Around the Big Ten | Matchups, Power Rankings for Week 6 of the college football season

Pregame Editor Austin Hanson previews this weekend’s matchups and updates the DI’s conference power rankings.


Jerod Ringwald

University of Illinois head football coach Bret Bielema speaks during Day 1 of the 2021 Big Ten Media Days at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 22, 2021.

Austin Hanson, Pregame Editor

Power Rankings

1. Ohio State — The Big Ten should send two East teams to Indy for this year’s league title game.

2. Michigan — The Hawkeyes were almost almost competitive against the Wolverines.

3. Penn State —  With a win over Ohio State or Michigan, the Nittany Lions could be in the hunt for the CFP.

4. Maryland — The East has the Big Ten’s top four teams, and it ain’t close.

5. Illinois — I’ll die on this Illinios hill. The Illini’s loss to the Hoosiers was fluke.

6. Purdue — Purdue is the only West team that knows how to play offense.

 7. Minnesota — Remember when we thought Minnesota was going to win the West uncontested?

8. Iowa — Iowa might finish the year under .500.

9. Nebraska — I can already hear the boos I’m going to get for this.

10. Indiana — How did you manage to lose to Nebraska by two touchdowns?

11. Rutgers — The Scarlet Knights will tell their children about the time they led Ohio State, 7-0.

12. Michigan State — I thought Michigan State was going to be good this season. I was wrong

13. Wisconsin — Let the Paul Chryst jokes flow.

14. Northwestern — I really thought this was going to be Northwestern’s year to win the West.

Week 6 Big Ten matchups

 Nebraska (2-3, 1-1) @ Rutgers (3-2, 0-2) 

Where/when to watch: Friday at p.m. on FS1 | Line: NE -3 | O/U: 52

Luckily, I don’t have to pick a winner of this game. So, I’ll leave my thoughts on this matchup at this: Rutgers led Ohio State, 7-0, at one point last week.

No. 4 Michigan (5-0, 2-0) @ Indiana (3-2, 1-1)

Where/when to watch: Saturday at 11 a.m. on FOX | Line: MI -22 | O/U: 59

FOX should consider changing the name of its weekly pregame show from “Big Noon Kickoff” to “Big Michigan Kickoff.” The network has now gone to three consecutive Wolverine games. 

Purdue (3-2, 1-1) @ Maryland (4-1, 1-1) 

Where/when to watch: Saturday at 11 a.m. on BTN | Line: MD -3 | O/U: 59

I’ve disrespected Maryland time and again this year. I guess I’m not really regretful about it. I like the Boilermakers on the road this week.

 Wisconsin (2-3, 0-2) @ Northwestern (1-4, 1-1) 

Where/when to watch: Saturday at 2:30 p.m. on BTN | Line: WI -10 | O/U: 44

People are dubbing this a dumpster fire game, but I beg to differ. This is going to be a classic Big Ten West barn burner. If I was a bettor, I’d hammer this game’s under.

No. 3 Ohio State (5-0, 2-0) @ Michigan State (2-3, 0-2)

Where/when to watch: Saturday at 3:00 p.m. on ABC | Line: OSU -25.5 | O/U: 63

I feel like making Michigan State play this game is the equivalent of putting a wounded deer in a cage with three male lions. Things aren’t going to end well for the Spartans on Saturday night. 

 Iowa (3-2, 1-1) @ Illinois (4-1, 1-1)

Where/when to watch: Saturday at 6:30 p.m. on BTN | Line: IL -3.5 | O/U: 35

This seems like the type of game Illinois always finds a way to lose. For some reason, this year feels different, and it looks like the folks in Las Vegas know that.