Week 8 Big Ten Football Power Rankings

What an intriguing weekend it was for the Big Ten Conference as conference play continued to commence. We have seen teams continue establishing themselves as front runners for their divisions and those in for a strict rest of the season.

Moving on to this weekend, both divisions have important matchups that will help determine who wins that division down the road. Those matchups include a face-off of two juggernauts in the East, with No. 7 Penn State traveling to No. 3 Ohio State for Big Noon Kickoff.

That said, here are the Week Eight Big Ten Power Rankings.

Big Ten Football Power Rankings for Week 8

14. Indiana Hoosiers

Record: 2-4 (0-3)

Last Week: Michigan 7-52

This Week: Rutgers 

The Indiana Hoosiers are coming off a brutal 7-52 loss to the Michigan Wolverines, which was expected to say the least. To start against the Wolverines, the Hoosiers did well, not allowing a Michigan score in the first quarter and even having the lead heading into the second quarter. That didn’t last long as Michigan went on and put up 52 unanswered.

This Indiana team is in need of a reset, but they have a very competitive Rutgers team coming to the town before the Hoosiers have to travel to State College to take on Penn State. The upcoming road for Indiana doesn’t get easier, but the Hoosiers need to stay competitive, and they will get a couple of wins at some point.

13. Purdue Boilermakers

Record: 2-5 (1-3)

Last Week: Ohio State 7-41

This Week: BYE

It has been a rough start for the Ryan Walters era in West Lafayette. Purdue had a rough showing against the Buckeyes last Saturday, having their worst statistical performance of the season. The Boilermakers have lost their final four of five, and the season doesn’t get any easier.

Luckily for Purdue, the bye week couldn’t come at a better time as after the break, they traveled to Lincoln to take on Nebraska and then No. 2 Michigan. They’ll look to get healthier and get a much-needed reset before the grueling five-game stretch to end the season.

12. Michigan State Spartans

Record: 2-4 (0-3)

Last Week: Rutgers 24-27

This Week: No. 2 Michigan

This Michigan State football team has been through a lot already this season. With new leadership at the head coach position, the Spartans have shown glimpses of a breakthrough but have yet to catch up multiple times.

Like Indiana, the Spartans have a tough road ahead as they host the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines this weekend. They also have No. 3 Ohio State and No. 7 Penn State still on the schedule, which they play next month. Like the Hoosiers, if Michigan State can stay competitive these next few games, they can sneak out a few wins.

11. Illinois Fighting Illini

Record: 3-4 (1-3)

Last Week: Maryland 27-24

This Week: Wisconsin

Illinois picked up their first conference win of the year last week, pulling off an upset against Maryland on the road. Despite that, this season has been disappointing for the Illini compared to the previous season, where they competed for the Big Ten West title. A big part of last year’s success came from great defensive play, which has yet to be prevalent this season.

Illinois allows 398.4 yards a game on defense, but they still have a chance to compete for the division. It will be challenging, however, as they have Wisconsin at home this weekend before having their bye week. If the Illini can win over the Badgers this weekend, they still have time to get back into the division title race.

10. Northwestern Wildcats

Record: 3-3 (1-2)

Last Week: BYE

This Week: @ Nebraska

The Northwestern Wildcats have had a surprising start to the season, being .500 halfway through the season. After the events during this offseason, there were thoughts that the Wildcats were in for a long season. It all started when Northwestern came back and beat Minnesota in overtime. However, they lost to No. 7 Penn State before winning Howard by three before the bye.

Going off the bye week, the Wildcats have a tough road ahead, starting with a road matchup against the Huskers before hosting the Terrapins to close out October. Northwestern has a chance to make at least a bowl game, but they have a long road ahead, needing many things to go their way.

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers

Record: 3-3 (1-2)

Last Week: BYE

This Week: Northwestern 

Year one of the Matt Rhule era has been a roller coaster through Nebraska’s first half of the season. The Huskers started 0-2 before winning two in a row before getting routed by No. 2 Michigan. Nebraska entered the bye after a massive road victory over Illinois for the first time since 2019.

With Heinrich Haarberg now the starter, the Huskers have a favorable final six-game stretch to end the season. Nebraska gets Northwestern at home this weekend before the Purdue Boilermakers come to Lincoln to end October. If things go right, the Huskers can get to a bowl game and even compete for a divisional title at the end of the season.

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers

Record: 3-3 (1-2)

Last Week: BYE

This Week: @ No. 24 Iowa

Minnesota has had a mediocre start to the season, being .500 through the first half. The Gophers started conference play with a win over Nebraska in Week One, but since then, Minnesota has yet to win another conference game.

Before the bye, the Gophers got blown out by No. 2 Michigan 10-52, and the road doesn’t get easier as they close out October against No. 24 Iowa on the road. Then Minnesota hosts Michigan State to end the month.

7. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Record: 5-2 (2-2)

Last Week: Michigan State 27-24

This Week: @ Indiana

Rutgers have been the most surprising team so far in the Big Ten. The Scarlet Knights are coming off a massive 18-point comeback victory over Michigan State. After their matchup against Indiana on the road, they have a rough three-week stretch against three ranked teams. If they get the win over Indiana, Rutgers can get to bowl eligibility, which will be a testament to where head coach Greg Schiano has rebuilt this team.

6. Maryland Terrapins

Record: 5-2 (2-2)

Last Week: Illinois 24-27

This Week: BYE

Maryland started the season 5-0, and a big part of their success has come from their offense. However, their undefeated streak ended against No. 3 Ohio State. Then, they continued heading in the wrong direction with a loss to Illinois. The bye week is an excellent time for the Terrapins as it allows them to regroup and get healthier before the final five-week stretch and help them get to a decent bowl game.

5. Wisconsin Badgers

Record: 4-2

Last Week: Iowa 6-15

This Week: @ Illinois

There was a lot of hype going into the season for new head coach Luke Fickell and what he was bringing to Madison. So far, Wisconsin has had a decent start despite a loss to Washington State on the road. They would win three straight in a big Big Ten West matchup against Iowa.

The Hawkeye defense shut down the Badgers’ offense, winning 15-6 over Wisconsin. Now, the Badgers continue conference play against Illinois on the road before hosting No. 3 Ohio State to close October.

4. No. 24 Iowa Hawkeyes

Record: 6-1 (3-1)

Last Week: Wisconsin 15-6

This Week: Minnesota

The Iowa Hawkeyes are now the front runners for the Big Ten West after their win over the Wisconsin Badgers last weekend. The Hawkeyes’ offense has been lackluster, but their defense and special teams have kept this team ahead in every game they’ve played. Ironically, in any game that Iowa has scored points, they have won. (Their only loss came against No. 7 Penn State 31-0.)

The Hawkeyes have a very favorable schedule as they finish off October against Minnesota this weekend before their bye week. The question is, can their defense keep them ahead for the rest of the season?

3. No. 7 Penn State Nittany Lions

Record: 6-0 (3-0)

Last Week: UMASS 63-0

This Week: @ No. 3 Ohio State

Penn State has been phenomenal so far, starting the season undefeated. They have a couple of great wins over No. 24 Iowa and Illinois and last week, putting up 63 points against UMASS. Now they have a tough stretch, starting with No. 3 Ohio State. It will be interesting to see how well sophomore quarterback Drew Allar will play against a talented Buckeye defense. For now, the Nittany Lions will stay under the top two teams in the conference.

2. No. 3 Ohio State Buckeyes

Record: 6-0 (3-0)

Last Week: Purdue 41-7

This Week: No. 7 Penn State

Let’s say the Ohio State Buckeyes are getting hot right now. It all started with their gritty win over the ninth-ranked Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind. They would follow up the win with an impressive win over Maryland after a slow start.

Last week, the Buckeyes rolled through Purdue quickly with a 41-7 win over them. After being tested in the previous few weeks, they get the seventh-ranked Penn State Nittany Lions home on Saturday. The question will be, can Kyle McCord and the Ohio State offense get going early against Penn State? Regardless, this game against the Nittany Lions has significant College Football Playoff implications.

1. No. 2 Michigan Wolverines

Record: 7-0 (4-0)

Last Week: Indiana 52-7

This Week: @ Michigan State

As every week goes by, the No. 2 Michigan Wolverines are improving and getting stronger. The Wolverines have scored 52 points back-to-back weeks and look to continue that this week for the Paul Bunyan Trophy against Michigan State.

Michigan will continue to be the team to beat as the season progresses. They will be tough to beat, especially with how efficient J.J. McCarthy and the Wolverines’ offense are. Michigan also has the No. 1 scoring defense in the country. The Wolverines will look to continue their hot streak to make another run at the National Championship.

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