Week 4 B1G Power Rankings: Significant shakeup after pivotal weekend
Getting crazy after two weeks didn’t make much sense. After all, the B1G had only squared off with two top-25 opponents, and one of those games was Rutgers-Washington.
But after the week that was in the B1G, we found out some new things.
Iowa is much more vulnerable up front than they appeared. Wisconsin’s offense is definitely still a work in progress. Michigan State and Ohio State are as good, if not better than advertised. Shoot, even Nebraska showed major toughness against a talented Oregon team.
So yes, there are some significant changes from last week.
14. Purdue (LW: 14)
A bye week didn’t change anything we didn’t know about Purdue. Well, except that the coaches apparently “don’t really care.”
13. Illinois (LW: 11)
Predicting a loss to an experienced Western Michigan squad is one thing. Watching Illinois get destroyed by a MAC school at home is another. Rushing for three yards against anyone is enough to make Lovie Smith ill. This is, by all accounts, a rebuild. The Illini have two weeks to prepare for a now daunting B1G opener in Lincoln.
12. Rutgers (LW: 12)
Again, 21-0 deficits to Mountain West teams are bad. On the plus side, the Scarlet Knights are averaging 31 points per game. They’re also only allowing seven points per game in the second half. Credit Chris Ash for making some adjustments and turning up the defensive tempo. This Saturday against Iowa will be a great barometer for how competitive Rutgers will be in the B1G.
11. Northwestern (LW: 13)
The Wildcats just needed a Power Five team to show up to start looking the part. Jokes aside, Northwestern showed the offensive life that it’s been lacking. Clayton Thorson was more poised, albeit against a young and struggling defense. Northwestern has a brutal start to B1G play (vs. Nebraska, at Iowa, at Michigan State), but at least the Wildcats proved they can stretch the field a little bit.
10. Maryland (LW: 10)
If you told me in the beginning of the season that the Terps would go into the bye week 3-0 start, I would’ve told you DJ Durkin is already working wonders. He is. Howard, FIU and UCF aren’t B1G-level opponents, but the Terps are averaging 41 points per contest and are allowing just 17. Even more shocking? Maryland is eighth in the country in turnover margin with ZERO interceptions. What a time to be alive.
9. Indiana (LW: 9)
Hopefully the bye week was timed well for the banged-up Hoosiers. All-American Dan Feeney could possibly return from a concussion but Simmie Cobbs is expected to be out for a while. Regardless of who plays and who doesn’t, Kevin Wilson wants to see a full 60 minutes. Wake Forest should give them a good shot to do that.
8. Penn State (LW: 8)
Who’s left on the back end of the Lions defense? Linebacker U is already down all three starters at the position. All of the sudden, Penn State’s least-experience defensive position appears to be its healthiest. That’s a tough reality heading into B1G play.
7. Minnesota (LW: 7)
The jury is still out on how some early injuries have impacted this team. It’s been two-and-a-half weeks since the Gophers played an FBS team. If Shannon Brooks is able to return this week, Minnesota could easily have one of the deeper backfields in the country.
6. Iowa (LW: 3)
Last week, I was ready to leave Iowa as the clear No. 3 team in the B1G. After all, this team was upset-proof with CJ Beathard at quarterback. But after watching what the Hawkeyes did against North Dakota State, it’s clear that both sides of the ball are in need of a serious wakeup call. The skewed rushing total, the forced passes and the late-game execution were very un-Iowa like. The Hawkeyes showed that they definitely aren’t a safe bet against quality competition yet.
5. Nebraska (LW: 6)
I’ll be honest. I thought Oregon was a horrible matchup for Nebraska. I thought the Ducks offense would run sprints around the Blackshirts. Without Royce Freeman, that didn’t happen. The Huskers’ biggest win of the Mike Riley era showed that this isn’t the same narrative as last year. They finished each of their first three games strong. Why? They’re No. 5 in the country in turnover margin. That’s huge.
4. Wisconsin (LW: 4)
We’re there moments that the Badgers were in serious trouble? Sure. The offense, without Corey Clement, is still finding its identity. The normally-stout Badger defense surrendered 269 passing yards, which was more than it allowed against LSU and Akron combined. Was it definitely a wakeup call? Yes, but that might be exactly what the Badgers needed before the schedule gets real again.
3. Michigan State (LW: 5)
MSU, for once, was actually ranked high in last week’s power rankings based on reputation. Well, the Notre Dame win reminded everyone that betting against Mark Dantonio is foolish. The Spartans shook off their penalty woes and looked like a disciplined team that had two weeks to prepare. If they play like that against Wisconsin, MSU will have a legitimate top-five argument.
2. Michigan (LW: 1)
It’s always interesting to see how a team handles the moment it gets real. Do they tighten up and play like they’re scared to lose? Or do they buckle down a flip the switch? Down two touchdowns to Colorado, Michigan did the latter. The Wolverines can score points in a hurry and in a variety of ways. That’s dangerous. Why aren’t they No. 1? Ohio State’s blowout win in Norman showed that the Buckeyes are much further along than some might’ve realized. Michigan won’t have a chance for a win of that caliber until it travels to East Lansing. For now, the Buckeyes get the edge.
1. Ohio State (LW: 2)
You could make a legitimate argument for Ohio State as the No. 1 team in the country after watching Saturday. Rece Davis already did. That was Alabama-like domination. If you want, throw out Ohio State’s first two games and just give me what I saw on Saturday. The Buckeyes went into one of the most hostile environments and won all three phases. And it was obvious. Ohio State made a College Football Playoff team look like a MAC school. If that wasn’t enough of a reason to say they’re the best team in the B1G, I don’t know what is.