In a new installment, I’ll be ranking every team in a Big Ten power rankings each week, going from bottom to top as conference play starts to unravel here in Week 5.
After four weeks of games, here is how the Big Ten stacks up.
You CANNOT give up a 21-point lead to this Northwestern football team in the fourth quarter, lose the game in overtime, and expect to be anywhere but the bottom. Minnesota has a lot to figure out before they play Michigan on October 7th.
13. Northwestern Wildcats
Northwestern may not win another game this season, but they’ve already exceeded expectations. They had no business winning last week but maybe this kickstarts something?
I can’t keep track of whether or not Mel Tucker has been fired yet (I think it was official yesterday), but Michigan State is in a lot of trouble this year.
11. Indiana Hoosiers
An overtime win over Akron is not something to write home about but Indiana checks in at No. 11 because I can’t justify putting any of the teams behind them this high.
I may be wrong here but I think that Purdue may be better than people think. I really thought they played better in the second half against Wisconsin last week but their defense created too much of a hole for the offense to try and pull them out of.
It feels like Nebraska should be lower but the teams behind them have pushed them into the Top 10. If they had beaten Minnesota in Week 1 like they should’ve, they would be higher but now that looks like a bad loss.
8. Illinois Fighting Illini
I don’t have a ton to say about Illinois other than I thought they would be better than they have been. They’ve lost in blowout fashion to Penn State and Kansas (two very good teams) and they haven’t exactly impressed in their non-conference games. They’ve got work to do to live up to last year's team.
Rutgers may have gotten beaten by Michigan in the big house but the wheels didn’t come off the bus until the third quarter and that’s an improvement for them. I think this team can play.
6. Iowa Hawkeyes
There isn’t a lot of shame in losing in Happy Valley during a whiteout. However, if you don’t score any points and the game is largely uncompetitive, there is shame in that. Iowa didn’t look good on either side of the ball and they are fortunate their punter is the weapon he is or they would’ve lost by more.
Maryland is 4-0, but I’m not going to believe it until they play some of the teams in front of them. They’ve got Ohio State in a few weeks and that’ll give us a better idea of where things are with Maryland.
4. Wisconsin Badgers
Could this be too high? Yes. But I also don’t see much justification for anyone ranked behind the Badgers to be this high. The Badgers should be 4-0 but the meltdown out west against Washington State is going to haunt them for a bit.
The good news is that they looked good at Purdue last weekend and Washington State continues to win games to help the Badgers’ cause.
3. Ohio State Buckeyes
Too close for comfort last week, Ohio State checks in at 3. They kind of got bullied along the offense and defensive lines last weekend. I just hope Ryan Day doesn’t bring up my rankings in his next media interview.
Michigan should be beating these teams by more but I still think they are very good. I’m excited for some of the matchups they’ve got coming up.
Penn State has dominated. Their defense is one of the best in the country. Their offense is starting to click and they’ve wrecked every team that they’ve played. It’s close between Ohio State, Michigan, and Penn State but I think Penn State has the edge. We’ll know more in the next few weeks.