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Big Ten Power Rankings (Week 8): Welcome Back to the Top, Ohio State

There's a huge seismic shift in the top five spots of our Big Ten Power Rankings in Week 8 after former No. 1 Iowa was upset at home by Purdue. We've got a new No. 1 now, and its a familiar face in our weekly rankings. Welcome back, Ohio State.
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Let's say a big hearty ''welcome back'' to the Ohio State Buckeyes, who have returned to the top spot in my Big Ten Power Rankings for Week 8. The Buckeyes, our preseason No. 1, fell out of top spot after an early loss to Oregon, but jumped back in during a bye week because former No. 1 Iowa got upset at home by Purdue.

The top five still distance themselves from the rest of the league, and there's been a lot of shuffling in that top group because of the Iowa loss. The order now is sure to stir some debate.

We've got four teams on a bye this week, Iowa, Michigan State, Nebraska and Rutgers. 

Here are the Big Ten power rankings as we head into Week 8 action, with last week's result, records, game time and TV information, point spreads, ranking and nuggets to know about each team:

1. Ohio State Buckeyes *** Last Week: 2

  • Last game: Ohio State 66, Maryland 17 on Oct. 9 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Records: 5-1 overall, 3-0 in Big Ten
  • This week: Ohio State at Indiana (2-4, 0-3 in Big Ten), 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
  • TV: ABC
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Ohio State is a 21-point favorite over Indiana as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 59.5. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 5 in both the AP and Coaches polls, up one spot from a week ago. No. 3 in Sagarin ratings.
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 1
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 1/3
  • The skinny: Ohio State moves back up to No. 1, even on a bye week, after the Iowa loss. The Buckeyes' offense is humming, and even though the level of competition has been very low the last month, they definitely pass the eye test in regards to looking like the league's best team. Sure, there are two unbeaten teams behind them, but they really don't have any quality wins either. It's all going to sort itself out on the field in the next few weeks anyway. Looking forward to see how Ohio State plays off the bye week at Indiana on Saturday night.

2. Michigan Wolverines *** Last Week: 4

  • Last game: Michigan 32, Nebraska 29 on Oct. 9 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
  • Records: 6-0 overall, 3-0 in Big Ten
  • This week: Northwestern (3-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) at Michigan, on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich,
  • TV: FOX
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Michigan is a 23.5-point favorite as of Friday morning on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 51.
  • National rankings: No. 6 in both the AP and Coaches poll, up two spots in the AP poll. No. 6 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 7
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 2/7
  • The skinny: Michigan wobbles into the No. 2 spot, and I don't even really feel comfortable putting them there. No huge signature win yet, but they are at least winning games that they've been giving away the past few years. We're a week away from the in-state showdown with Michigan State, and that will tell us a lot.

3. Michigan State Spartans *** Last Week: 5

  • Last game: Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 on Oct. 16 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
  • Records: 7-0 overall, 4-0 in Big Ten
  • This week: Bye week
  • Next game: Michigan at Michigan State, Time TBA, on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Spartan Stadium in East Lansing, Mich.
  • TV: TBA
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: TBA
  • National rankings: No. 9 in the AP poll and No. 7 in the Coaches poll, up one spot in the AP poll. No. 27 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 13
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 3/13
  • The skinny: Michigan State is 7-0 now after escaping Bloomington with a victory. The Spartans weren't impressive at all, but they took advantage of three Indiana turnovers to come away with a win. I still really don't know how good this team is, either. Indiana shut down Kenneth Walker pretty well, so he'll be a guy to watch against Michigan after the bye.

4. Iowa Hawkeyes *** Last Week: 1

  • Last game: Purdue 24, Iowa 7 on Oct. 16 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Records: 6-1 overall, 3-1 in Big Ten
  • This week: Bye week
  • Next game: Iowa at Wisconsin, Noon ET on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
  • TV: ESPN
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: TBA
  • National rankings: No. 11 in both the AP and Coaches polls, down nine spots after their loss at home to previously unranked Purdue. No. 8 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 5
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 1/5
  • The skinny: The Hawkeyes have been so impressive all year, but they laid a huge egg on Saturday, losing to Purdue 24-7. The Boilermakers have their number, that's for sure. Iowa's offense was brutal, scoring only seven points, and I didn't get the game plan defensively either, letting David Bell (240 yards receiving) run free like he did. This is a good time for a bye week, because there is some serious self-evaluating to do. 

5. Penn State Nittany Lions *** Last Week: 3

  • Last game: Iowa 23, Penn State 20 on Oct. 9 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Records: 5-1 overall, 2-1 in Big Ten
  • This week: Illinois (2-5, 1-3 in Big Ten) at No. 7 Penn State, Noon ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
  • TV: ABC
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Penn State is a 23.5-point favorite over Illinois as of Friday morning on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 45.5.
  • National rankings: No. 7 in the AP poll and No. 8 in the Coaches poll, No. 7 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 4
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 1/5
  • The skinny: Let me admit right away that this is unfair, ranking the Nittany Lions fifth because I won't feel wrong having them at No. 2. But the Iowa loss did happen, and then Purdue validated the drop by proving that you can win at Kinnick. What Penn State proved in that game is that they aren't the same team at all without Sean Clifford at quarterback. He's back to practice after getting injured in the Iowa game, and they need him healthy to get through their back-loaded schedule. I'd bet my last dollar that Penn State isn't No. 5 in my final poll this year. They'll be higher — maybe even much higher — for sure, as long as Clifford is good to go.

6. Minnesota Golden Gophers *** Last Week: 10

  • Last game: Minnesota 30, Nebraska 23 on Oct. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Records: 4-2 overall, 2-1 in Big Ten
  • Last week: Bye week
  • This week: Maryland (4-2, 1-2 in Big Ten) at Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • TV: ESPN2
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Minnesota is a 5-point favorite over Maryland as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 54.5. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 31 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 8
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 6/12
  • The skinny: Minnesota at No. 6 might be a real reach, considering there's a loss to Bowling Green on its resume. But they've beaten Purdue and Nebraska back-to-back now, and they're doing some good things. They should beat Maryland this week, and suddenly 5-2 sounds pretty darn good. I had them at No. 7 until the last minute, and I let the head-to-head win over Purdue win out.

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7. Purdue Boilermakers *** Last Week: 11

  • Last game: Purdue 24, Iowa 7 on Oct. 16 at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa.
  • Records: 4-2 overall, 2-1 in Big Ten
  • Last week: Bye week
  • Next game: Wisconsin (3-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) at Purdue, 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind.
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Wisconsin is a 3.5-point favorite over Purdue as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 40. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 25 in the Associated Press poll, its first ranking of the season. They are receiving votes in the Coaches poll and would be ranked No. 34. No. 30 in Sagarin ratings, jumping 36 computer spots in a week.
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 10
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 7/11
  • The skinny: Purdue had the best win all year by an unranked opponent, knocking off national No. 2 Iowa in Kinnick Stadium last Saturday. Boy, Jeff Brohm sure has Kirk Ferentz's number. That Purdue defense was sensational, and David Bell just might be the best player in the Big Ten. And now here comes a very beatable Wisconsin team. This is a huge weekend for Purdue in making a chase to contend in the Big Ten West. And Greg Long? Thank you for the best picture of the year. 
Purdue offensive lineman Greg Long pours a can of Bud Light over his face after an Iowa fan tossed the beer onto the field during the Boilermakers' upset of the Hawkeyes on Oct. 16. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register-USA TODAY Sports)

Purdue offensive lineman Greg Long pours a can of Bud Light over his face after an Iowa fan tossed the beer onto the field during the Boilermakers' upset of the Hawkeyes on Oct. 16. (Bryon Houlgrave/The Register-USA TODAY Sports)

8. Wisconsin Badgers *** Last Week: 8

  • Last game: Wisconsin 20, Army 14 on Oct. 16 at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis.
  • Records: 3-3 overall, 1-2 in Big Ten
  • Next game: Wisconsin at Purdue (4-2, 2-1 in Big Ten), 3 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Ross-Ade Stadium in West Lafayette, Ind. 
  • TV: Big Ten Network
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Wisconsin is a 3.5-point favorite over Purdue as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 40. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 25 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 3
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 3/9
  • The skinny: The Badgers still don't look good, but everyone else behind them is even worse. They have Purdue and Iowa the next two weeks, and that's going to tell us a lot about this Badgers team. Can they put something together? I'm still not sold on this offense, and they'll have their hands full during this two-game stretch.

9. Nebraska Cornhuskers *** Last Week: 6

  • Last game: Minnesota 30, Nebraska 23 on Oct. 16 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • Records: 3-5 overall, 1-4 in Big Ten
  • This week: Bye week
  • Next game: Purdue at Nebraska, 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Memorial Stadium in Lincoln, Neb.
  • TV: ESPN2
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: TBA
  • National rankings: No. 39 in Sagarin ratings.
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 9
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 6/14
  • The skinny: Nebraska keeps playing well enough to win but not getting it done down the stretch. Rinse, repeat, right? There's a good reason why this Nebraska fan base is so frustrated, because it seems like the Cornhuskers are right there every week. This should be a good evaluation period during this bye week, and maybe they can fix their last few issues.

10. Maryland Terrapins *** Last Week: 9

  • Last game: Ohio State 66, Maryland 17 on Oct. 9 at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
  • Records: 4-2 overall, 1-2 in Big Ten
  • This week: Maryland at Minnesota (4-2, 2-1 in Big Ten), 3:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis, Minn.
  • TV: ESPN2
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Minnesota is a 5-point favorite over Maryland as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 54.5. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 71 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 11
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 6/11
  • The skinny: Maryland needed a break after getting blasted by Iowa and Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. They have Minnesota and Indiana the next two weeks, and the Terps really need some wins before a rough November schedule rolls around. 

11. Indiana Hoosiers *** Last Week: 7

  • Last game: Michigan State 20, Indiana 15 on Oct. 16 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
  • Records: 2-4 overall, 0-3 in Big Ten
  • This week: Ohio State (5-1, 3-0 in Big Ten) at Indiana, 7:30 p.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Memorial Stadium in Bloomington, Ind.
  • TV: ABC
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Ohio State is a 21-point favorite over Indiana as of Friday on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 59.5. CLICK HERE
  • National rankings: No. 53 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 2
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 2/11
  • The skinny: Indiana's defense was terrific against Michigan State, holding them to half of their season average in points and yardage. But once again, turnovers and red zone failures continue to haunt the most disappointing team in the Big Ten this year. Even a change at quarterback didn't help, with Jack Tuttle replacing the injured Michael Penix Jr. Tuttle had two interceptions, including a pick-six, plus lost a fumble on a strip sack. Indiana has to play a clean game this week against Ohio State to have any chance at all.

12. Northwestern Wildcats *** Last Week: 13

  • Last game: Northwestern 21, Rutgers 7 on Oct. 16 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
  • Records: 3-3 overall, 1-2 in Big Ten
  • This week: Northwestern (3-3, 1-2 in Big Ten) at Michigan, on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor, Mich,
  • TV: FOX
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Michigan is a 23.5-point favorite as of Friday morning on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 51.
  • National rankings: No. 75 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 6
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 6/13
  • The skinny: Northwestern really did a great job of fixing things defensively during its bye week, and looked great in shutting down Rutgers for a big home win. Things get tougher this week with a trip to the Big House to take on unbeaten Michigan, and the big questions, which Wildcats team will we see, the one that lost by 49 to Nebraska, or the one that beat Rutgers by 14? It's a tough team to figure out this year, that's for sure. Happy for quarterback Ryan Hilinski though. He played well in the win, throwing for 267 yards and two scores. The Wildcats really needed that.

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights *** Last Week: 12

  • Last game: Northwestern 21, Rutgers 7 on Oct. 16 at Ryan Field in Evanston, Ill.
  • Records: 3-4 overall, 0-4 in Big Ten
  • This week: Bye week
  • Next game: Rutgers at Illinois, Time TBA on Saturday, Oct. 30 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
  • TV: TBA
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: TBA
  • National rankings: No. 79 in Sagarin ratings
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 12
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 10/13
  • The skinny: Rutgers was a favorite at Northwestern, but played awful in getting tagged with their fourth straight loss against the Wildcats. It's one thing to loss to three straight ranked teams, like they did, but it's another to struggle so bad against a Northwestern team that has issues of its own. Averaging 1.9 rushing yards is just never going to cut it. They need to fix a lot of things during the bye week and get a win at Illinois on the other side.

14. Illinois Fighting Illini *** Last Week: 14

  • Last game: Wisconsin 24, Illinois 0 on Oct. 9 at Memorial Stadium in Champaign, Ill.
  • Records: 2-5 overall, 1-3 in Big Ten
  • This week: Illinois (2-5, 1-3 in Big Ten) at No. 7 Penn State, Noon ET on Saturday, Oct. 23 at Beaver Stadium in State College, Pa.
  • TV: ABC
  • SISportsbook.com point spread: Penn State is a 23.5-point favorite as of Friday morning on the SISportsbook.com website. The over/under is 45.5.
  • National rankings: No. 99 in Sagarin ratings.
  • Preseason B1G power ranking: 14
  • Highest/lowest ranking: 10/14
  • The skinny: Illinois is really struggling offensively, and going up against that Penn State defense in loud and raucous Happy Valley is going to be a real challenge. We expected Year 1 of the Bret Bielema era to be a struggle, and we're really seeing that now. This is a tough spot for the Illini.

Previous Big Ten Power Rankings

  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 7: Iowa erased a two-touchdown deficit to beat Penn State last Saturday in a rare battle of top-five teams, and Ohio State continues to impress week after week. Here are our Week 7 Big Ten power rankings. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 6: Ever since Ohio State, the four-time defending Big Ten champions, lost to Oregon in Week 2, it's been Penn State and Iowa taking turns at No. 1 in the league. There's been another change on the eve of their epic showdown in Iowa City on Saturday. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 5: With Iowa's offense sputtering and everything seemingly in place at Penn State, there's a new team at the top of our Big Ten Power Rankings. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 4: Iowa and Penn State both have a pair of impressive victories thus far, and they're the clear class of the Big Ten through three weeks, which might perturb fans of the Ohio State Buckeyes, the four-time defending conference champions who have yet to impress. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 3: Iowa is the only school in the country to play two ranked teams to open the season, and after wins over Indiana and Iowa State — and a loss by former No. 1 Ohio State — the Hawkeyes are now No. 1 in our Big Ten Power Rankings. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 2: Beating ranked teams on the road has been difficult during James Franklin's tenure at Penn State, but going into Madison to win on Saturday was a huge deal. The Nittany Lions move up to No. 2 in our rankings, now the big question is, can they stay there? CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, WEEK 1: With five Big Ten matchups in Week 1, there's no easing into the college football season this year. And we already learned from Saturday's Week 0 game with Illinois and Nebraska that no favorite is safe this season. CLICK HERE
  • POWER RANKINGS, PRESEASON: Ohio State has won four straight Big Ten football titles, and the Buckeyes are heavy favorites to win again. But in our preseason power rankings, the pecking order behind them has a few surprises. CLICK HERE