Week 4 B1G Power Rankings
This wasn’t easy. It’s never easy. It’s not supposed to be easy.
No, I’m not talking about the top two teams in the B1G. That’s self-explanatory at this point because Michigan State hasn’t looked so dominant itself.
I’m talking about that 3-6 decision. You should shuffle them any which way and make a case for those four teams to take up any of those spots. Tell me I’m wrong, I’ll tell you why you’re right and I’ll tell you why I’m right.
I have a method to this madness. I promise.
Biggest riser: Indiana, Michigan, Rutgers +2
Biggest faller: Maryland -3
14. Maryland (prev. 11)
The Terps now have a pair of blowout losses in which they’ve looked completely inept on both sides of the ball. I gave them credit for taking care of USF, but after that six-turnover performance in Morgantown, it’s clear that this team has major issues heading into B1G play.
13. Purdue (prev. 13)
The Boilers are looking more and more like the team that shows promise, but just can’t get over the hump. On the bright side, David Blough showed serious promise in his first career start.
12. Rutgers (prev. 14)
The Scarlet Knights beat a Power-Five team by two touchdowns. That’s the first and last time that sentence will be typed this year.
11. Illinois (prev. 12)
All things considered, Illinois weathered the storm in the first month of the season. The Illini better hope their only Power-Five matchup of non-conference play isn’t indicative of how the B1G slate will go.
10. Nebraska (prev. 9)
There are two sides of the coin for the Huskers. One is that they’re an interception and a Hail Mary away from being 4-0 with two solid wins. The other is that the Huskers are one last-minute Southern Mississippi drive away from entering B1G play 1-3. Either way, this team screams ‘mediocre.’
9. Minnesota (prev. 7)
I underestimated how limited this offense was going to be. On the surface, Minnesota is 3-1 with its only loss coming to a top-five team. That’s even better than Wisconsin’s claim. But to beat a pair of MAC schools by only three points at home suggests the nation’s 90th-ranked offense has to make major strides if it wants to be in that B1G West race, especially if Briean Boddy-Calhoun is out for any length of time.
8. Indiana (prev. 10)
Iowa, Indiana, Northwestern and Ohio State. Those are the only B1G squads to beat a Power-Five team on the road so far. Not coincidentally, those are four of the five unbeatens left in the B1G. Party like it’s 1990, Bloomington.
7. Penn State (prev. 8)
The Lions finally looked like the team we thought they could be. Christian Hackenberg is comfortable now and that defensive line is arguably the second best unit in the conference. Still, they need Saquon Barkley and Akeel Lynch to be healthy in order to maximize their potential.
6. Wisconsin (prev. 5)
I understand that the Badger defense has been arguably the best in the country over the last three weeks. But power rankings are about strength of victories, and by virtue of their own soft home slate so far, the Badgers don’t have any quality wins yet. That would change this week by beating Iowa.
5. Iowa (prev. 4)
I know what you’re thinking. How could Iowa drop a spot after scoring 62 points? It’s more a matter of Michigan dominating a ranked opponent, which the Hawkeyes haven’t faced yet. A win at Wisconsin, however, would vault the Hawkeyes into a top-three spot.
4. Michigan (prev. 6)
The final piece of the puzzle, Jake Rudock, delivered his best game of the year. The fourth-ranked defense in the country is looking better and better every week, too. Nobody wants to play the Wolverines right now.
3. Northwestern (prev. 3)
The Wildcats grinded out a 5-point win against a MAC school at home. The difference between the Wildcats and the Gophers is that they still have two of the best wins in the conference to speak of. And speaking of dominant defenses, Northwestern is the B1G’s most efficient right now, despite the mess of injuries it suffered on Saturday.
2. Michigan State (prev. 2)
I’m still waiting for Michigan State to look like the high-powered offense we saw last year. If Jack Conklin is out for significant time, this dominant offensive line will take a major hit, as could a running game still looking to establish consistency.
1. Ohio State (prev. 1)
The Buckeyes are 4-0 without any major injuries heading into B1G play, they finally have a full-time starting quarterback who just threw for a career-high 288 yards and the defense doesn’t appear to have a weak link. Slow offensive starts aside, the Buckeyes are still the toughest team to beat in college football.