Pete Pistone and the rest of the SiriusXM Big Ten Radio team will unveil Power Rankings each week of the college football season. Check out their Week 8 Power Rankings below, and start listening to SiriusXM Big Ten Radio (Ch. 372) on the SiriusXM app now.A wild weekend was a fitting way to end the regular 2020 Big Ten football season. While two of the conference’s most storied rivalry games were wiped out because of Covid, despite Ohio State-Michigan and Indiana-Purdue not being played, there was plenty of interesting football that did take place on the field.
Here’s how the SXM Big Ten Radio team voted to shape this week’s edition of the Power Rankings heading into Championship Weekend:
1. OHIO STATE (5-0)
The Buckeyes were winners despite not getting to set foot on the field. Though the game against Michigan was canceled due to the virus, Ohio State got a favorable ruling from the Big Ten, which lowered the minimum game threshold to five from the previously determined six games played, sending OSU to the conference championship to take on Northwestern.
NEXT: Northwestern/Saturday at 12pm ET
2. NORTHWESTERN (6-1)
The Wildcats were playing for two things Saturday against Illinois: state pride and not enduring any serious injuries. Mission accomplished. Northwestern handily beat the Fighting Illini 28-10 to take the Land of Lincoln trophy. Pat Fitzgerald’s team now prepares for a rematch of the 2018 conference championship game against Ohio State.
NEXT: Ohio State/Saturday at 12pm ET
3. INDIANA (6-1)
The Hoosiers got a double whammy last week when decision to put Ohio State into the championship game spun Indiana out of a chance for the title. To add insult to injury, their anticipated rivalry game against Purdue was also impacted by Covid. The two state rivals will tee it up during Championship Weekend.
NEXT: Purdue/Friday at 7:30pm ET
4. IOWA (6-2)
That 0-2 start for Iowa seems like a very long time ago after the Hawkeyes rolled to their sixth straight win and a 28-7 victory over Wisconsin. There could be a New Year’s Day 6 bowl in the team’s future if they can put one more win on the board this weekend against Michigan.
NEXT: Michigan/Saturday at 6pm ET
5. WISCONSIN (2-3)
The Badgers’ offense is on the side of a milk carton right now and has been missing since the first two games of the season — the team only scored in single digits for the third straight game last week in a stunning loss to Iowa, the first time that has happened to Wisconsin in three decades.
NEXT: Minnesota/Saturday at 4pm ET
6. PENN STATE (3-5)
There’s suddenly a three-game winning streak in Happy Valley thanks to Penn State’s 39-24 win over Michigan State last weekend. The return of offensive firepower has been one of the catalysts for the resurgence with Penn State averaging over 400 yards on that side of the ball over the last three games.
NEXT: Illinois/Saturday at 4:30pm ET
7. RUTGERS (3-5)
If you believe coaching doesn’t matter, please see Exhibit A: Rutgers and Greg Schiano. Coach Schiano’s return to Piscataway has to already be considered a success with the team’s third victory coming in overtime against Maryland. This team is playing light years better than anything remotely seen at Rutgers in the last several seasons.
NEXT: Nebraska/Friday at 4pm ET
8. MARYLAND (2-3)
It was a valiant effort for Maryland in the OT loss to Rutgers, but the Terrapins just did not have enough when it mattered most in the extra time. Joseph Petrino’s 50-yard field goal attempt was off-target, giving Mike Locksley’s team loss number three of the season.
NEXT: Michigan State/Saturday at 7:30pm ET
9. MICHIGAN STATE (2-5)
The Spartans’ offense finally started to click against Penn State, but the Nittany Lions were too much for Michigan State’s defense to contain in the 39-24 loss to PSU.
NEXT: Maryland/Saturday at 7:30pm ET
10. MINNESOTA (3-3)
The Golden Gophers continued to be ravaged by Covid and were without 33 players on their roster in last week’s game against Nebraska. Somehow PJ Fleck’s team found a way to beat the Huskers, led by running back Mohamed Ibrahim.
NEXT: Wisconsin/Saturday at 4pm ET
11. PURDUE (2-4)
The Old Oaken Bucket game against Indiana also didn’t happen as scheduled due to Covid, but Purdue now does get a shot at the Hoosiers this week for bragging rights and to end the disappointing campaign on a positive note through the Championship Weekend matchups.
NEXT: Indiana/Friday at 7:30pm ET
12. MICHIGAN (2-4)
Did they dodge a bullet in having “The Game” canceled last week? While it was gut wrenching for college football to have the streak of games played between Michigan and Ohio State snapped at 102 years, it’s also hard to believe the Wolverines would have been able to keep up with the Buckeyes.
NEXT: Iowa/Saturday at 6pm ET
13. NEBRASKA (2-5)
Nothing has gone right for Nebraska much (if at all) this season; the Cornhuskers will have a fourth straight losing season this year, guaranteeing a long, cold winter for the football program up in Lincoln.
NEXT: Rutgers/Friday at 4pm ET
14. ILLINOIS (2-5)
It doesn’t get much worse than losing a game to your in-state rival and then having your head coach get fired, but that sums up the week for Illinois with a 28-10 defeat to Northwestern, followed by Lovie Smith losing his job.
NEXT: PennState/Saturday at 4:30pm ET
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