Big Ten football power rankings after Week 7: Order restored

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Week 7 is in the books, and despite a somewhat abbreviated schedule in the Big Ten, Iowa going down with an offense that looked like a Ford Pinto with the doors hanging off did a lot to shake things up.

Here at Buckeyes Wire, we already had Iowa slipping down from the top spot because of how inept that side of the ball looked, but the loss will still impact this week’s edition of the power rankings. Where far down does Iowa fall? What about teams like Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State that were idle? Did Michigan State’s win over Indiana do anything to move it up the rankings?

We try to give you what you crave and we’ll get to it. Here are our latest Big Ten football power rankings after Week 7.

Illinois Fighting Illini (2-5, 1-3)

Sep 17, 2021; Champaign, Illinois, USA; Illinois Fighting Illini head coach Bret Bielema walks off the field after the loss against the Maryland Terrapins at Memorial Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ron Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

You can make a case for Northwestern still being here, but it’s a what have you done for me lately league and the Wildcats just got a win over a decent (or so we think) Rutgers team. Therefore, sorry “Bert,” but your team goes back to the bottom of the pile.

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Rutgers Scarlet Knights (3-4, 0-4)

Ohio State Buckeyes defensive lineman J.T. Tuimoloau (44) brings down Rutgers Scarlet Knights quarterback Cole Snyder (15) during the fourth quarter of an NCAA Division I football game between the Rutgers Scarlet Knights and the Ohio State Buckeyes on Saturday, Oct. 2, 2021, at SHI Stadium in Piscataway, New Jersey. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Welp. We were high on what Greg Schiano was doing through the first few weeks of the season, but after four straight losses, we have no choice but to move the Scarlet Knights way down the rankings. It’s been a season of regression since entering Big Ten play and it’s going to be awfully tough to make a bowl game now after the loss to Northwestern. Yes, it is a large fall but makes sense.

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Northwestern Wildcats (3-3, 1-2)

Sep 25, 2021; Evanston, Illinois, USA; Northwestern Wildcats head coach Pat Fitzgerald on the sideline during the first half against the Ohio Bobcats at Ryan Field. Credit: David Banks-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Heading into this weekend, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that thought Northwestern was on the upswing. However, after getting in the win column for the first time in the league against Rutgers, there are signs of life.

Indiana Hoosiers (2-4, 0-3)

Sep 18, 2021; Bloomington, Indiana, USA; Indiana Hoosiers quarterback Michael Penix Jr. (9) throws a pass during the second half against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Memorial Stadium. Bearcats won 38-24. Credit: Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Indiana is a team you don’t want to play against because there’s talent there. The problem is that the Hoosiers can’t seem to play a 60-minute game. Another week, another “respectable” loss in a schedule that is absolutely brutal.

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Maryland Terrapins (4-2, 1-2)

Maryland Terrapins quarterback Taulia Tagovailoa (3) is pursued by Ohio State Buckeyes defensive end Zach Harrison (9) during the first half of Saturday’s NCAA Division I football game at Ohio Stadium in Columbus on October 9, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Maryland was idle this week, but the last two times out have not gone well. It feels like history repeating itself where the Terps look fantastic in the nonconference part of the schedule only to fall flat once Big Ten play begins.

Nebraska Cornhuskers (3-5, 1-4)

Sep 25, 2021; East Lansing, Michigan, USA; Nebraska Cornhuskers cornerback Cam Taylor-Britt (5) walks off the field with his head down after the game against the Michigan State Spartans at Spartan Stadium. Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Nebraska just can’t seem to get out of its own way. There are a slew of close losses, but this past week was worse. The team has shown improvement as the season has gone on, but the losses keep mounting.

Wisconsin Badgers (3-3, 1-2)

Wisconsin head coach quarter Paul Chryst talks to his offensive unit during the fourth of their game against Penn State Saturday, September 4, 2021, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, Wis. Penn State beat Wisconsin 16-10. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

It hasn’t been pretty — especially on offense — but the Badgers have won two in a row to put themselves back into the picture when it comes to getting to a bowl game. If things break correctly, Wisconsin could still have a say in what happens in the West Division as well.

Minnesota Golden Gophers (4-2, 2-1)

Sep 2, 2021; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Gophers head coach P.J Fleck and his players enter the field prior to the game against the Minnesota Gophers at Huntington Bank Stadium. Credit: Harrison Barden-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

It’s been a bit of an inconsistent season in the Twin Cities, but the Golden Gophers now control their own destiny in the West. The way Nebraska was playing, the win last week was an impressive one that could keep the momentum going forward.

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Purdue Boilermakers (4-2, 2-1)

Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell signals to his receivers prior to taking the snap in the third quarter against Iowa on Saturday, Oct. 16, 2021, at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

We’ve been kind of waiting for Purdue to show people it means business and that’s exactly what happened after the upset of No. 2 Iowa on Saturday. We have no choice but to take the Boilermakers seriously now. There’s still a lot of work to do, but Purdue also controls its own destiny now in the West Division.

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Iowa Hawkeyes (6-1, 3-1)

Big Ten football Week 7 television schedule, key facts | Buckeyes Wire

Big Ten football Week 7 television schedule, key facts | Buckeyes Wire

Iowa freshman wide receiver Keagan Johnson (No. 6, left) celebrates with teammates after scoring a touchdown in the second quarter against Colorado State at Kinnick Stadium in Iowa City, Iowa, on Saturday, Sept. 25, 2021. Credit: USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Yes, Iowa does deserve to drop this far. It was all smoke and mirrors in the first place with an offense that only has as many gears as a go-kart. The defense and special teams will still get this team more wins, but this is not a championship-caliber squad. Purdue exposed what talented skill-position players can do against a defense that can’t match up.

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Michigan State Spartans (7-0, 4-0)

Oct 9, 2021; Piscataway, New Jersey, USA; Michigan State Spartans running back Kenneth Walker III (9) carries the ball past Rutgers Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Ifeanyi Maijeh (88) during the first half at SHI Stadium. Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

We’re still not sure what will happen when the Spartans run into a very skilled team, but they just keep on winning. Indiana did present some challenges and I’ll be shocked if Michigan State doesn’t drop at least a couple of games before it’s all said and done, but you can’t ignore what’s happened so far.

Michigan Wolverines (6-0, 3-0)

Oct 2, 2021; Madison, Wisconsin, USA; Michigan Wolverines head coach Jim Harbaugh walks on the field during warmups prior to the game against the Wisconsin Badgers at Camp Randall Stadium. Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

Look, Michigan is fortunate to still be undefeated, but undefeated the Wolverines are indeed. Like the Spartans, it feels like a loss or two is going to happen over the next few weeks, but so far Michigan has been a much better team across the board — not great at anything, but good at all things — so yeah.

Penn State Nittany Lions (5-1, 2-1)

Oct 2, 2021; University Park, Pennsylvania, USA; Penn State Nittany Lions quarterback Sean Clifford (14) runs with the ball during the third quarter against the Indiana Hoosiers at Beaver Stadium. Penn State defeated Indiana 24-0. Credit: Matthew OHaren-USA TODAY Sports

The reason for the ranking

As long as Sean Clifford is healthy (he wasn’t at the end of the game against Iowa), this is the second-best team in the league. That trip to Columbus looms very, very large in a couple of weeks, but to this point, the talent and ability of Penn State across the board is second to just one team.

Ohio State Buckeyes (5-1, 3-0)

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud getting good odds in Heisman race

Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud getting good odds in Heisman race

Ohio State Buckeyes quarterback C.J. Stroud (7) lines up the offense during the first quarter of an NCAA Division I football game between the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Maryland Terrapins on Saturday, Oct. 9, 2021, at Ohio Stadium in Columbus, Ohio. Credit: USA TODAY

The reason for the ranking

Funny enough, being on idle almost cemented our thoughts last week about Ohio State being the team still to beat in the league. This is a far different team than the one that lost to Oregon a few weeks ago. The skill position players are as talented as any in the country, and the defense is starting to come around. Look out College Football Playoff pundits.

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