The World-Herald's Sam McKewon compiled his Big Ten football power rankings.

* * *

1. Ohio State (10-0 overall, 7-0 in the Big Ten)

Last week: Beat Rutgers 56-21

This week: vs. Penn State, 11 a.m., Fox

The Buckeyes defense is terrific — even better with Chase Young coming back from a NCAA suspension — but Penn State’s well-conceived, big-play pass game will challenge OSU’s secondary.

2. Penn State (9-1, 6-1)

Last week: Beat Indiana 34-27

This week: at Ohio State, 11 a.m., Fox

A better win than the name of opponent (Indiana) would suggest. PSU has managed in three different home games — IU, Michigan and Pittsburgh, all good wins — to cobble together a series of well-timed plays to outscore a foe who outplays them.

3. Michigan (8-2, 5-2)

Last week: Beat Michigan State 44-10

This week: at Indiana, 2:30 p.m., ABC

A pleasing win for coach Jim Harbaugh, who stuck it to a rival who has dominated the series recently. UM’s chances of playing for the Big Ten title are virtually non-existent, of course. The winner of PSU-OSU will grab the East title.

4. Wisconsin (8-2, 5-2)

Last week: Beat Nebraska 37-21

This week: vs. Purdue, 3 p.m., Fox

That defense is looking a little creaky, having allowed at least 21 points in each of the past four games. But, hey, it’s the 11th straight eight-win season in Madison. Who wouldn’t take that? Ohio State doesn’t even have that.

5. Minnesota (9-1, 6-1)

Last week: Lost to Iowa 23-19

This week: at Northwestern, 11 a.m., ABC

The Gophers had managed to control every game this season from the jump — until Iowa. A late comeback wasn’t quite enough, and it’ll be interesting to see if quarterback Tanner Morgan plays this week against a Northwestern team that can be beaten by the Gophers’ backup.

6. Iowa (7-3, 4-3)

Last week: Beat Minnesota 23-19

This week: vs. Illinois, 11 a.m., BTN

The Hawkeyes have won two of their four rivalry games. Minnesota and Iowa State — the two teams Iowa beat — are their most bitter rivals, but Nebraska, should it ever turn the corner, would come on strong.

7. Indiana (7-3, 4-3)

Last week: Lost to Penn State 34-27

This week: vs. Michigan, 2:30 p.m., ABC

Peyton Ramsey’s 371 passing yards weren’t enough to beat Penn State. If Ramsey racks up 371 against Michigan, well, that’d be surprising.

8. Illinois (6-4, 4-3)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Iowa, 11 a.m., BTN

There’s nothing at stake in Iowa City in terms of the divisional titles, but if the Illini pull off a win here? Shoot, a New Year’s Day bowl isn’t out of the question.

9. Purdue (4-6, 3-4)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Wisconsin, 3 p.m., Fox

Puncher’s chance to beat the Badgers, but it’ll take an all-time performance from third-string quarterback Aidan O’Connell and maybe — if it’s possible — the return of Rondale Moore to the lineup.

10. Nebraska (4-6, 2-5)

Last week: Lost to Wisconsin 37-21

This week: at Maryland, 2:30 p.m., BTN

Don’t be stunned if the offense revs up significantly over the last two weeks of the season. NU coach Scott Frost wants some momentum headed into the offseason and running back Dedrick Mills appears to have the hang of the offense. Nebraska’s defense had better hang on, too.

11. Michigan State (4-6, 2-5)

Last week: Lost to Michigan 44-10

This week: at Rutgers, 11 a.m., BTN

Even if the Spartans have sort of quit on coach Mark Dantonio — a 34-point loss at Michigan suggests maybe so — they’re playing Rutgers. MSU’s D game will be enough to beat Rutgers.

12. Maryland (3-7, 1-6)

Last week: Bye

This week: vs. Nebraska, 2:30 p.m., BTN

Senior Day and bowl game time for the Terrapins. A win over Nebraska still means something, and for a Maryland that hasn’t won in awhile, it’d mean a lot. NU will get the Terrapins’ best shot.

13. Northwestern (2-8, 0-7)

Last week: Beat Massachusetts 45-6

This week: vs. Minnesota, 11 a.m., ABC

Easy win over the worst team in FBS. Next comes the Big Ten feel-good story of the season playing its second straight road game. The Wildcats may hang in this one.

14. Rutgers (2-8, 0-7)

Last week: Lost to Ohio State 56-21

This week: vs. Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., BTN

The Toby Flenderson of the Big Ten only has a few more games left before a reset to, most likely, old coach Greg Schiano, and the long, arduous rebuild from there.

Nebraska's first road game against every Big Ten team

Sign Up for Email Alerts

* I understand and agree that registration on or use of this site constitutes agreement to its user agreement and privacy policy.

Recommended for you

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.