1. Ohio State (6-0, 2-0) – 44 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)
Ryan: The Buckeyes are the class of the conference, and they have also made their mark nationally, sporting the nations longest current winning streak (18). Offensively, OSU is 10th in the nation rushing the football at a 280.7 ypg clip. They are also 6th in the nation in scoring at 46.8 ppg. Defensively, they have the #15 Total Defense in the nation at 326.2 ypg, and the #24 Scoring Defense at 19.2 ppg.
2. Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1) – 37 points (LW: 4)
Ryan (2nd): The Badgers asserted themselves this past weekend when they smashed Northwestern 35-6 despite turning the ball over 3 times. Their rush game was back in full effect with both Melvin Gordon (172) and James White (101) breaking the 100 yard mark. Not to be outdone, the Badger D completely bottled up Northwestern’s rush game (44 yards). They more than earned the move up to the #2 spot this week.
3. Nebraska (5-1, 2-0) – 34 points (LW: 5)
Ryan (4th): The Huskers went into Ross-Ade Stadium and took care of business, posting a 44-7 throttling of the hapless Boilermakers despite Tommy Armstrong, Jr. throwing 3 interceptions and defensive stalwart Stanley Jean-Baptiste being ejected in the 2nd quarter for targeting on a tackle. Regardless, this one wasn’t even close, and the Blackshirts came within 39 seconds of posting a shutout on the road.
4. Michigan State (5-1, 2-0) – 31 points (LW: 6)
Ricky (4th): Since losing to a ranked Notre Dame team two weeks ago, the Spartans have seemed to found their groove and are 2-0 in Big Ten play. After wins over the Hawkeyes and Hoosiers, MSU looks to go 3-0 in conference this week against Purdue. Anything can happen, but one can expect the Spartans to be 3-0 in the Big Ten by this time next week.
5. Michigan (5-1, 1-1) – 30 points (LW: 3)
Ryan (3rd): The Wolverines played a classic 4OT contest this past weekend against Penn St. and nearly pulled off the W on 2 separate occasions down the stretch. Winning on the road in the Big Ten isn’t easy, and they found it out for themselves this past weekend.
6. Northwestern (4-2, 0-2) – 25 points (LW: 2)
Ryan (5th): The Wildcats were coming off a solid performance against Ohio St a week ago, but they simply didn’t have what it took to deal with a focused Badger bunch in hostile Camp Randall Stadium. They were completely shut down, and registered only 2 field goals this past weekend while also surrendering 7 sacks. This is a very good football team, but just like Michigan, the Wildcats found out winning on the road in the Big Ten is a difficult task.
T7. Penn State (4-2, 1-1) – 17 points (LW: 9)
Ricky (7th): After starting off conference play with a shocking defeat to Indiana, the Nittany Lions got on the right track against #18 Michigan this past weekend. In a game that took four overtimes to complete, it was a gutsy call by PSU coach Bill O’Brien on a 4th and 1. Penn State was able to convert and get into the endzone three plays later for the victory. This is just the thing PSU was looking for as the team enters a bye week with a tough OSU team on the horizon.
T7. Iowa (4-2, 1-1) – 17 points (LW: 7)
Ricky (10th): After their bye week, the Hawkeyes will gear up for their match-up with the Ohio State Buckeyes this weekend. Since their opening week loss to NIU, the Hawkeyes rattled off four straight wins before their loss to MSU on October 5th. With a 4-2 overall record and a 1-1 Big Ten record, Iowa will face their toughest conference opponent of the season on Saturday.
9. Indiana (3-3, 1-1) – 15 points (LW: 8)
Ricky (9th): The Hoosiers went into East Lansing, Michigan last weekend and left with a loss to the Spartans. Indy gave up over 40 points for the third time this season (all losses). The team will be back in the state of Michigan this weekend for a match-up with the Wolverines at the Big House. After Michigan upset loss to PSU last weekend, the Hoosiers will need to be on the top of their game if they want to win. Michigan will be out for vengeance following their upset loss.
10. Illinois (3-2, 0-1) – 8 points (LW: 10)
Ryan (11th): Hang on Illini fans. The Badgers are coming to town for a prime time matchup this Saturday. The Illini have already announced they are going to wear all orange, and want to see an orange-out from the fans. If they want any chance of winning this game they are going to have to shut down the high powered Badger run game which is much easier said than done.
11. Minnesota (4-2, 0-2) – 6 points (LW: 11)
Ricky (11th): Even though they had a bye week this week, the Golden Gophers suffered a huge loss to their football team. Minnesota will be without their head coach Jerry Kill for some time as he will focus on treatment for his Epilepsy. With a Northwestern team that has lost two straight conference games, defensive coordinator Tracy Claeys will serve as the acting head coach while Kill is away. It will be interesting to see how the team plays while Kill is away.
12. Purdue (1-5, 0-2) – 0 points (LW: 12)
Ricky (12th): It should be no surprise that the Boilermakers are last in the rankings for yet another week. After losing to the Cornhuskers 44-7, Purdue is 0-2 in conference play. The season is still young, but things are not looking good for the Boilermakers in 2013. They will search for their first conference win this weekend in East Lansing against Michigan State.
The Writing Illini Big Ten power rankings are a collection of votes from our staff. Commentary is provided by Lead Editor Ricky Widmer and Co-Editor Ryan Kraemer.
Topics: Big Ten, Football, Illinois Fighting Illini, Indiana Hoosiers, Iowa Hawkeyes, Michigan State Spartans, Michigan Wolverines, Minnesota Golden Gophers, Nebraska Cornhuskers, Northwestern Wildcats, Ohio State Buckeyes, Penn State Nittany Lions, Power Rankings, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers