Howe: Big Ten Football Power Rankings After Week 11

November 10, 2019

Written by Rob Howe

Hawkeye Nation

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Many outsiders predicted a sinking boat when Minnesota played host to Penn State on Saturday. Instead, the Golden Gophers continued rowing.

In a battle of unbeatens, No. 17 Minnesota dumped the 4th-ranked Nittany Lions, 31-26, in Minneapolis. It quieted talk about playing a soft schedule by nailing down a signature win against a blue blood.

The Gophers hold a two-game lead in the West Division with three games remaining. They play at Iowa and Northwestern the next two weeks before returning home for a matchup with second-place Wisconsin.

Despite the absence of menacing defensive end Chase Young, No. 1 Ohio State continued ripping through conference competition Saturday. The Buckeyes throttled visiting Maryland, 73-14.

The picture is clearing up with two thirds of the league season behind us. Here’s how the Big ten teams stack up for me after 11 weeks:

1. Ohio State – The Buckeyes could have beaten Maryland with their backups. They could do the same this week at Rutgers. Maybe Penn State or Michigan upends them in the final weeks, but that just seems unlikely. It’s hard to remember a team in this conference being so far ahead of the other league members.

2. Minnesota – The Gophers’ victory on Saturday wasn’t a fluke. We knew it was loaded at the skill positions, but we learned Tanner Morgan can do more than manage the game and that the offensive line is light years ahead of where it started the season. Now they are faced with overcoming an Iowa program that’s beaten them four times in a row and in six of the last seven meetings.

3. Penn State – The Nittany Lions were on course for a showdown at Ohio State in a few weeks. Instead, they tripped up against a West team. Seems appropriate after coach James Franklin chirped about the East’s superiority this summer and called for realignment. Karma is a bitch.

Continue reading below

Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

4. Wisconsin – The Badgers emerged victorious from the de facto elimination game with West rival Iowa Saturday. Running back Jonathan Taylor tore up the Hawkeyes as Wisconsin ran its win streak in the series to four.

5. Michigan – The Wolverines enjoyed a bye week after winning two games in a row and five of their last six. They play host to reeling Michigan State Saturday and then travel to Indiana. Navigate those two contests, and they can revive the season against Ohio State in the season finale.

6. Iowa – The Hawkeyes showed again that they can compete with some of the conference’s top teams. They just can’t knocked them off. They get another shot on Saturday when they play host to unbeaten Minnesota.

Continue reading below

7. Indiana – The surprising Hoosiers were on bye last week following a 7-2 start that included a 4-2 mark in the Big Ten. Now they travel to Penn State before playing host to Michigan. We’ll know a lot more about them after that.

8. Illinois – The Illini trailed 28-3 at Michigan State before pulling out a 37-34 victory. Illinois has won four in a row and has a week off before traveling to Iowa. It finishes up with a home game against Northwestern.

9. Michigan State – The Spartans have lost four games in a row. During those contests, they have yielded an average of 34.3 points.

10. Purdue – The Boilermakers kept their postseason hopes alive with a 24-22 win at Northwestern Saturday. They have a bye before visiting Wisconsin.

Continue reading below

11. Nebraska – The Huskers were on a bye after losing three in a row. They play host to Wisconsin Saturday. More heartache is likely on the way in Lincoln.

12. Northwestern – The Wildcats showed heart and a pulse on offense Saturday. In the end, it didn’t matter.

13. Maryland – The Terrapins have dropped five games in a row and been outscored 163-31 in the last three. Yikes.

14. Rutgers – The Scarlet Knights were on a bye week. Did anyone notice?

HawkeyeNation Archives View All >

Hawkeye Nation

Iowa Football Kicks Off ’20 Campaign at Purdue, Closes with Wisconsin

Rob Howe

September 19, 2020

Big Ten releases revised slate Saturday morning.

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Couldn’t Be Happier for Hawkeye Football Student-Athletes

Rob Howe

September 19, 2020

Hawkeyes given chance to show off hard work.

Hawkeye Nation

HN Video Feature: No Beer with Lucy Rohden (Ep. 3)

Lucy Rohden

September 18, 2020

In this week’s episode of “No Beer with Lucy Rohden,” Lucy takes us through why the Big Ten bringing back football is still like a break-up. Continue reading below Continue reading below Related In HawkeyeNation Forums

Hawkeye Nation

Kansas Defender Caden Crawford Discusses Hawkeye Offer

Rob Howe

September 18, 2020

Iowa Football extends scholarship opportunity to junior.

Hawkeye Nation

Alabama Receiver Jarel Williams Talks About Iowa Opportunity

Rob Howe

September 18, 2020

Hawkeyes offer scholarship to playmaker from the South.

Hawkeye Nation

Kirk Ferentz, Gary Barta Talk About Return of B1G Football

Rob Howe

September 17, 2020

Iowa coach, athletic director meet with media on Thursday.

Hawkeye Nation

Forest Evashevski, Hayden Fry Pave Road to Success for Iowa Football

Rick Brown

September 17, 2020

Hawkeye coaching legends raised program to great heights.

Hawkeye Nation

Howe: Time Was Exactly What the Big Ten Needed for Fall Football

Rob Howe

September 16, 2020

A month can mean a lot when dealing with a novel coronavirus.

TOP