This week Empire Writes Back continues our Big Ten Football Power Rankings (with a Rutgers twist). There is yet again a shakeup in the rankings.
Welcome to the next edition of our Big Ten Power Rankings. Now through the end of November, we will do this on a weekly basis. The conference finished Week 13 of the 2019 season with six Top 20 teams, which includes the number two team in the country. As of now, the Big Ten will have something to say about who gets into the College Football Playoff in January.
All 14 conference teams were in action last week including the game of the season, Penn State at Ohio State. One team’s drop is another team’s gain. No one is going to knock off OSU as the Big Ten’s best this week. As of now, eight teams have qualified for bowl games, and two more need a victory this week to claim a spot.
14. Northwestern Wildcats, (2-9 overall, 0-8 Big 10)
Last Week: Northwestern was showed some fight in a 38-22 home loss to Minnesota.
This Week at Illinois: The Wildcats play a rivalry game against Illinois who had their win streak derailed last week. Good luck Northwestern, you’ll need it.
13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-9, 0-8)
Last Week: Rutgers showed some moxie two weeks ago by hanging 21 points on Ohio State, tied for the most given up by OSU in any game this season. They followed up that encouraging performance with their fourth goose egg of 2019. All Rutgers could muster was 140 yards of offense at home to a sub-.500 Michigan State team in a 27-0 defeat.
Believe it or not, the Scarlet Knights were 0-11 on third down. Here’s a stat you won’t see very often, Redshirt freshman QB Johnny Langan yards per passing attempt (2.9) was lower than his yards per rush (3.5). Meanwhile, MSU signal-caller Brian Lewerke posted his highest passer rating since September. This game was a complete disaster with the possible exception of punter Adam Korsack who had a net of 40.5 yards per kick.
This Week at No. 12 Penn State: PSU’s season has gone up in flames over the past three weeks. They are still Penn State. Pride, a 10-win season and Top-10 final ranking are still in the cards. What do the Rutgers Scarlet Knight have to play for?
First of all, Rutgers was shut out for the fourth time last week. For the season they have scored 45 points against Big Ten opponents. 50 isn’t much considering Ohio State almost averages that much per game, and that they scored twice as many points in 2018. Langan has completed just over 50 percent of his passes in 2019, it would be nice to see him finish the season that way. Finally, the Knights can play for interim Head Coach Nunzio Campanile who never quit on them.