The Big Ten coaching fraternity took a hit on Sunday afternoon as Maryland's athletic director Kevin Anderson announced that Terrapin head coach Randy Edsall was being relieved of his coaching duties. His offensive coordinator Mike Locksley will take over as the interim head coach until the end of the season.
There were some nail-biters this week and I have adjusted our rankings accordingly.
Big Ten East
The Buckeyes exerted their dominance late over Maryland after it was knotted at 21 apiece. Michigan State had to fight for a late win against Rutgers. Michigan dominated previously unbeaten Northwestern at home. Penn State looked much better against Indiana than they did against Army.
1) #1 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0)
This is the Buckeye team we've been waiting to see on offense. Definitely not the one we expected to see on defense at home against a Maryland team that had scored six points in their last two games. Maryland put up 28 points on Ohio State. The big plays will have to be addressed. Offensively though, Ezekiel Elliott had a very good game and so did Braxton Miller and J.T. Barrett. Using Barrett for situational running worked wonders for the Buckeyes.
Penn State has won five in a row and they head to "The Shoe" this week. Will the Buckeyes be able to slow down the Penn State ground attack? Ezekiel Elliott should be able to find the holes but this Penn State defense is fantastic at getting into the backfield.
Up Next: Penn State (5-1, 2-0) at home
2) #12 Michigan (5-1, 2-0)
I'm going to jump the Wolverines over the undefeated and seventh-ranked Spartans because of Michigan's demolition of previously unbeaten Northwestern on Saturday. The Wolverines pitched their third consecutive shutout and blew out the Wildcats 38-0.
No FBS school has had three consecutive shutouts since Kansas State pulled it off in 1995 and no Michigan squad has done that since 1980. This defense is historically great. Jim Harbaugh is getting the most out of his team and the Wolverines look like they are getting better each and every week.
It's time to see whether they can flip the script against the "little brother turned big brother" in undefeated and seventh-ranked Michigan State. Connor Cook is one of the nation's best quarterbacks but the Wolverines get the Spartans at home.
Up Next: #7 Michigan State (6-0, 2-0) at home
3) #7 Michigan State (6-0, 2-0)
The Spartans gave up three touchdowns through the air to Leonte Carroo and beat Rutgers after driving and scoring a last-minute touchdown to go ahead. Then this happened.
ICYMI: Here's how the wild @MSU_Football at @RFootball game just ended. http://t.co/53KsFDAYu8— Big Ten Network (@BigTenNetwork) October 11, 2015
I can feel my mind going numb just watching it again. Sparty has now beaten the likes of Purdue and Rutgers by a combined ten points. Not exactly confidence inspiring performances. They will have to do better if they want to have any hope of beating rival Michigan in "The Big House" this week.
Up Next: at #12 Michigan (5-1, 2-0)
4) Penn State
The Nittany Lions keep playing home games and keep getting wins. Christian Hackenberg actually looked like a very serviceable quarterback. He not only threw for 262 yards and two scores but also ran for two touchdowns as well. The defense dominated Indiana and new Hoosier starting quarterback Zander Diamont.
Can Penn State replicate their success on the road against the top-ranked Ohio State Buckeyes?
Up Next: at #1 Ohio State (6-0, 2-0)
5) Indiana (4-2, 0-2)
Indiana didn't turn their moral victory against Ohio State into an actual victory in State College. They looked pretty bad on offense without their starting quarterback and running back. They couldn't stop Penn State's running game even though the Nittany Lions were without the services of Saquon Barkley. They get Rutgers this week and it looks like Rutgers is tougher than expected.
Up Next: Rutgers (2-3, 0-2) at home
6) Rutgers (2-3, 0-2)
The Scarlet Knights were close to pulling off an upset against Michigan State but they got ground down late in the game and then Chris Laviano spiked the ball on fourth down as Rutgers was driving to try and tie the game.
It is a hard loss to stomach but the positive is that Leonte Carroo is still fantastic and head coach Kyle Flood will be back from his suspension this week.
Up Next: at Indiana (4-2, 0-2)
7) Maryland (2-4, 0-2)
The funny thing about Maryland and Rutgers (and technically Illinois) is that they both have interim head coaches at the moment. The reason that Maryland is at the bottom of the Big Ten East rankings is that Rutgers' head coach will actually be coming back.
Randy Edsall was fired on Sunday and at least Rutgers has the head coach that they started the season with. Maryland showed improvement on offense against Ohio State but definitely didn't on defense. They got blown out for the third consecutive game and fourth time this season. All of Maryland's losses have come by three touchdowns or more.
Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson decided to make the change this week because the team has a bye week this week and then has Penn State in Baltimore the week after that.
Up Next: Bye
Big Ten West
1) #17 Iowa (6-0, 2-0)
The Hawkeyes are still undefeated and have now beaten Wisconsin and Illinois in Big Ten play. Iowa and Northwestern look like the teams to beat in the Big Ten West. Jordan Canzeri had a throwback performance circa 1950, carrying the ball a school-record 43 times for 256 yards and a touchdown. That performance was good enough for the third most rushing yards ever in a game at Iowa. He also had a receiving touchdown in the game.
The biggest test of their season comes this week as they take on a ferocious Northwestern defense that is looking to atone for their blowout loss against Michigan.
Up Next: at #20 Northwestern (5-1, 1-1)
2) #20 Northwestern (5-1, 1-1)
Michigan delivered a wake-up call to the Wildcats on Saturday in the form of a 38-0 blowout. This defense is much better than that and they will have to be if Northwestern wants to position themselves as the team to beat in the Big Ten West. They take on undefeated Iowa at home this week. The winner will probably represent the division in Indy.
Up Next: #17 Iowa (6-0, 2-0) at home
3) Illinois (4-2, 1-1)
They played Iowa close and have a win against Nebraska. They can still be competitive and Bill Cubit seems to be one heck of a find for Illinois as an interim head coach. The Beckman firing did not impact this program the way that I thought it would and Cubit has a lot to do with that.
Illinois has a bye week before hosting the Wisconsin Badgers.
Up Next: Bye
4) Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1)
It took a last-second field goal for the Badgers to pull out the win in Lincoln but they did it. They are just the latest team to drive a stake through the hearts of the Husker faithful.
Joel Stave played better but this team still needs help on the offensive line. Luckily for them, they get the struggling Boilermakers who just got blown out at home by Minnesota last week.
Up Next: Purdue (1-5, 0-2) at home
5) Minnesota (4-2, 1-1)
BTN's fantastic Tom Dienhart reported that Minnesota was missing 11 players from their two-deep roster going into their game on the road against Purdue. They had just been shutout the week before at Northwestern. They went to West Lafayette and won 41-13. Wow.
The Golden Gophers get a cursed Nebraska team at home. If they keep winning, they can stay in the Big Ten West race.
Up Next: Nebraska (2-4, 0-2) at home
6) Nebraska (2-4, 0-2)
This tweet says it all.
Warning: Look away Nebraska fans. pic.twitter.com/Xia3pOB6tf— Brent Yarina (@BTNBrentYarina) October 11, 2015
Up Next: at Minnesota (4-2, 1-1)
7) Purdue (1-5, 0-2)
I'm not sure how Purdue looked tough against Michigan State and then looked absolutely weak against a depleted Minnesota squad just a week later. They found a way. I don't anticipate them doing well this week in Camp Randall.
Up Next: at Wisconsin (4-2, 1-1)