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Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 4

We learned a whole lot about the Big Ten last week.

Ohio State v Indiana Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

Michigan may have had a bye week, but the rest of the Big Ten sure had a heck of a weekend. Here’s our fourth edition of Big Ten Power Rankings:

14. Rutgers 1-1 (Last Week: 14)

Rutgers had a bye as well last week, and that’s a good thing, because you can’t lose to a bye week.

13. Illinois 2-1 (Last Week: 10)

It appears I was too generous to Illinois last week. The Illini laid an egg against Eastern Michigan and lost, which I think makes Eastern a team the Big Ten should avoid scheduling

12. Purdue 1-2 (Last Week: 11)

Purdue got pounded at home by TCU last week, dropping the Boilermakers to 1-2 on the year. They get a bye this week, but a loss to Minnesota next would put this team in a really tough spot to make a bowl game.

11. Nebraska 2-1 (Last Week: 12)

This is where things get difficult. You could have Nebraska, Indiana, Minnesota and Maryland all draw straws to determine their order in these rankings, as all have looked about equal. I’ll keep Nebraska at the bottom, but there’s very little separation between teams 8-11.

10. Indiana 2-1 (Last Week: 9)

I really thought the Hoosiers would put up a better fight against Ohio State, but it was a bloodbath. Granted, IU was forced to play its backup quarterback after it was revealed starter Michael Penix Jr. would miss the game with an injury, but 51-10 is 51-10.

9. Minnesota 3-0 (Last Week: 13)

I truly don’t know what to think of Minnesota (you could say the same for Maryland). On one hand, three straight wins is great, especially when you consider one was on the road in Fresno. But on the other hand, they’ve all been extremely close games and the Gophers haven’t exactly looked good. We’ll learn a little more in two weeks when they play Purdue, but with Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska, Rutgers and Maryland next up, there’s a real chance this team starts 8-0 (and finishes 8-4).

8. Maryland 2-1 (Last Week: 8)

Maryland should go down in the rankings, but I just didn’t feel comfortable moving anyone up. Losing to Temple is rough. It also shows this team isn’t as good as it looked during the first two games.

7. Michigan State 2-1 (Last Week: 6)

The Spartans showed us Saturday that the offense and coaching just isn’t good enough to get it done. Losing 10-7 to Arizona State is brutal and the way it happened was quite stunning. Mark Dantonio deserves 100 percent of the blame for the loss. Major changes are needed on offense or this team is headed for 7-5 and will completely waste its terrific defense.

6. Northwestern 1-1 (Last Week: 7)

The Wildcats finally got their first win of the season after getting a week two bye. Hunter Johnson accounted for two touchdowns, one rushing and one passing to lead the way. The running game also looked good in the 30-14 win over UNLV.

5. Penn State 3-0 (Last Week: 4)

Two weeks in a row now Penn State has looked bad. It barely escaped with a win over a hapless Pitt program and frankly should be receiving the same treatment Michigan is nationally, yet of course, Penn State didn’t drop three spots in the polls.

4. Michigan 2-0 (Last Week: 3)

Michigan dropping to fourth is really only a product of Iowa grabbing a big win. The Wolverines didn’t do anything during their off week to make me think of them any differently. It’s quite simple here: beat Wisconsin and U-M jumps right back into the top two in these rankings.

3. Iowa 3-0 (Last Week: 5)

Rivalry games are always difficult. Rivalry games against a good team on the road are even tougher. Despite the challenges, Iowa held off Iowa State in a slug-fest, 18-17. It wasn’t pretty, but this is the best win a Big Ten team has pulled off so far this season. It’s enough to move the Hawkeyes into third (for now).

2. Wisconsin 2-0 (Last Week: 2)

The Badgers sat at home this week and prepared for Michigan. They’ve outscored opponents 110-0 so far this season. This may be Michigan’s second-toughest game of the year.

1. Ohio State 3-0 (Last Week: 1)

We all knew Ohio State was good, but they looked unstoppable against Indiana — a team that was supposed to be one of the better squads in the bottom half of the Big Ten. The offense with Justin Fields is as good as ever and the defense is top notch. Everything runs through Columbus for now.