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Big Ten power rankings after four weeks of play: The bottom is very difficult to figure out

The bottom of the league is trying to out-stink each other.

NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

The fourth week of Big Ten action has wrapped up and the conference standings are really starting to solidify. It seems as if every team doubled down on its identity this weekend and put a stamp on what it appears they will be the rest of the season.

Next week should be a blast with the top four teams in the conference facing off against each other this weekend, which will no doubt shake up the pecking order heading into next week.

After another week of games, here is the latest batch of power rankings.

1. Ohio State (3-0, Last week: 1)

OSU did not play this week after Maryland canceled due to COVID within the program. There’s nothing to suggest they are in danger of losing this spot.

2. Wisconsin (2-0, Last week: 4)

The Badgers finally got a chance to get back on the field after two weeks off and sandblasted the Wolverines in every phase of the game on Saturday night. Next up is a game with Northwestern for the top spot in the West division.

3. Indiana (4-0, Last week: 2)

Indiana is finally getting its wish on Saturday with a trip to Ohio State. This is a very good football team, but its four wins have arguably come against four of the worst teams in the conference. It’s time to see what they’ve got.

4. Northwestern (4-0, Last week: 3)

Nothing about what Northwestern does is pretty, but they continue to get the job done. Wisconsin looms in what will be one of the games of the weekend in this conference.

5. Maryland (2-1, Last week: 5)

Maryland did not play this week and as of now, their game against Michigan State this weekend is up in the air. There’s no reason to penalize them here.

6. Purdue (2-1, Last week: 6)

The Boilermakers fell victim to a hot Northwestern team this past weekend and are probably screwed in the hunt for the West title with their game against Wisconsin being canceled a few weeks back. It might take some chaos to get back into the hunt, but anything is possible.

7. Iowa (2-2, Last week: 7)

Iowa has followed an 0-2 start by destroying both Michigan State and Minnesota the last few weeks. They are what their record says they are, which puts them in the middle of the conference pecking order.

8. Nebraska (1-2, Last week: 9)

For as much as we like to dunk on Scott Frost and Nebraska, this team competes and plays hard and was able to get its first win of the year against a hapless Penn State team. They have a chance to do some damage down the stretch and go into 2021 with some sort of momentum.

9. Illinois (1-3, Last week: 14)

This is the part of the rankings where I’ll probably get roasted, but the bottom six teams in this conference are all so bad right now. With that in mind, I’ve decided to put the teams who have actually played competitive games recently near the top of the bad pile. It took some late heroics, but Illinois avoided a disastrous 0-4 start with a win over Rutgers on Saturday.

10. Rutgers (1-3, Last week: 13)

Greg Schiano has this team playing hard and competing. It’s very possible that their opening week win over MSU will be the only one they have all season, but they are not going to go down without a fight. They host Michigan on Saturday.

11. Michigan State (1-3, Last week: 11)

MSU has had a single game this year where it looked like it came to play (shocking!). Outside of that, you could make the argument they have looked like the worst team in the conference and one of the worst power five squads in the country.

12. Michigan (1-3, Last week: 12)

Once again, there’s nothing to be said here that has not been said already. If they lose to Rutgers and MSU in the same season, this site might need a new managing editor after its current one spontaneously combusts.

13. Minnesota (1-3, Last week: 8)

The honeymoon I have been accused of having with this program by our commenters is officially over. But thank you for the week of happiness that you let us have to start the season, Coach Fleck.

14. Penn State (0-4, Last week: 13)

Penn State might be the biggest anomaly here and one can make the argument they should be ranked higher, but the only 0-4 team in the conference is where it deserves to be right now. We’ll see if they can turn it around against Iowa this weekend before a trip to Ann Arbor next week.