Big Ten Football Power Rankings After Week 9

We're heading towards the home stretch of the Big Ten Football conference slate, which means the rivalry games and marquee matchups will be heating up as the temperature drops. Heading into the final handful of weeks in the regular season, it's time to assess where we are and where we're going with our 

14. Maryland Terrapins (2-6, 0-4)

The Maryland Terrapins have lost five in a row, giving up 184 points during that span (36.8 ppg). They've gone from trendy bowl pick to Big Ten bottom feeder over the span of five weeks, and things aren't getting better.

13. Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-6, 1-4)

This may feel like a reactionary ranking, but Nebraska simply looked AWFUL for the first three quarters against a Purdue team that shouldn't even be hanging with them. Bowl eligibility is a near impossibility right now.

12. Purdue Boilermakers (2-6, 1-3)

Things are finally looking up in West Lafayette, at least for a week. The Boilermakers have another winnable home game against Illinois next week before a tough road swing against Northwestern and Iowa.

11. Indiana Hoosiers (4-4, 0-4)

The Hoosiers have flushed a 4-0 start down the tubes with four straight losses in conference play. They haven't proven themselves capable of matching their play to the step up in competition.

10. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-5, 1-4)

Rutgers has been outscored 97-17 over the past two weeks. Their only saving grace right now is their 55-52 shootout win over Indiana a couple weeks ago. Not the most impressive, but it still helps them crack the top ten.

9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-4, 1-3)

Minnesota's past week has been a rough one, watching Jerry Kill retire due to health issues before losing an emotional nail-biter at home against Michigan.

8. Illinois Fighting Illini (4-4, 1-3)

Illinois has lost three straight after what looked like a season-turning win over Nebraska. If they continue to struggle mightily in the ground game, they'll go spirialing off the bowl eligibility charts before long.

7. Northwestern Wildcats (6-2, 2-2)

Northwestern put two awful weeks behind them in a 30-28 win over Nebraska before their bye. Now it's up to them to keep the momentum in a pivotal home matchup against Penn State.

6. Penn State Nittany Lions (7-2, 4-1)

Penn State has won seven of their last eight games, with their only loss during the stretch coming at Ohio State. If they somehown can win out against a tough trio of Northwestern, Michigan and Michigan State, they should be ticketed for a New Year's Six bowl game. That's a big if.

5. Wisconsin Badgers (7-2, 4-1)

Wisconsin got RB Corey Clement back from injury this past week, and his 115 yards and three touchdowns are a reminder of just why he was a Heisman shortlister before going down. The Badgers are a different team with him around.

4. Michigan Wolverines (6-2, 3-1)

The Wolverines escaped Minnesota by the skin of their teeth this past week, but they remain the one non-undefeated Big Ten team with the best shot of reaching a New Year's Six game.

3. Iowa Hawkeyes (8-0, 4-0)

Iowa's remaining schedule makes a 12-0 record heading into the Big Ten title game a distinct possibility. A College Football Playoff appearance is well withing reach.

2. Michigan State Spartans (8-0, 4-0)

Michigan State doesn't make it look pretty, but they're still undefeated and as dangerous as anyone with Connor Cook under center.

1. Ohio State Buckeyes (8-0, 4-0)

JT Barrett's arrest and one-game suspension grabbed all the headline during OSU's bye week, but his absence shouldn't matter much with a home date against Minnesota on the docket.

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Related Topics: Jerry Kill, Corey Clement, Big Ten Football News, JT Barrett, Big Ten Football Power Rankings