Skip to main content

Big Ten Power Rankings – Week 4

On the verge of Michigan's fourth week, Wolverine Digest broke out its latest power rankings.

Week 3 of Big Ten play provided some surprising results, and a few others that played out just as expected. There was a good deal of movement in this week’s edition of Power Rankings.

Let’s get started…

1. Ohio State

Previous Rank: 1

Result: Win, 49-27 over Rutgers

Recap: Another week, same old story. The Buckeyes continue to roll, this time over Rutgers. Justin Fields has played like every bit of the Heisman contender that he is. This conference belongs to Ohio State until otherwise proven.

Next Opponent: Away at Maryland

2. Indiana

Previous Rank: 3

Result: Win, 38-21 over Michigan

Recap: The Hoosiers might be the surprise college football team of the year for 2020. Indiana has been close time and again to making a breakthrough under head coach Tom Allen, and it looks like this is finally the season it all comes together. After knocking off Penn State to start the season, the Hoosiers got their first win over Michigan since 1987 this past weekend. It appears Indiana will be the Buckeyes top challenger in the Big Ten East this season. Who could’ve predicted that?

Next Opponent: Away at Michigan State

3. Wisconsin

Previous Rank: 2

Result: DNP, game vs. Purdue cancelled

Recap: The Badgers have been off for two weeks due to a COVID-19 outbreak within the program, but there is optimism that Wisconsin will be able to return to action this weekend in Ann Arbor. If the Badgers can make the trip, it will be interesting to see who is available to play, at the quarterback position in particular. Redshirt Graham Mertz was phenomenal in his debut against Illinois in Week 1, but that’s all we’ve gotten to see of him thus far. It will also be interesting to see how the time off has affected Wisconsin.

Next Opponent: Away at Michigan

4. Northwestern

Previous Rank: 5

Result: Win, 21-13 over Nebraska

Recap: A turnaround season in Evanston continues, as Northwestern moved to 3-0 with a win over Nebraska. It was pretty, but wins rarely are with the Wildcats. Northwestern continues to win with defense, a dying trait in modern college football, and have established themselves as a contender in the Big Ten West. A pivotal game in the division race arrives this week, as the Wildcats hit the road to battle Purdue.

Next Opponent: Away at Purdue

5. Purdue

Previous Rank: 4

Result: DNP, game vs. Wisconsin cancelled

Recap: It’s really too bad the Boilermakers didn’t get a chance to take their shot at Wisconsin. Purdue looks like a potential contender in the Big Ten West, and that matchup would’ve been a separator in the division. But the Boilers can’t dwell on what might have been. They’ll face another contender in the West this week as they host the Wildcats.

Next Opponent: Home vs. Northwestern

6. Iowa

Previous Rank: 7

Result: Win, 49-7 over Michigan State

Recap: After a pair of close losses to open the year, the Hawkeyes took out their frustrations on a hapless Michigan State squad in Kinnick Stadium on Saturday. Iowa dominated every phase of the game, and proved that despite a 1-2 record they aren’t a team to be taken lightly. They’ll look to build some momentum this Friday with a road trip to Minneapolis.

Next Opponent: Away at Minnesota

7. Maryland

Previous Rank: 12

Result: Win, 35-19 over Penn State

Recap: Talk about a shocking result. The Terrapins scored an upset win over Minnesota in Week 2, and followed it up with an even bigger stunner by dominating Penn State on Saturday. After a rough outing in his debut, Maryland quarterback Taulia Tagovialoa has been magnificent in the last two weeks. Against the Nittany Lions, Tagovialoa thre for 282 yards and three touchdowns on 18-of-26 passing. The Terps have their work cut out for them this week as the Buckeyes head to College Park, but a winning record could be in the cards for Maryland if they continue to play well.

Scroll to Continue

Read More

Next opponent: Home vs. Ohio State

8. Rutgers

Previous rank: 9

Result: Loss, 49-27 to Ohio State

Recap: The Scarlet Knights were clearly the inferior team, but continued to show improvement despite the lopsided loss to Ohio State. Rutgers had lost the previous six matchups with the Buckeyes by an average of 46.5 points per game. Losing by three touchdowns certainly isn’t anything to beat your chest about, but the Scarlet Knights were more competitive on Saturday than they ever have been before against Ohio State.

Next Opponent:

9. Michigan State

Previous rank: 10

Result: Loss, 49-7 to Iowa

Recap: The Spartans were brought back down to Earth in a rude way in Week 3 following their big win over rival Michigan the previous week. Michigan State was never competitive against Iowa, and the turnover bug returned with three interceptions thrown by quarterback Rocky Lombardi. Mel Tucker took the first step toward rebuilding this program with the win over the Wolverines, but there is clearly a long road ahead in East Lansing.

Next Opponent: Home vs. Indiana

10. Michigan

Previous Rank: 11

Result: Loss, 38-21 to Indiana

Recap: Much like in Week 2, the Wolverines were never in control at any point of Saturday’s contest. But, unlike Michigan State, Indiana is a good football team, and Michigan found out just how big of a whole they are in this season. The offense continued to sputter, the defense continued to show it’s ineptitude in pass coverage, and the Hoosiers sent the Wolverines home with a lopsided loss. With remaining games against Wisconsin, Penn State and Ohio State, in addition to matchups against clearly-improved Rutgers and Maryland, the Wolverines are in for a long season unless improvement comes rapidly.

Next Opponent: Home vs. Wisconsin

11. Minnesota

Previous Rank: 13

Result: Win, 41-14 over Illinois

Recap: The Golden Gophers finally put one in the win column, though it came against perhaps the worst team in the conference. Still, after the way Minnesota opened the season, they’ll take a win any way they could get one. The defense showed improvement by holding the Illini to just 14 points, and things clicked offensively for the Gophers as well. This may not turn out to be the season Minnesota hoped for, but this is a step in the right direction.

Next Opponent: Home vs. Iowa

12. Penn State

Previous Rank: 6

Result: Loss, 35-19 to Maryland

Recap: I gave the Nittany Lions the benefit of the doubt after opening the season with losses to Indiana and Ohio State, but I’ve got no choice but to sink them this week after an uninspired performance against Maryland. After opening the season in the Top 10, Penn State is 0-3 to start 2020. Maybe this is the surprise team of the conference, for all the wrong reasons.

Next Opponent: Away at Nebraska

13. Nebraska

Previous Rank: 8

Result: Loss, 21-13 to Northwestern

Recap: We knew it was going to take some time, but I don’t think anybody anticipated Scott Frost would struggle like this when he returned to his alma mater two and a half years ago. The Cornhuskers are now 9-17 in his first 26 games. When Adrian Martinez arrived in Lincoln and started as a true freshman, many thought he would be a future star for Nebraska, but in Year 3 he is in danger of losing his job to freshman Luke McCaffery. Frost needs to start showing improvement, and fast.

Next Opponent: Home vs. Penn State

14. Illinois

Previous Rank: 14

Result: Loss, 41-14 to Minnesota

Recap: Yikes. The Fighting Illini were blown out by my No. 13 team in the conference in last week’s rankings. Minnesota’s defense had been an open highway against Michigan and Maryland, and yet Illinois only managed to score 14 points. The Illini are now 0-3 within their own division, and right now there isn’t much argument that this is the worst team in the Big Ten in 2020.

Next Opponent: Away at Rutgers