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B1G Power Rankings, Week 6


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A look at who has the power this week...

A look at who has the power this week...
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

I am doing a bit of research on a "piece" about the terminally ill former All-American, NFL great, popular actor and, of course, Iowa legend Alex Karras, so no clever intro paragraph this week.

As usual, these power rankings reflect the team’s performances and injuries compared to the rest of the league, not necessarily the current standings, talent, or a predicted finish for the league, but a fluid representation of where each team currently stands.

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12. Illinois (Last Week 12)

12. Illinois (Last Week 12)
Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Illini defense hasn’t lived up to the hype, Beckman’s mighty offense hasn’t functioned with the personnel he inherited, and the special teams routinely makes gaffes. Most recently, a 10-yard shank punt that set the Badgers up in great field position to make a field goal game turn into a 10-point contest.

From there, things got worse. Not sure if there is a Big Ten win available for Illinois this season, considering how improved Indiana and Minnesota have looked. For an apathetic football fan base, 2-10 would put the new staff in a huge hole to win the hearts and minds of the faithful.

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11. Minnesota (Last Week 11)

11. Minnesota (Last Week 11)
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

The Gophers had a bye week to fix some of the issues which uncovered themselves against Iowa, but the best dose of medicine to bring this team back to life will be facing Northwestern.

The main factor in the ugly loss at Iowa was the Hawkeye’s dominance at the line of scrimmage. Northwestern has many strengths, but they aren’t known for physical line play. Minnesota could snag an upset and put themselves in beautiful position for a bowl trip, needing just one win with a half season still left to play.

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10. Indiana (Last Week 10)

10. Indiana (Last Week 10)
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
The Hoosiers tallied another moral victory this week with the performance against Michigan State, but the main problem, a subpar Big Ten caliber defense, still exists. This puts a ton of pressure on the offense and special teams to not make mistakes. Lastly, there is youth all over the field still for the Hoosiers. Despite those issues, the program looks to be headed in the right direction. If Indiana continues this progression, 2013 could be a bowl year and 2014 could even be an 8-or-9 win season barring injuries. The problem is that this is still 2012.
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9. Purdue (Last Week 5)

9. Purdue (Last Week 5)
Sandra Dukes-US PRESSWIRE
If I wasn’t clear enough in the grades, the Boilermakers' effort against Michigan was a pathetic joke. Danny Hope and his staff should be ashamed of themselves. The players should be sick with how bad they looked. The good news is that Michigan is not in the Leaders Division and PU can take a big step forward by knocking off division foe Wisconsin at home next week. If they flounder in that game, though, it will be a brutal stretch to end the year. Four of their final six are on the road.
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8. Iowa (Last Week 8)

8. Iowa (Last Week 8)
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE

It is never good when you make news during your bye week. Iowa’s senior cornerback Micah Hyde was arrested for public intoxication. Common sense says that, when you walk out of a bar you are most likely publicly drunk and if you are of legal age this should not be an issue.

In reality though, to get arrested for public intox in a college town you have to be doing something pretty rowdy. Simply put, no matter what you were doing, it looks bad for the program for a senior leader to end his night in bracelets.

Coach Ferentz has said in the past that he doesn’t "babysit" his kids because he gives them respect and trusts them; but, that means when they break that code, he comes down harder than most coaches. I thought for sure Hyde would be suspended for the MSU game. Then the question was how long he would stay in Ferentz’s doghouse. If he had remained there, Hyde might not see the field much the next few weeks. Fortunately, it seems like clearer heads have prevailed and Hyde will not be suspended. From local reports the arrest was not necessary and Hyde has never been in trouble in the past.

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7. Wisconsin (Last Week 9)

7. Wisconsin (Last Week 9)
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
The Badgers made some nice strides against Illinois, but this is still a work in progress, especially along the offensive line. Luckily, their hardest games are in Madison and their toughest road trip is the final week of the season. There could be some growth, as well as wins, in a very manageable October.
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6. Northwestern (Last Week 3)

6. Northwestern (Last Week 3)
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
The Wildcats have been flat-out awful in October under Fitzgerald. This month sets up as a tough October yet again with Nebraska, Iowa and a road game at Minneapolis. This team can score in bunches, but the defense still leaves a lot to be desired. For NU to get to Indianapolis they have to go undefeated at home (Neb, Iowa, Illinois) and beat Minnesota. That will put them at five league wins. If they split their two trips to the state of Michigan, they still have a path to Indy.
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5. Michigan State (Last Week 4)

5. Michigan State (Last Week 4)
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
MSU and Northwestern are identical teams right now. They both have a lot of potential and a schedule they can navigate, but they have flaws working against them. For MSU, the offensive line is bogging down the ground game. With no ground attack, the passing game really can’t develop. MSU’s chance to get to Indianapolis will be decided in the next three weeks (Iowa, @ Michigan, @ Wisconsin). A loss in any of these games will put them in a huge hole since the odds of them beating Nebraska look fairly low right now.
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4. Nebraska (Last Week 2)

4. Nebraska (Last Week 2)
Richard Mackson-US PRESSWIRE
Nebraska is another upper half team with a major flaw. NU’s bugaboo: the defense has no bite. The bright spot for the Huskers is they have a bye week to debrief from that OSU game. This offense can cover up those holes they have on the other side of the ball, provided they play well. At OSU they had four turnovers. That won’t cut it because Northwestern, Michigan and Penn State are all capable of moving the scoreboard against the Huskers defense. Coughing up the ball at that rate against those three schools will surely lead to losses.
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3. Penn State (Last Week 6)

3. Penn State (Last Week 6)
Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Nittany Lions are the most complete team of the upper half (as well as the hottest); however, PSU settles into the third spot because of the talent compared to the teams above them, especially on special teams. PSU does not have the ability to make a field goal longer than thirty yards right now, which puts them behind the eight ball in late game situations.

For all of their flaws, Iowa is a team not afraid to "get after it" in the trenches. Let’s see how this Nittany Lions stand up in a good old-fashioned Big Ten slugfest before we move them into the top two.

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2. Michigan (Last Week 7)

2. Michigan (Last Week 7)
Mike DiNovo-US PRESSWIRE
How long will this last? Only Michigan knows. The most bipolar team in the league right now is capable of impressive peaks—like they showed against Purdue—but also extreme valleys. When they are at their lowest there is a common theme: turnovers. Against Alabama and Notre Dame, the Wolverines couldn’t wait to get rid of the ball. If they shore this up, and continue to play defense like they did in West Layfette, UM will certainly be in Indy.
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1. Ohio State (Last Week 1)

1. Ohio State (Last Week 1)
Andrew Weber-US PRESSWIRE
Ohio State’s body of work speaks for itself, so I’ll just give an opinion about why OSU will end the year in Columbus regardless of their record. What a shame the league’s best team is ineligible to play for anything since some selfish kids (who are no longer on the team) had to ink their bodies, along with other improper benefits and the previous coach was too much of a coward to do anything about it. Of all the dumb sports scandals, Ohio State’s has to be a combination of the most childish and foolish.
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