Would you go Ohio State or Michigan at No. 1? No matter what, the Big Ten’s rankings must start with one of those two.
But what about after that? Then it gets interesting in ESPN’s and the Big Ten Network’s new Big Ten power rankings. The difference is whether you value an unbeaten record (Nebraska) or schedule strength (Wisconsin) when deciding the Big Ten’s No. 3 team.
Here’s ESPN’s Josh Moyer:
We couldn’t in good conscience drop the Badgers from No. 3, as they’ve lost only two close games to a pair of top-five opponents. Wisconsin coach Paul Chryst has proved this team can compete with anyone. The Badgers could still meet Michigan or Ohio State again in the Big Ten title game.
There are some questions after those two as well, with Penn State, Northwestern and even Iowa making strong cases to be the conference’s fifth-best team.
Then there’s Michigan State. The Spartans are shockingly all the way down to No. 11 after another loss, this time to surging Northwestern. Just weeks ago, Michigan State was ranked in the Top 10 nationally.
Ohio State: No. 1 ESPN/No. 1 Big Ten Network
Michigan: No. 2/No. 2
Wisconsin: No. 3/No. 4
Nebraska: No. 4/No. 3
Penn State: No. 5/No. 7
Northwestern: No. 6/No. 5
Iowa: No. 7/No. 6
Indiana: No. 8/No. 9
Minnesota: No. 9/No. 8
Maryland: No. 10/No. 10
Michigan State: No. 11/No. 11
Purdue: No. 12/No. 12
Illinois: No. 13/No. 13
Rutgers: No. 14/No. 14
As always, we’ll get some clarity thanks to on-field results. We’ll know just how much Penn State needs to be taken seriously when the Nittany Lions play at home against Ohio State with Saturday night’s game.
Then, Oct. 29, Nebraska travels to Wisconsin.