The World-Herald's Sam McKewon compiled his Big Ten football power rankings, published in The World-Herald on Oct. 9.
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1. Ohio State (6-0 overall, 3-0 Big Ten)
Last week: Beat Michigan State 34-10
This week: Bye
The Buckeyes rushed for 323 yards on an MSU defense that hadn’t allowed 323 rushing yards combined in its five previous games. Ohio State’s offense is special, folks.
2. Wisconsin (5-0, 2-0)
Last week: Beat Kent State 48-0
This week: vs. Michigan State, 2:30 p.m., BTN
The Badgers didn’t give up a point in three nonconference games. Barry Alvarez had a habit of scheduling cupcakes. Good to see the tradition is alive and well in Madison.
3. Penn State (5-0, 2-0)
Last week: Beat Purdue 35-7
This week: at Iowa, 6:30 p.m., ABC
PSU’s next four games: at Iowa, Michigan, at Michigan State, at Minnesota. We’ll learn plenty about a team that has yet to venture three hours from home.
4. Michigan (4-1, 2-1)
Last week: Beat Iowa 10-3
This week: at Illinois, 11 a.m., ABC
The Wolverines’ third-down conversion rate — 36.51% — is fourth-worst in the Big Ten, but UM has allowed opponents only 12 trips to the red zone.
5. Iowa (4-1, 1-1)
Last week: Lost to Michigan 10-3
This week: vs. Penn State, 6:30 p.m., ABC
The Hawkeyes gained a big, fat yard of rushing against Michigan — which did not have an elite rushing defense going into the game.
6. Michigan State (4-2, 2-1)
Last week: Lost to Ohio State 34-10
This week: at Wisconsin, 2:30 p.m., BTN
The Spartans are not equipped to beat this version of Ohio State. They are very equipped to win a low-scoring game at Wisconsin. MSU’s season may hinge on beating the Badgers in Madison.
7. Minnesota (5-0, 2-0)
Last week: Beat Illinois 40-17
This week: vs. Nebraska, 6:30 p.m., FS1
The Gophers will have a massive, festive crowd for the Husker game. Expect a full house.
8. Nebraska (4-2, 2-1)
Last week: Beat Northwestern 13-10
This week: at Minnesota, 6:30 p.m., FS1
Ugly counts. In some ways, it was Nebraska’s prettiest win in some time. The Huskers leaned on their strengths, managed their weaknesses and made plays in the final minute — offense, defense, special teams — when it mattered.
9. Indiana (3-2, 0-2)
Last week: Bye
This week: vs. Rutgers, 11 a.m., BTN
The Hoosiers get a second bye week in a row!
10. Northwestern (1-4, 0-3)
Last week: Lost to Nebraska 13-10
This week: Bye
Northwestern gets a second bye week early in the season, and probably needs it. The offense is getting a little better, but not nearly fast enough to run with Ohio State in two weeks.
11. Maryland (3-2, 1-1)
Last week: Beat Rutgers 48-7
This week: at Purdue, 11 a.m., BTN
Massive game for the Terrapins’ bowl chances. Can the hot-and-cold game of Josh Jackson stabilize in West Lafayette?
12. Illinois (2-3, 0-2)
Last week: Lost to Minnesota 40-17
This week: vs. Michigan, 11 a.m., ABC
Awful loss for the Illini in every way, giving up 332 rushing yards and racking up 80 penalty yards. Backup quarterback Matt Robinson — playing in place of injured Brandon Peters — wasn’t bad, but he wasn’t very dynamic.
13. Purdue (1-4, 0-2)
Last week: Lost to Penn State 35-7
This week: vs. Maryland, 11 a.m., BTN
This is close to a lost season for the Boilermakers if they can’t beat Maryland. Their defense — giving up 33 points per game and 6.2 yards per play — is a major disappointment.
14. Rutgers (1-4, 0-3)
Last week: Lost at Maryland 48-7
This week: at Indiana, 11 a.m., BTN
Oh, it’s going to get ugly now. Really ugly. When Toby Flenderson went to Costa Rica and ended up in traction for six weeks? Ugly like that. This is now the worst team in the Power Five conferences.