Oct 19, 2013; Evanston, IL, USA; A Northwestern Wildcats fan watches during the second half against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at Ryan Field. The Minnesota Golden Gophers defeated the Northwestern Wildcats 20-17. Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Power Rankings After Week Eight

1. Ohio State (7-0, 3-0) – 33 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)

Ricky: Yes, the Buckeyes were able to win their 19th straight game on Saturday, but it wasn’t easy. The Hawkeyes gave OSU a run for their money and it could have some people outside the Big Ten questioning their BCS Title hopes. The Buckeyes needed a blowout win over Iowa in order to claim a top 3 spot in the first BCS Rankings, but are stuck at #4 after BIG wins for #3 Oregon and #2 FSU.

2. Wisconsin (5-2, 3-1) – 29 points (LW: 2)

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowksi-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan (2nd): The Badgers brought their band to Memorial Stadium this past weekend, and Illini fans were treated to the Wisconsin school song ad nauseam as the scoreboard changed like a pinball machine before finally landing on total of 56 points. Wisconsin lost star linebacker Chris Borland to injury in the first quarter, and the defense surrendered 32 points to the Illini, but the rushing game led the Badgers to victory behind an unstoppable 289 yard performance.

3. Michigan State (6-1, 3-0) – 26 points (LW: 4)

Ricky (4th): It was the defense that lifted the Spartans over Purdue on Saturday in the team’s 14-0 victory. MSU was able to pass for 112 yards and run for 182 yards, but could only score 14 point against possibly the worst team in the conference. It’s true that Michigan State got the win, but their offense will need to step up if they want to keep winning.

4. Nebraska (5-1, 2-0) – 24 points (LW: 3)

Ryan (3rd): The Huskers were idle this week, but that didn’t stop them from debuting in the first edition of the BCS standings, checking in at #24. They also broke in to the AP Top 25 at #25. Nebraska is currently 10th in the nation in both rushing offense (284.8 ypg) and scoring (42.7 ppg). The Huskers (5-1, 2-0) travel to TCF Bank Stadium to challenge the Gophers (5-2, 1-2) this Saturday.

5. Michigan (6-1, 2-1) – 23 points (LW: 5)

Ricky (3rd): Devin Gardner and Jeremy Gallon had record breaking performances in the Wolverines’ win over Indiana. Gardner set school records with 584 yards of offense and 503 yards passing while matching another record with five touchdowns. As for Gallon, he had a Big Ten-record 369 yards receiving and two touchdowns. However, the Michigan defense was SO bad that the Hoosiers almost won the game anyways. Michigan now heads into a bye week with their instate rival MSU waiting for them on the other side.

6. Penn State (4-2, 1-1) – 18 points (LW: T7)

Ricky (6th): The Nittany Lions enjoy a nice bye week after their four overtime victory over Michigan two weeks ago. Now, PSU will get ready for a match-up against #5 OSU in Columbus. Yes, it is true that the Nittany Lions have struggled this season, but so did the Buckeyes this week against Iowa. This primetime game could be just what PSU needs to get their season back on track.

T7. Minnesota (5-2, 1-2) – 12 points (LW: 11)

Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan (8th): The Gophers pulled the upset of the day in the B1G this past Saturday as they went into Ryan Field and dealt the suddenly reeling Northwestern Wildcats a 20-17 defeat. It was a total team effort from Minnesota as they registered an offensive TD, a defensive TD, and 2 special teams field goals. They also forced Northwestern to turn the ball over 3 times in the contest. In all, it was a well earned team win for a Gopher squad that is still playing its games without its Head Coach.

T7. Iowa (4-3, 1-2) – 12 points (LW: T7)

Ricky (10th): Even though they lost the game, I was still amazed at how close the Hawkeyes were able to stick with the Buckeyes on Saturday in Columbus. I thought that OSU was going to begin their “pull away” in the third quarter with a Devin Smith TD catch, but Iowa was able to answer right away with an 85 yard TD catch by Jake Duzey.

If the Hawkeyes were able to compete with OSU this past week, there should be no reason why they cannot compete with Northwestern this weekend or even beat the 0-3 Wildcats.

9. Indiana (3-4, 1-2) – 10 points (LW: 9)

Ryan (10th): As bad as it seemed watching Illinois give up 56 points to Wisconsin, it had to feel even worse for Indiana fans as the Hoosiers allowed 63 points, and 751 total yards of offense (503 pass / 248 rush) in their loss to Michigan. At this point, the matchup between Illinois and Indiana on November 9th in Bloomington may be a case of whoever has the ball last wins.

10. Northwestern (4-3, 0-3) – 8 points (LW: 6)

Ricky (9th): Since the team’s loss to Ohio State, Northwestern has been on what seems to be a complete downward spiral. They’ve lost three straight Big Ten games and need to get a win soon in order to save their season. Things aren’t going to get easier for the Wildcats as they have an Iowa team up next that was able to hang with the Buckeyes in Columbus and then NW will play games against Nebraska and Michigan. This season for Northwestern could be going from bad to worse.

11. Illinois (3-3, 0-2) – 3 points (LW: 10)

Ryan (11th): The Illini finally got a chance to showcase their potent offensive attack in a prime time game at Memorial Stadium, but a quick Wisconsin 21-0 1st quarter start took most of the air out of the stadium. A late first half rally saw the Illini down 28-17 at the half, and the vast majority of the fans on hand stuck around to see if Illinois could complete the improbable comeback bid. However, in the end the Badgers proved to be too much, and the Illini took a 56-32 loss. The most positive takeaway from this game is that Illinois scored 32 points against the #6 defense in the country. Those 32 points are the most scored by any of Wisconsin’s opponents in a single game so far this season.

12. Purdue (1-6, 0-3) – 0 points (LW: 12)

Ryan (12th): The Boilermakers 3-4 front may finally be settling in as they allowed only 7 points on the road in East Lansing this past weekend. Funny thing is, those 7 points came on a trick play when an MSU WR tossed a 5 yard TD pass. For as well as the defense played, offensively it was an exercise in futility. Purdue gave up 5 sacks and the offense only posted 226 total yards on 10 total drives in the contest. They turned the ball over twice (1 INT / 1 Fumble), and they also missed 2 field goal attempts that would’ve had the score sitting at 7-6 until the aforementioned late trick play TD pass.

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.

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