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Week 8: Big Ten Power Rankings, CFP Horserace, Heisman Finalist Predictions

Ohio State is legitimately a national title favorite.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Indiana Marc Lebryk-USA TODAY Sports

I know that there will be plenty of folks who continue to claim that Ohio State hasn’t played well against anyone of substance all season, but friends, I’m here to tell you that nobody is good and as we see top-10 teams fall with an epidemic regularity, any win — especially one by a score of 54-7 — is impressive.

So, you will see our Buckeyes (the team and its players) at or near the top of all of the lists, right where they belong.

As always, keep in mind that these are just my lists, and they are simply looking at where things sit as of this very moment. Things will be fluid, rankings will change, but that’s what’s fun about this crazy ass sport, isn’t it?

I am sure that more astute and discerning college football watchers might have different opinions, so if that’s you, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.

My Current Big Ten Power Rankings

1.) Ohio State (6-1, 4-0) | 54-7 Win Over Indiana | Previously No. 1

Georgia deserves to be the No. 1 team in the country, but if we are all given a healthy dose of truth serum, we all know that the Buckeyes are No. 2. They won’t be that in the AP or Coaches’ Polls later today, or likely even the first CFP rankings a week from today, but Ohio State is every inch a national title favorite as UGA is... just basically the mirror opposite of how they do it.

2.) Michigan (7-0, 4-0) | 33-7 Win over Northwestern | Previously No. 3

Northwestern isn’t a great team, but Pat Fitzgerald’s team is never not prepared, and that defense has proven capable of holding teams in check... they could not against the Mitten Men. I don’t think the Harboys are that good, but they are markedly better than they were in recent years. So, I guess they are No. 2.

3.) Michigan State (7-0, 4-0) | Open Week | Previously No. 2

Perhaps being out of sight made Sparty out of mind for me as I dropped them a spot this week, but it really won’t matter as they take on their little brothers next week in East Lansing. So we will absolutely know who deserves to be No. 2 next week.

4.) Iowa (6-1, 3-1) | Open Week | Previously No. 5

The Hawkeyes play in Madison next week, and while I would imagine that they should be able to score enough to beat the Badgers... I’m not 100% sure of that.

5.) Penn State (5-2, 2-2) | 20-18 (9OT) Loss to Illinois | Previously No. 4

Penn State is itching to be in a world of hurt next week in The Shoe. If things go the way that I imagine that they will, the Nits will have lost three in a row and gone over a month. I will absolutely love to see that as a long-established Nit hater.

6.) Minnesota (5-2, 3-1) | 34-16 Win Over Maryland | Previously No. 7

Honestly, no one should be included at No. 6, because the rest of the B1G is not very good. There are certainly some teams that could pull an upset, but on the whole, as much as I love PSU’s implosion, there is a huge chasm between between them and who’s next. So, the Gophers get the call this week, but I’m not exactly sure they deserve it.

7.) Nebraska (3-5, 1-4) | Open Week | Previously No. 8

I still think that the Huskers are better than their record indicates, but with a 1-and-4 record in conference, I can’t put them any higher than seventh.

8.) Wisconsin (4-3, 2-2) | 30-13 Win Over Purdue | Previously No. 11

The Badgers’ first half of the season was really tough, but as we get into the back half of the season, they will have plenty of opportunities to wrack up some wins. Their offense is still pretty bad, but is anyone actually any good in the B1G West?

9.) Purdue (4-3, 2-2) | 30-13 Loss to Wisconsin | Previously No. 6

Woof, Purdon’t... am I right?

10.) Maryland (4-3, 1-3) | 34-16 Loss to Minnesota | Previously No. 10

Maryland in September = very good

Maryland in October = very bad

11.) Illinois (3-5, 2-3) | 20-18 (9OT) Win Over Penn State | Previously No. 14

That was the Bertiest win the history of Bert. It was horrible, it was hilarious. It was embarrassing, it was exquisite.

12.) Northwestern (3-4, 1-3) | 33-7 Loss to Michigan | Previously No. 9

I always want to believe in Northwestern, but they are making it very hard to keep that up. No. 12 is still probably too high for them, and they only have two reasonably winnable games left on the season, so it’s not looking great the rest of the way.

13.) Indiana (2-5, 0-5) | 54-7 Loss to Ohio State | Previously No. 12

All five of IU’s losses have been to highly ranked teams. But that doesn’t matter, they are 0-5 and with all of the quarterback issues that they are having, I don’t know that any of that matters, because the rest of the way is going to be rough for the Hoosiers.

14.) Rutgers (3-4, 0-4) | Open Week | Previously No. 13

I hate to have to do this, but hence forth until they get a quality win, they shall be known as “Rutger.”

My Current College Football Playoff Positioning

This will be the final time that run this format when it comes to my College Football Playoff picks, where essentially, I’m picking the four teams that I think deserve to be in. Following Week 9, the official CFP committee will start releasing their rankings. So, next Sunday, I will start picking what I think the committee will do. But, for now, this is what the absolutely, unquestioned, and undeniable top four teams in the country look like.

Feel free to disagree and let me know in the comments below.

1.) Georgia (7-0) | Open Week | Previously No. 1

I think Ari is right. Ohio State and Georgia would be an absolutely thrilling national title matchup of strength vs. strength and weakness vs. weakness no matter who has the ball.

2.) Ohio State (6-1) | 54-7 Win Over Indiana | Previously No. 2

No one is actually questioning Ohio State’s national title legitimacy anymore, are they?

3.) Cincinnati (7-0) | 27-20 Win Over Navy | Previously No. 3

I know a lot of folks in southwestern Ohio won’t like this, but it’s pretty clear that the Buckeyes are the best team in the state and very well could prove to be the best team in the country. I know that Navy is always a tough out, but if you really are title contender, you can’t be relying on an interception to seal a game against a service academy this late in the season.

4.) Michigan (7-0) | 33-7 Win over Northwestern | Previously NR

I know, I’m as surprised as you are. The Weasels aren’t very good, and they will get dumptrucked in The Game, but no one else wants to be in there. Oklahoma doesn’t deserve it after how poorly they played against Kansas (and against most teams they’ve played this season). Alabama struggled through three quarters against Tennessee before turning it on in the end. Penn State and Iowa both lost, so I’m putting the Skunk Bears in here by default.

Heisman Trophy Finalist Predictions

Call me a homer, if you like, but as Ohio State continues to face better defenses, Henderson isn’t going to be on the bench for the majority of the second half, and his importance will only increase. He’s got 693 yards rushing, 168 receiving, and 14 total touchdowns. Those numbers will only increase as the season goes on. So, as far as I’m concerned, he deserves to be in there with the QBs.

Keep in mind that these players are listed in alphabetical order, and this is just who I think is putting together a resume to be invited to the Heisman Ceremony in New York. I will eventually pick a winner, but that will be a while.

TreVeyon Henderson, Ohio State, Running Back

Kenny Pickett, Pittsburgh, Quarterback

C.J. Stroud, Ohio State, Quarterback

Bryce Young, Alabama, Quarterback