Big Ten Power Rankings following Week 4
For a weekend that promised some big-time matchups, the Week 4 slate of college football lived up to the hype! Though not every game was as dramatic as Ohio State-Notre Dame, the action and storylines were fantastic throughout.
Within the B1G, key results across the board shook up the power rankings as the contenders began to surface and teams with serious question marks started to tumble. The conference slate could re-shift the order, but the B1G appears to have 3 power teams with mid-tier options stacked behind them.
Without further ado, here are the latest B1G Power Rankings:
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14. Minnesota (2-2)
Last week: at Northwestern, L 37-34 (OT)
Is sinking the boat all the way to dead last in the B1G an overreaction? Maybe. I’ll let the masses decide, but the low ranking here is exactly how Gopher fans should feel about surrendering 21 unanswered points in the fourth quarter. At least PJ Fleck continues to prove he’s due for one inexcusable loss every year.
13. Northwestern (2-2)
Last week: vs. Minnesota, W 37-34 (OT)
Rejoice, Northwestern fans! For at least one week, the Wildcats are not in the cellar of the B1G after a dramatic comeback win. Ben Bryant threw for nearly 400 yards and 4 touchdowns while Bryce Kirtz hit 215 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns. Enjoy it while it lasts!
12. Indiana (2-2)
Last week: vs. Akron, W 29-27 (4OT)
There are no warm fuzzies to be had from this win. Akron had just 2 wins a season ago in Joe Moorhead’s first season leading the Zips and nearly pulled off the upset in Bloomington. Tom Allen has his work cut out.
11. Purdue (1-3)
Last week: vs. Wisconsin, L 38-17
Purdue let a winnable season opener slip through its fingers and now sits on the precipice of a long season. Ryan Walters tried to overhaul the roster in the offseason, but he still needs a lot of help on defense. The Boilermakers have given up 35+ points to every functioning program they’ve faced.
10. Michigan State (2-2)
Last week: vs. Maryland, L 31-9
Michigan State’s issues extend well off the field right now, but the Spartans appear destined for an abysmal year in B1G play. That isn’t all on the players — or even Harlon Barnett — but it’s hard to see this team rallying after back-to-back blowouts.
9. Nebraska (2-2)
Last week: vs. Louisiana Tech, W 28-14
Nebraska is 2-0 in the games the program should never lose, giving Matt Rhule an early step up on his predecessor. B1G play could be a bumpy ride, but there are a few glimmers of hope in Lincoln. Meanwhile, Heinrich Haarberg has done his best to create a QB controversy with his play during Jeff Sims’ injury.
8. Illinois (2-2)
Last week: vs. FAU, W 23-17
Illinois spotted FAU a 10-0 lead before dialing up a comeback and holding on late. The good news? Luke Altmyer did not throw an interception and the ground game ran for 207 yards while averaging 5 yards per carry.
7. Rutgers (3-1)
Last week: at Michigan, L 31-7
Rutgers shot up this list despite a losing performance in Week 4. How did the Scarlet Knights do it? They continue to display the gritty Greg Schiano attitude that will make them a tough out for most teams, and Gavin Wimsatt displayed some growth in a tough road environment.
6. Iowa (3-1)
Last week: at Penn State, L 31-0
No amount of optimism can save the Hawkeyes this week. Even considering the injury bug, there’s no explanation or reason for a Power 5 team with Iowa’s pedigree to look as horrific as the Hawkeye offense did Saturday night. Considering Iowa’s schedule and the state of the B1G West, would not be a surprise to see this team get to 8-9 wins. However, that will just be another reminder of how good this program can be with a functioning offense.
5. Wisconsin (3-1)
Last week: at Purdue, W 38-17
Wisconsin’s lone loss is currently to a West Coast team now ranked No. 16 in the nation, and the Badgers looked as expected on the road in West Lafayette. Hunter Wohler led the defense, Braelon Allen powered the offense and the Badgers look like the current favorites in the B1G West. The only downside is a likely season-ending leg injury for Chez Mellusi.
4. Maryland (4-0)
Last week: at Michigan State, W 31-9
I’m not going to ding Maryland here for a weak nonconference schedule and B1G opener against an MSU program in all sorts of turmoil. The Terrapins looked as advertised while starting the game on a 21-0 run, but some scuffling in the middle quarters means there is still a number of areas to clean up.
3. Penn State (4-0)
Last week: vs. Iowa, W 31-0
Even considering Penn State was going up against Iowa’s offense, the Nittany Lions still turned in one of the most complete performances of the James Franklin era during the White Out victory. Penn State has looked as advertised, but there will not be a chance to learn more about this team until an Oct. 21 trip to Columbus.
2. Ohio State (4-0)
Last week: at Notre Dame, W 17-14
A win is a win, perceptions of the program be damned. Ohio State stood on the precipice of a heartbreaking defeat that would have led to more questions for Ryan Day’s squad and the QB position in Columbus. Instead, Kyle McCord and Chip Trayanum saved the day on a night when Marvin Harrison Jr. was very quiet and injured.
1. Michigan (4-0)
Last week: vs. Rutgers, W 31-7
Jim Harbaugh returned to the sidelines in a vintage Harbaugh-esque performance for the Wolverines (sluggish start included). In the end, Michigan reached 200+ yards rushing and receiving and clamped down on Rutgers after a big touchdown early. Next up: a road trip to Lincoln.