Wisconsin

Wisconsin has been impressive this season, but they aren't yet No. 1 in Sam McKewon's Big Ten rankings.

The World-Herald's Sam McKewon compiled his Big Ten football power rankings, published in The World-Herald on Oct. 16.

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1. Ohio St. (6-0, 3-0)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Northwestern, 7:30 p.m., FS1

The Buckeyes remain my No. 1 for sheer excellence of play.

2. Wisconsin (6-0, 3-0)

Last week: Beat Michigan St. 38-0

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

The Badgers’ defense is epic. It has also faced a glut of awful, pro-style offenses for which Wisconsin’s defense is perfectly suited for.

3. Penn St. (6-0, 3-0)

Last week: Beat Iowa 17-12

This week: vs. Michigan, 6:30 p.m., ABC

The Nittany Lions’ run defense held Iowa to 70 yards. That’s impressive. Penn State’s offense seems to wilt against good defenses — it did against Iowa — so Michigan will be a challenge.

4. Michigan (5-1, 3-1)

Last week: Beat Illinois 42-25

This week: at Penn State, 6:30 p.m., ABC

The Wolverines went to sleep for the third and half of the fourth quarters, watching a 28-0 lead evaporate to 28-25. Michigan woke up late, though, and had two running backs over 100 yards.

5. Iowa (4-2, 1-2)

Last week: Lost to Penn State 17-12

This week: vs. Purdue, 11 a.m., ESPN2

Against Power Five teams, Iowa is averaging 15.8 points per game. That includes a 30-0 win over Rutgers.

6. Minnesota (6-0, 3-0)

Last week: Beat Nebraska 34-7

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

Coach P.J. Fleck could use his team’s offensive performance against Nebraska as teaching tape. Simple plays, great execution.

7. Michigan State (4-3, 2-2)

Last week: Lost to Wisconsin 38-0

This week: Bye

I should have known better than to think Michigan State could hang in Madison on a second straight road game one week after playing Ohio State. The Huskers did that Wisconsin/Ohio twinbill in 2016 and 2017. It’s hard to survive.

8. Indiana (4-2, 1-2)

Last week: Beat Rutgers 35-0

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

Along with Michigan State and Minnesota, Indiana has a rusher over 400 yards (Stevie Scott III) and a receiver over 500 yards (Whop Philyor).

9. Nebraska (4-3,2-2)

Last week: Lost to Minnesota 34-7

This week: Bye

I think you’ll see a different team in two weeks. Coach Scott Frost isn’t going to let what seemed like a good week of practice fool him again. Nebraska looked out of it on defense in Minneapolis.

10. Northwestern (1-4, 0-3)

Last week: Bye

This week: at Ohio State, 6:30 p.m., FS1

Even if Northwestern got better in the bye week, will it show up against the best team in the league?

11. Purdue (2-4, 1-2)

Last week: Beat Maryland 40-14

This week: at Iowa, 11 a.m., ESPN2

The Boilermakers have upset the Hawkeyes the past two years. Quarterback Jack Plummer topped 400 yards passing for the first time in his career last week.

12. Maryland (3-3, 1-2)

Last week: Lost to Purdue 40-14

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

Tyrrell Pigrome is apparently the quarterback. Good runner — serious deficiencies throwing. 

13. Illinois (2-4, 0-3)

Last week: Lost to Michigan 42-25

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

You can see traces of what Lovie Smith is trying to accomplish at Illinois, but they are fleeting.

14. Rutgers (1-5, 0-4)

Last week: Lost at Indiana 35-0

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

Toby Flenderson threw 13 passes — completing five — for a single yard. 

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