The third week of Big Ten action has wrapped up and the conference standings look even crazier than the week before. There are usual contenders currently occupying the spaces that bottom feeders take, while some of the mid-tier teams are pushing for a seat at the table at the top of the conference.
After another week of games, here is the fourth edition of the power rankings.
1. Ohio State (3-0, Last week: 1)
No surprises here other than perhaps Rutgers looking competitive, relatively speaking, and covering the spread. This is still the class of the conference and when they decide to put the foot on the accelerator, it’s likely they run through this season unblemished.
2. Indiana (3-0, Last week: 2)
We had Indiana in this spot last week, but clearly it proved worthy of staying there after a 17-point win over Michigan, it’s first since 1987. There might not be a better-coached team in the conference right now and there is real momentum here.
3. Northwestern (3-0, Last week: 3)
It has not been pretty for the Wildcats, but that defense came up big again over the weekend and held on for a 21-13 win over Nebraska. The race out West is a two-horse race (potentially three if Wisconsin plays enough games to qualify).
4. Wisconsin (1-0, Last week: 4)
Wisconsin did not play again last week, but stays at fourth once again. They will return to the field against Michigan and their ceiling depends on who is able to be on the field after the COVID outbreak. If Mertz returns, that might be good enough for them this weekend. They need to play six games to qualify for the Big Ten title game.
5. Maryland (2-1, Last week: 9)
There are currently two teams in the Big Ten who appear to be the exact opposite of what they showed in their opener. Michigan is on the wrong side of that, but Maryland has followed up a blowout loss at Northwestern with wins, and big offensive outputs, against Minnesota and Penn State. Taulia Tagavailoa and Rakim Jarrett are starting to heat up and that could be trouble for the rest of the East.
6. Purdue (2-0, Last week: 5)
The Boilermakers slid a spot after not playing this week. We will see how they fare this upcoming weekend and if Rondale Moore is able to return to action against Northwestern.
7. Iowa (1-2, Last week: 10)
The Hawkeyes blew the barn doors off of the Michigan State Spartans this week by a score of 49-7. It might be too late for them to get back into the hunt in the West, but there’s still some juice here. Also, how bad is Michigan?
8. Minnesota (1-2, Last week: 12)
The Gophers are a much better team than they proved early on In the season and got back on track with a win over Illinois. Mohamed Ibrahim is very quietly putting together one of the best individual seasons in the conference this year.
9. Nebraska (0-2, Last week: 11)
Nebraska has now played the two best teams in each division the first two weeks of the year and played them both pretty competitively, relatively speaking. I think they will keep getting better as more games are played.
11. Michigan State (1-2, Last week: 7)
MSU has looked like the worst team in the Big Ten in two of the three games it has played this weekend, which makes what happened in Ann Arbor even more disappointing if you’re a Michigan fan.
12. Michigan (1-2, Last week: 8)
This is not a good football team and things are not getting any better with Wisconsin on the schedule this week. This has to be considered a must-win inside that building or else things could really start to get ugly around here.
13. Rutgers (1-2, Last week: 13)
I was really close to putting Rutgers over Michigan and MSU for the fact that they played a closer game against Ohio State than I expect our teams from the Mitten State to do. This is not a good football team, but they fight and piss you off with how hard they play. Greg Schiano is definitely back.
13. Penn State (0-3, Last week: 6)
Oof. Penn State had a rough go of it the first two weeks with Indiana and Ohio State on the schedule, but the loss to Maryland was brutal for them. Their fall this season is about as stunning as anyone else’s across the country.
14. Illinois (0-3, Last week: 14)
Things are not getting better here. Sadly, this might be the best team they have in the next couple of years.