Big Ten History
Iowa was 7-0 going into their Saturday afternoon matchup with Maryland in Iowa City. Ohio State and Michigan State were both 8-0 and had bye weeks. When the clock expired and Iowa walked off their home field with a 31-15 win, the Hawkeyes joined Ohio State and Michigan State as the third Big Ten team to start the season 8-0, a feat that hadn't been accomplished in 112 years.
Big Ten East
There wasn't much cause for excitement in the Big Ten East last week. Both Ohio State and Michigan State were on bye weeks. Rutgers and Maryland both beaten, Michigan escaped from Minnesota with a goal-line stand and Penn State crushed Illinois at home.
1) #1 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0)
The Buckeyes were off and still managed to make their way into the news. J.T. Barrett was pulled over, arrested and cited with a misdemeanor charge of operating a vehicle while being intoxicated. He is suspended for this week's game against Minnesota, meaning that Cardale Jones will return to the starting quarterback role. Ohio State shouldn't have trouble taking care of Minnesota this week. The most interesting thing to watch is what Urban Meyer will do with Barrett once he returns from his suspension.
Up Next: Minnesota (4-4, 1-3) at home
2) #6 Michigan State (8-0, 4-0)
The Spartans are still undefeated and will head to Lincoln to face a Nebraska team that suffered one of their worst losses of the year last week against Purdue. Considering how many ugly losses the Cornhuskers have had this season, that's saying something. Michigan State should win this one by at least a couple of scores.
Up Next: at Nebraska (3-6, 1-4)
3) #16 Michigan (6-2, 3-1)
The Wolverines almost went down on the final play of regulation for the second time in as many games but they stood up the Minnesota offensive line at the goal line and stuffed the Golden Gophers' quarterback sneak attempt as time expired.
A road loss to Minnesota would have been discouraging. Instead, Michigan gets the win and gets the opportunity to pummel Rutgers at home. Why am I so confident that Michigan is going to win big? The Scarlet Knights have lost their last two games to Ohio State and Wisconsin by a combined 80 points.
Up Next: Rutgers (3-5, 1-4) at home
4) Penn State (7-2, 4-1)
Christian Hackenberg is growing up right in front of our eyes. He was incredibly efficient. He was 21-29 for 266 yards and two touchdown passes and even CAUGHT a touchdown pass. He looks confident and James Franklin's blood pressure appears to be dropping with each passing week.
The Nittany Lions head to Evanston this week. Northwestern had the bye week to prepare so this game should be interesting.
Up Next: at Northwestern (6-2, 2-2)
5) Rutgers (3-5, 1-4)
Rutgers has been pounded the last two weeks but they have a Big Ten win. That is more than either of the two teams below them in the Big Ten East rankings.
Unfortunately for the Scarlet Knights, they head to the Big House this week. They will probably leave with a big loss.
Up Next: at #16 Michigan (6-2, 3-1)
6) Indiana (4-4, 0-4)
The Hoosiers have not played well but they have four wins to Maryland's two and have been competitive at times in conference play.
Undefeated Iowa comes to town this week.
Up Next: #10 Iowa (8-0, 4-0) at home
7) Maryland (2-6, 0-4)
Maryland is tied with Purdue for the fewest wins in the conference with two. The problem? One of Purdue's wins is a Big Ten win. Maryland doesn't have any of those.
Maryland is dead last in the country in turnovers, turnover margin and interceptions. That explains a lot.
Maryland has a pretty good run defense. They'll need it against a Wisconsin team that just got star running back Corey Clement back last week.
Up Next: Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1) at home
Big Ten West
That Nebraska-Purdue game was something. Mike Riley is doing the near-impossible in Lincoln by making Nebraska fans long for Bo Pelini. This kind of losing won't be tolerated. If nine wins a year from Pelini wouldn't cut it, how much longer does Riley have?
1) #10 Iowa (8-0, 4-0)
The Hawkeyes continue to roll. The game wasn't pretty but they forced turnovers like they always do. They ran the ball pretty well like they always do. They have won every game this season and don't have a ranked opponent left on their schedule. Iowa looks like they will be the Big Ten West champs barring a collapse down the stretch.
Up Next: at Indiana (4-4, 0-4)
2) Wisconsin (7-2, 4-1)
Corey Clement looked fantastic in his return, carrying 11 times for 115 yards and three touchdowns. Maryland has a good run defense but the Badgers should wear down the Terps this week in College Park.
Up Next: at Maryland (2-6, 0-4)
3) Northwestern (6-2, 2-2)
The Wildcats had the bye week to rest and prepare for Penn State. Christian Hackenberg seems to be hitting his stride for the Nittany Lions. Can Northwestern throw him off his game, and score enough to win against a Penn State defense that ranks in the top-20 in scoring defense and total defense and leads the nation in sacks?
Up Next: Penn State (7-2, 4-1) at home
4) Minnesota (4-4, 1-3)
The Golden Gophers showed a lot of heart in the face of Jerry Kill's abrupt retirement. Should they have kicked the chip shot field goal and taken their chances at home in overtime? I liked the call to go for the win but the execution wasn't good.
How will they respond? Will they show the same kind of fight for the last four games of the season or will the emotional toll cause them to fold? Unfortunately, the Golden Gophers have to start that four game stretch against the top-ranked Buckeyes on the road.
Up Next: at #1 Ohio State (8-0, 4-0)
5) Illinois (4-4, 1-3)
Illinois got shelled in State College. Wes Lunt completed less than half of his 36 passes for just 129 yards and a pick. The team lost 36 yards on sacks. Their rushing numbers look like this. 27 carries. 37 yards. Illinois simply can't run the ball and it looks like they can't throw it well either.
Can they regroup and avoid losing to Purdue for the second straight year?
Up Next: at Purdue (2-6, 1-3)
6) Purdue (2-6, 1-3)
BTN.com's Tom Dienhart said that Purdue's home win over Nebraska was their first Big Ten home win since 2012. Wow. The Boilermakers put up 55 points last week in their win against Nebraska. Wow.
Purdue only won two games against FBS opponents last season. One of those wins was against Illinois in Champagne. Can the Boilermakers win their second Big Ten game in a row?
Illinois is struggling mightily on offense. Quarterback David Blough is a play-maker, pure and simple. I think Purdue wins this game.
Up Next: Illinois (4-4, 1-3) at home
7) Nebraska (3-6, 1-4)
Another phenomenal nugget that Dienhart unearthed was that no Nebraska football coach had ever lost six games going into November. EVER. IN THE HISTORY OF NEBRASKA FOOTBALL. Now, first year head coach Mike Riley has etched his name into Nebraska football history in the worst way possible.
Undefeated Michigan State comes to town this week, looking to make a statement that will push them back into the top-five in the country.
Up Next: #6 Michigan State (8-0, 4-0)