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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