1) Ohio State (9-0, 5-0) – 33 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)
Ryan: The Buckeyes had the week off to prepare for their trip to Illinois, which they undoubtedly spent deciding just how many points they want to score and how many rushing yards they want Carlos Hyde and Co. to register when they visit Champaign-Urbana. They also got some good news with regards to their National Title chances when Stanford knocked off Oregon. Ohio State is still probably going to be on the outside looking in when it comes to the National Title game, but if either Alabama, or Florida State, falters down the stretch, the Buckeyes should be waiting in the wings with an undefeated record ready to wrestle away one of the two championship game spots.
2) Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) – 30 points (LW: 3)
Ricky (2nd): The Badgers had a rare but nice break to the Big Ten conference grind after playing the BYU Cougars. Now, they get ready to face off with an Indiana squad that is coming off of a big win over a bad Illini squad. Expect Wisconsin is come out swinging and they will put the Hoosiers back in their place.
3) Michigan State (8-1, 5-0) – 27 points (LW: 2)
Ricky (3rd): If you told me during the preseason that Sparty was going to be 1st in the Big Ten – Legends with three games left, I’d call you crazy and then hype up the Nebraska Cornhuskers. Oh wait!
Aren’t the Spartans playing those Cornhuskers this weekend? In Lincoln? Michigan State might be coming off of a bye after beating their in-state rival Michigan, but this will be a tough test overall. Nebraska struggled early with Taylor Martinez at the helm and they look better and different with Tommy Armstrong Jr. chucking the ball each game.
4) Minnesota (8-2, 4-2) – 23 points (LW: 4)
Ryan (4th): These Gophers are a different breed. They have turned their season around after reeling off 4 straight Big Ten wins following back to back losses to open Big Ten play. Minnesota currently sits at 8-2 (4-2 in the B1G), and have an extra week to prepare for their matchup with heavy hitter Wisconsin. They already have a win in hand against the Huskers, and will finish their schedule up by playing Legends leader Michigan State in East Lansing on November 30th. If everything breaks correctly over the next 3 weeks, the Gophers could find themselves as the surprising Legends Division representative in the Big Ten Title game.
5) Nebraska (7-2, 4-1) – 22 points (LW: 5)
Ryan (5th): The Huskers carried the positive momentum from the Ron Kellogg III-to-Jordan Westerkamp Hail Mary at the end of the Northwestern game into Ann Arbor and took care of business while downing the Wolverines 17-13 behind another strong performance from Ameer Abdullah (27 carries, 105 yards, 1 Rush TD/1 Receiving TD). The Huskers have a gargantuan match up this weekend when they host Michigan State, and if they win they will be in clear control of representing the Legends Division in the Big Ten Title game.
6) Iowa (6-4, 3-3) – 17 points (LW: T7)
Ricky (6th): The Iowa Hawkeyes are that one team in the Big Ten that want to be good so badly, but just lose the big games. The team played closely with OSU in a loss, but then got blown out by the Wisconsin Badgers a few weeks later. They beat Northwestern, but I think even Purdue or Illinois can beat the Wildcats this season. I believe the Hawkeyes are a good team and they need to prove it starting next week with a win over the Michigan Wolverines.
7) Michigan (6-3, 2-3) – 15 points (LW: 6)
Ricky (7th): Are the wheeling falling off for the Wolverines? Michigan is now riding a two game losing streak after losing to both Michigan State and Nebraska. Anything can happen in the Big Ten, but the Wolverines should have a “pick me up” game this week against the Northwester Wildcats. Yes, the Wildcats are 0-5 in conference this season, however, they have a very successful head coach. If Michigan losses this week against Northwestern, then the wheel will be officially fallen off of the Wolverines this season.
8) Indiana (4-5, 2-3) – 12 points (LW: 9)
Ryan (9th): The Hoosiers ran into some resistance from the Illini this past weekend, but ultimately ended up holding serve at home by putting the Illini away in the 4th quarter. Tevin Coleman became the latest back to add his name to the list of rushers that have gained 200+ rushing yards against Illinois in a single game. Cody Latimer also continued his emergence as one of the best wide receivers in the Big Ten with an 11 catch, 189 yard, 3 TD performance against the young Illini secondary. Despite their convincing win, Indiana doesn’t get to move up because they are still a defense away from being taken seriously by the upper crust of the conference.
9) Penn State (5-4, 2-3) – 10 points (LW: T7)
Ricky (9th): The Nittany Lions are an interception away from being 0-3 in their past three games. The team lost this past week against the B1G shocker in 2013 and that is the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Penn State, just like Michigan, should have a VERY winnable game this week against the Purdue Boilermakers. It would be hard to predict the Boilermakers as winners over PSU, and because of that the Nittany Lions get back to even in the Big Ten at 3-3.
10) Northwestern (4-5, 0-5) – 6 points (LW: 10)
Ricky (10th): If you are a Northwestern fan or player, you are now in a three game season. Coming out of a bye, the Wildcats will face off against the Michigan Wolverines. Not only do they have to play Michigan, but they also need to play the #16 Michigan State Spartans. I said it last week and I’ll say it again. There is a good chance that Northwestern and Illinois will face off in Champaign with both battling for their first conference win in 2013.
11) Illinois (3-6, 0-5) – 3 points (LW: 11)
Ryan (11th): The Illini played a highly entertaining offensive game in Bloomington this past weekend, but the end result was the same as they took yet another Big Ten loss under Tim Beckman pushing their league worst losing streak to 19 games. At this point it seems highly likely that defensive coordinator Tim Banks is going to be sacrificed to the football gods at some point in the near future because his defense is allowing 200 yard rushing performances week in and week out, and the points allowed are coming in waves too. In their 5 Big Ten losses, the Illinois defense has given up 39, 56, 42, 24, and 52 points. Will an Ohio State team looking to move up the BCS food chain eclipse all of those totals this weekend? At this point, betting otherwise would be foolhardy.
12 Purdue (1-8, 0-5) – 0 points (LW: 12)
Ryan (12th): Another week, another loss for the Boilermakers. Purdue hung with the visiting Hawkeyes until there was 1:57 left in the 2ndquarter. From that point forward the Iowa offense reeled off 31 unanswered points before Purdue finally answered with :51 seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter. There is a reason you can find tickets on stubhub for the Illinois / Purdue game for as low as .40 cents. The Boilermakers are awful, and despite hanging with Iowa for the majority of the first half, things don’t appear to be getting any better any time soon.
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, Purdue Boilermakers, Wisconsin Badgers