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Big Ten Power Rankings: Penn State still standing tall after their win over Hawkeyes

Penn State asserts itself as the top-team in the conference while Iowa bumps themselves up in a tough loss to highlight this weeks power rankings inside the Big Ten Conference.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn't easy for Penn State to walk out of Kinnick Stadium with a win, but who really expected it to be?

A very middling Iowa team came to life in the fourth quarter with the lights on, something that has happened so many times in the past. It looked as if they had their next culprit to upset.

The Nittany Lions weren't having it. They beat Iowa on the last play of the game with a touchdown pass from Trace McSorley to Juwan Johnson, solidifying themselves as not only a top-team in the Big Ten, but also the country.

Iowa in their loss was convincing, while Michigan State was not. Other than that, the conference stayed around the same order at the top with some minor shifting along the bottom. With that being said, here’s how the power rankings stack up after week four.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Iowa Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

No. 1 Penn State Nittany Lions (1st last week): Beat Iowa 21-19

4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten

Yes, Iowa isn't a top-tier team in the Big Ten. Yes, it took until the last play of the game for PSU to get the victory. None of that matters when it comes to this team being for real or not. Iowa is simply not an easy place to win at and a night game just amplifies their crowd and lessens the visitors odds. Saquon Barkley is making a case to be one of the best players in the country after his outstanding performance against the Hawkeyes. The offense as a whole drove the length of the field in a do-or-die situation against an Iowa defense that held them in check all night. Their confidence is only growing and this win is impressive, even if it doesn't look as good on paper.

No. 2 Wisconsin Badgers (2nd last week): Bye week

3-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

The Badgers were off this weekend and the teams behind them in the standings still haven't showed enough to jump them quite yet. Wisconsin’s offense being led by Alex Hornibrook has looked very solid so far this season and it shouldn't change against Northwestern this upcoming weekend. Lock them in as a favorite to make the Big Ten Championship game for now, but an upset soon wouldn't be a surprise.

NCAA Football: Michigan at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

No. 3 Michigan Wolverines (3rd last week): Beat Purdue 28-10

4-0 overall, 1-0 Big Ten

Disaster would be a great word to describe the way the afternoon started for the Michigan Wolverines. The offense continued to look sluggish when quarterback Wilton Speight was banged up on a questionable hit after he was knocked down.

However, John O’Korn came in and stole the show. After struggling to find any success after an early touchdown drive, he ended the game with three-straight touchdowns to put the Boilermakers away. He may be the new guy that Michigan goes with to run the offense even if Speight comes back healthy.

Either way, Michigan’s offense still has plenty of time to figure itself out with how the defense is playing, allowing just 12 yards to Purdue’s confident offense in the second half.

No. 4 Ohio State Buckeyes (4th last week): Beat UNLV 54-21

3-1 overall, 1-0 Big Ten

Ohio State couldn't have had a better platter put out in front of them after the embarrassing loss to Oklahoma. The Buckeyes steamrolled UNLV 54-21 on Saturday and probably won’t slow down against Rutgers this upcoming weekend.

Regardless of how they play against the Scarlet Knights, it will take a loss from the teams in front of them to move up before their game versus PSU on Oct. 28. J.T. Barrett and this offense has looked good most of the season, but their only “real” defense they played against shut them down when it mattered.

No. 5 Iowa Hawkeyes (5th last week): Lost to Penn State 21-19

3-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten

Losing never looks good and will never be good enough for most teams as close as Iowa was to winning against PSU, but there are positives to be drawn from this performance.

The Hawkeyes’ defense was impressive, holding the Nittany Lions dynamic-duo in check for most of the game. This team probably won’t compete for a conference crown this season, but they would sure love to knock it off someone’s head. If they get another chance, they will more than likely be determined to do just that and give their fans what they were so close to having on Saturday night.

Michigan v Purdue Photo by Joe Robbins/Getty Images

No. 6 Purdue Boilermakers (8th last week): Lost to Michigan 28-10

2-2 overall, 0-1 Big Ten

Sure, Michigan shut out the Boilermakers in the second half of this game. It wasn't a good look for them, but the Wolverines will more than likely do that to a lot of teams this season. There is still a lot of real Big Ten talent on this team and Jeff Brohm still has time to make something out of this team. A 28-10 loss looks bad, but this team has some fight and won’t be easy for anyone to take down.

No. 7 Minnesota Golden Gophers (9th last week): Bye week

3-0 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

The Gophers were another team off this weekend, which probably is a good thing for new head coach P.J. Fleck as he prepares for the Big Ten schedule. With winnable games nearing against Maryland, PU and MSU in the following weeks, we will know just what kind of team Minnesota really is by taking care of business or not.

No. 8 Indiana Hoosiers (10th last week): Beat Georgia Southern 52-17

2-1 overall, 0-1 Big Ten

Indiana’s offense seems like enough to keep them relevant as a team not take as a joke within the conference. However, we may or may not all be laughing after their trip to Happy Valley this Saturday. After competing with the Buckeyes and beating lesser competition by a respectable margin, they move up a pair of spots in this weeks ranks. Next week will truly tell the tale of what this team can be.

NCAA Football: Towson at Maryland
Freshman quarterback Kasim Hill will be out for the season
Mitch Stringer-USA TODAY Sports

No. 9 Maryland Terrapins (6th last week): Lost to UCF 38-10

2-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

We all bit on Maryland being a team that could actually make some serious noise this year after beating Texas in week one. Now, reality has taken them back to earth. UCF blew out the Terrapins 38-10 and they lost freshman quarterback Kasim Hill to injury, putting them in a major hole with both QB’s out. College Park may be in a real struggle to find confidence again in this team if Hill can’t go moving forward.

No. 10 Northwestern Wildcats (11th last week): Bye week

2-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

Once again the bye week came in to help the Wildcats move up a spot do to other teams losing in front of them. They aren’t quite ahead of Maryland yet, but with the quarterback situation, the Terrapins won’t be there much longer. They get Wisconsin on the road this week, so a bye week to get some problems straight is just what the Wildcats needed. A win over the Badgers and suddenly Pat Fitzgerald’s group looks like contenders, but that is much easier said than done.

NCAA Football: Notre Dame at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

No. 11 Michigan State Spartans (7th last week): Lost to Notre Dame 38-18

2-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

MAC competition isn't quite the level of a team like Notre Dame and the mistakes MSU has been making was much easier to hide in the first couple weeks. Coming off a bye, this is a really bad look for Mark Dantonio and company. His program needed this win, not 51 pass attempts and playing from behind all night. With Iowa at home then trips to UM and Minnesota, the head coach could be facing some tough questions moving forward if they can’t get a couple wins in that stretch.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 12 Nebraska Cornhuskers (14th last week): Beat Rutgers 27-17

2-2 overall, 1-0 Big Ten

For what it means, the Corn Huskers aren’t the worst team in the conference, or at least they can’t be after beating a team ahead of them in Rutgers. Firing athletic director Shawn Eichorst was a step in the right direction, but barely beating the Scarlet Knights doesn't say much. Quarterback Tanner Lee doesn't seem to be the guy they need to lead a turnaround this season, and if that holds true, Mike Riley might be facing a hot seat.

No. 13 Illinois (13th last week): Bye week

2-1 overall, 0-0 Big Ten

The fighting Illini have only lost to a ranked opponent this season in USF. So for whatever that means, they will stay put in the rankings since they didn't play. Their defense has allowed 433 yards per game and getting two wins against opponents they should be better than doesnt say much good for the young nucleus they posses. It will be a long year in Champaign.

NCAA Football: Rutgers at Nebraska Bruce Thorson-USA TODAY Sports

No. 14 Rutgers Scarlet Knights (12th last week): Lost to Nebraska 27-17

1-3 overall, 0-1 Big Ten

Numbers can occasionally speak for themselves, and in this case that would be true. The loss to Nebraska (while they did put up a fight) has to move them back to the bottom. This team has showed progress with some young players in the future but right now, imaging a good season for the Scarlet Knights is a long shot. Head coach Chris Ash hasn't beaten a FBS team since New Mexico on Sept. 17, 2016. That’s enough to understand they have a long road ahead.