Big Ten Power Rankings: Does anyone want to win this thing?

Rob Oller
Buckeye Xtra

1. Ohio State (4-0): Buckeyes coaches have been busy teaching their players how to twiddle thumbs in the midst of a pandemic. (Last week: 1)

2. Indiana (5-1): Tom Allen’s locker room speeches are something to behold, as is the Hoosiers’ potent passing game. How much does Michael Penix Jr.'s season-ending injury affect the latter? (LW: 2)

3. Iowa (4-2): The Hawkeyes’ resurgence — four straight wins — is like the pleasant aroma of a festive holiday candle that has everyone asking, “Where is that coming from?” (LW: 5)

4. Northwestern (5-1): The Wildcats had everything in front of them, including a straight shot to the championship game, until Michigan State lined up in front of them. (LW: 3)

Northwestern and quarterback Peyton Ramsey (12) still have the inside track to representing the West Division in the Big Ten championship, but a loss at Michigan State on Saturday blunted the enthusiasm for the Wildcats.

5. Wisconsin (2-1): Maybe a winter/spring season would have worked out better for the Badgers, who now have missed three games due to COVID-19? (LW: 4)

6. Maryland (2-2): Name-calling the Terrapins the Terriblepins for being a Big Ten joke has gone out of vogue. The wisecracks now are aimed at Michigan. (LW: 6)

7. Rutgers (2-4): Coach Greg Schiano has done a phenomenal job turning the Scarlet Knights from punchline into having a puncher’s chance. (LW: 11)

8. Michigan State (2-3): Beat rival Michigan and take down undefeated Northwestern, but lose badly to Iowa and Rutgers. That’s Sparty in a nutshell. (LW: 13)

9. Minnesota (2-3): The Golden Gophers continue to deal with virus issues, including wide receiver Rashod Bateman opting out of a season that has opted out of normalcy. (LW: 8)

10. Illinois: (2-3): Look at the bright side of escaping Ohio State because of a virus outbreak that canceled the game: At least the Illini can say they did not lose to the Buckeyes. (LW: 9)

11. Purdue (2-3): The Boilermakers blew a 10-point third-quarter lead in losing to Rutgers, which means the black and gold will have their hands full with Nebraska. (LW: 7) 

12. Nebraska (1-4): Turn the “N” on the Cornhuskers helmet sideways and it becomes a “Z,” as in Zzzz, this team has fallen asleep on the job. (LW: 12)

13. Penn State (1-4): Beating Michigan used to be a big deal. Now all it means is no longer being forced to live in the basement. (LW: 14)

14. Michigan (2-4): The maize and blue “M” flag has been replaced by a white one. The Wolverines are in full surrender mode after losing to previously winless Penn State. (LW: 10).

roller@dispatch.com

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