Graham Mertz the real deal? Find out next time (or the next time, or the time after that) on Dragon Ball Z!

4. Penn State Nittany Lions (0-2)

Last week: 38-25 loss vs. Ohio State

Up next: Home vs. Maryland (PSU -25)

SP+ Ranking: 8

Previous CQ Ranking: 2

I’m not going to knock anybody for losing to Ohio State. Sean Clifford and the boys gave it a go, but it felt like they were never really within striking distance. Hopefully, they’ll be able to get their season back on track this weekend against Maryland, a matchup in which they’re heavily favored.

5. Northwestern Wildcats (2-0)

Last week: 21-20 win at Iowa

Up next: Home vs. Nebraska (NW -3.5)

SP+ Ranking: 31

Previous CQ Ranking: 8

Northwestern’s beatdown of Maryland looks a bit better this week, and the ‘Cats managed to scrape out a win in Iowa, putting them right in the mix to potentially return to the top 25. It’s quite the turnaround for Northwestern, and if it continues we may see Pat Fitzgerald get B1G Coach of the Year hype. But a lot of credit should go to offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian, who’s seemingly taken Mick McCall’s Mess and turned it into something that doesn’t make masses of people want to burn their eyes out.

6. Purdue Boilermakers (2-0)

Last week: 31-24 win at Illinois

Up next: Covid Bye

SP+ Ranking: 37

Previous CQ Ranking: 7

Purdue’s undefeated! The Boilers now have wins over Iowa and Illinois, which aren’t terribly challenging opponents, but still definitely worth celebrating. Aidan O’Connell to David Bell is quite the threat for them offensively, as the duo has now linked up 22 times for 243 yards and four touchdowns in two games. Purdue would be taking on Wisconsin this weekend but, well, y’know.

7. Michigan State Spartans (1-1)

Last week: 27-24 win at Michigan

Up next: Away vs. Iowa (IA -7)

SP+ Ranking: 52

Previous CQ Ranking: 14

So it turns out that Michigan State wasn’t quite as bad as it looked when it was (checks notes) turning the ball over seven times in a loss to rutger. The Spartans managed to take down big brother in Ann Arbor for the first big win of the Mel Tucker area, somehow giving them a top-three win of the season for the Big Ten thus far, and a bottom three-loss as well. There may be a new #CHAOSTEAM afoot. Get a 12-pack ready, East Lansing.

8. Michigan Wolverines (1-1)

Last week: 27-24 loss vs. Michigan State

Up next: Away vs. Indiana

SP+ Ranking: 16

Previous CQ Ranking: 2

9. Iowa Hawkeyes (0-2)

Last week: 21-20 loss vs. Northwestern

Up next: Home vs. Michigan State

SP+ Ranking: 28

Previous CQ Ranking: 9

Parking the Hawkeyes this week after their one-point loss to Northwestern because I’m still willing to believe that they’re better than the bottom five teams in the conference. They’ve lost to a pair of top-half teams by a combined five points so it’s reasonable to expect that they’ll recover from the early slump, potentially by taking down Michigan State as they’re favored to this weekend.

10. Rutger Scarlet Knights (1-1)

Last week: 37-21 loss vs. Indiana

Up next: *gulps*

SP+ Ranking: 87

Previous CQ Ranking: 13

Congrats, rutger, you’re in the power rankings for now. You aren’t an unbearable garbage fire this season. That being said, have fun this weekend. Go out there and get some fresh air and exercise.

11. Maryland Terrapins (1-1)

Last week: 45-44 win vs. Minnesota

Up next: Away vs. Penn State

SP+ Ranking: 88

Previous CQ Ranking: 12

Taulia Tagovailoa rebounded from a rocky debut to torch Minnesota for 394 yards and three touchdowns! He also ran for 59 yards and two more touchdowns! Maybe the Gopher defense is just hot garbage, but for now we’re filing Maryland away under “no idea, but maybe average.”

12. Nebraska Cornhuskers (0-1)

Last week: Covid Bye

Up next: Away vs. Northwestern

SP+ Ranking: 39

Previous CQ Ranking: 10

Despite their protests outside of Big Ten HQ last week, the Huskers neither played a game, nor received a win via a Wisconsin forfeit. What a shame.

13. Illinois Fighting Illini (0-2)

Last week: 31-24 loss vs. Purdue

Up next: Home vs. Minnesota (MINN -7)

SP+ Ranking: 73

Previous CQ Ranking: 11

Couldn’t quite keep up with Purdue last weekend, but they’ve got a chance to upset a reeling Minnesota team this weekend. That’s not a sentence that I anticipated typing out a couple of weeks ago. If they do so, it’ll have to be without starting quarterback Brandon Peters and some other players who tested positive for COVID-19 before the Purdue game. That apparently leaves a person called “Coran Taylor” to run the offense for the Illini. Sure, I’ll believe it.

14. Minnesota Golden Gophers (0-2)

Last week: 45-44 loss at Maryland

Up next: Away vs. Illinois

SP+ Ranking: 32

Previous CQ Ranking: 6

Mohamed Ibrahim is very good at football. The running back went for 207 yards and four touchdowns on 41 carries against Maryland. The rest of the team, particularly anybody who plays defense? Well...let’s label them TBD for now.