14. Rutgers (1-6)
Last Week: 42-7 Loss vs. Minnesota
This Week: vs. Liberty (Noon on BTN)
Another week, another Rutgers loss. They scheduled Liberty in the middle of the year in hopes of getting one more win. We will see if they can pull it off.
13. Northwestern (1-5)
Last Week: 52-3 Loss vs. Ohio State
This Week: vs. Iowa (Noon on ESPN 2)
OK, I officially feel bad for Northwestern. Not only are the Wildcats 1-5 but they have had absolutely no breaks. Their extremely rigorous schedule has not been very forgiving. Buckle up, this one may get worse before it gets better.
12. Purdue (2-5)
Last Week: 26-20 Loss @ Iowa
This Week: vs. Illinois (Noon on BTN)
Purdue impressed many with the way it competed with Iowa but at the end of the day, a loss is, very much, still a loss. Jeff Brohm seems to be getting ready to turn things around again. We will see if he can finish the job.
10. Maryland (3-4)
Last Week: 34-28 Loss to Indiana
This Week: @ Minnesota (3:30 p.m. on ESPN)
Well, Maryland really needed a win against Indiana to get back to being the competitive program that they would like to be this season. However, a close loss there will not help them inch any closer to a bowl. This week, it gets even tougher. A road game in Minnesota won’t be easy on the Turtle.
10. Illinois (3-4)
Last Week: 24-23 Win vs. Wisconsin
This Week: @ Purdue (Noon on BTN)
Illinois scored the biggest upset of the year out of absolutely nowhere. Seriously, who was guessing that one? A win against Wisconsin gives the Illini a huge bump in polls and gives Lovie Smith and the Illini hope for what may be a bowl season.
9. Nebraska (4-3)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: vs. Indiana (3:30 pm on BTN)
Nebraska has had such a high and low year and frankly has been rather unimpressive in Scott Frost’s second year with the program. This week against Indiana should be rather telling for both squads as to where each other are at.
8. Indiana (5-2)
Last Week: 34-28 Win @ Maryland
This Week: at Nebraska (3:30 p.m. on BTN)
It wasn’t Indiana’s prettiest win, but, by golly, a win is a win, and Indiana found a way to get it done in Maryland this past week. The Hoosiers have arguably their biggest road game of the year at Nebraska this week and a win there could make the Hoosiers a legitimate team in the Big Ten East.
7. Michigan State (4-3)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: vs. Penn State (3:30 p.m. on ABC)
I would say that Michigan State easily has one of the toughest schedules in the Big Ten with no easy wins or convenient bye weeks. However, coming off a bye week may make Sparty more ready for this upcoming matchup against the Nittany Lions. Penn State and Ohio State are due for an upset. Could it happen in East Lansing?
6. Minnesota (7-0)
Last Week: 42-7 WIN vs. Rutgers
This Week: vs. Maryland (3:30 p.m. on ESPN)
OK, I was not buying the Minnesota hype, but now, I can’t get enough of it. This was a team that could barely beat Georgia Southern in the beginning of the year. Their confidence has only grown and so has their play level. This week, the Gophers will face off against a struggling Maryland squad as they attempt to go 8-0.
5. Iowa (5-2)
Last Week: 26-20 win against
This Week: @ Northwestern (Noon on ESPN2)
Iowa stands at 5-2 and is in its yearly “are they over-ranked or under-ranked?” situation. In order to feel good going the rest of the way, Iowa needs to rack up a ton of wins. That starts with this week against Northwestern. Wildcats are already struggling to a point of no return so it should be an easy win for the Hawkeyes.
4. Michigan (5-2)
Last Week: 28-21 Loss @ Penn State
This Week: vs. Notre Dame (7:30 p.m. on ABC)
Michigan couldn’t beat Penn State but did do a solid job of competing with Penn State. However, the Wolverines will return to the Big House this week for a matchup against a strong Notre Dame squad. Now I’m by no means implying that Michigan will upset the Irish but Brian Kelly might be the one coach worse than Jim Harbaugh at playing ranked opponents. I fully expect this to be one of the best games of the week and I wouldn’t be surprised if the Wolverines were able to pull off the upset.
3. Wisconsin (6-1)
Last Week: 24-23 loss @ Illinois
This Week: @ Ohio State (Noon on FOX)
Man. That one is going to stink for the Badgers for a long time. That was such a winnable game and the Badgers could not escape with a win. Their season is by no means a wash. Wisconsin can still prove itself to be one of the best four teams in the nation but that would require wins against Minnesota, Ohio State, and possibly Penn State. It is a tall order, but by no means too much to ask for.
2. Penn State (7-0)
Last Week: 28-21 win vs. Michigan
This Week: @ Michigan State (3:30 p.m. on ABC)
This week could hold a major upset in East Lansing. Michigan State is coming off fresh from a bye week and desperately needs a win to turn their season back around and they match up extremely well with that of Penn State. The toughest stretch of the season for James Franklin comes in the next four weeks as he will be playing against four opponents who are most likely going bowling this season and two of whom are ranked. I doubt they get out of it undefeated but it isn’t totally out of the question.
1. Ohio State (7-0)
Last Week: 52-3 Win @ Northwestern
This Week: vs. Wisconsin (Noon on FOX)
Not much explaining needed here. Ohio State is a team of men playing amongst boys and it is showing up every week on scoreboards across the Big Ten. This week poses the Buckeyes’ biggest threat yet against a Wisconsin team that is going to be hungry coming off its first loss of the year. This has the potential to be the best matchup of the year.