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Spartan Nation's Big Ten Power Rankings — Week 4

Michigan State is the only Big Ten East team with a loss following Week 3's defeat at the hands of Washington

It was another rough weekend of out-of-conference games for the Big Ten Conference, with four programs falling in Week 3, including one which lost to an FCS program.

The West division went 3-3 on Saturday, while the East division went 6-1 for the weekend. As a result, we've got movement in our latest Big Ten Power Rankings.

These rankings are based on short-term results and momentum. They do not reflect where I expect each Big Ten program to finish in the league standings. Instead, power rankings are mostly based what each program has looked like recently.

Without further ado, let’s get started:

14.) Nebraska

Last Week: 14
Week 3 result: Loss, 49-14, vs. Oklahoma
Record: 1-3
Comments: It's going to be a long season in Lincoln. The Cornhuskers were completely overmatched and out-classed by their traditional Big 12 rivals from Oklahoma. It was Nebraska's first game after the firing of head coach Scott Frost, and it resulted in defensive coordinator Eric Chanander being fired as well. It's hard to imagine things getting much better for the Huskers in 2022.

Next Opponent: Indiana (3-0)

13.) Northwestern

Last Week: 13
Week 3 result: Loss, 31-24, vs. Southern Illinois
Record: 1-2
Comments: The only thing keeping the Wildcats out of the basement of the our Big Ten Power Rankings is the fact that they beat the No. 14 team on our list. On Saturday, Northwestern lost at home to an FCS opponent that went 8-5 a year ago. After a 3-9 record last season, it doesn't look like this program has improved much.

Next Opponent: Miami, Ohio (1-2)

12.) Illinois

Last Week: 11
Week 3 result: Bye Week
Record: 2-1
Comments: The Fighting Illini were idle in Week 3, as they enjoyed an extra bye due to playing a Week 0 game against Wyoming. Illinois has one more tune-up game before they jump back into Big Ten play in two weeks.

Next Opponent: Chattanooga (2-0)

11.) Indiana

Last Week: 10
Week 3 result: Win, 33-30, vs. Western Kentucky
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Hoosiers trailed for 40:15 out of 60 minutes against the Hilltoppers, but Indiana forced overtime with a touchdown and two-point conversion with 47 seconds left in the game. The Hoosiers would go on to win in OT to preserve their unblemished record. Indiana will have to play much better this week in order to beat the Bearcats, however.

Next Opponent: Cincinnati (2-1)

10.) Iowa

Last Week: 12
Week 3 result: Win, 27-0, vs. Nevada
Record: 2-1
Comments: The Hawkeyes' defense continues to play at an elite level, having surrendered a total of 13 points through three games in 2022. Iowa's much-maligned offense still didn't set the world on fire, but it was improved in Week 3 against Nevada.

Next Opponent: Rutgers (3-0)

9.) Purdue

Last Week: 6
Week 3 result: Loss, 32-29, at Syracuse
Record: 1-2
Comments: I like Jeff Brohm, but you can make a strong argument that both of the Boilermakers' losses this season have come down to poor coaching. After Purdue took the lead with 51 seconds left, both Brohm and a player both got unsportsmanlike conduct penalties, which resulted in the Boilers having to kick off from their own 10 yard line. The Orangeman started their game-winning drive from midfield, and Purdue's defensive scheme allowed a corner to get beat over the top for the winning touchdown. This was just a complete mental breakdown for the Boilermakers.

Next Opponent: FAU (2-2)

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8.) Rutgers

Last Week: 9
Week 3 result: Win, 16-14, at Temple
Record: 3-0
Comments: It wasn't pretty, but the Scarlet Knights stayed perfect on the year with a road win at Temple in Week 3. Rutgers has enjoyed a soft non-conference schedule, but we'll find out more about this team when Big Ten play kicks off next week.

Next Opponent: Iowa (2-1)

7.) Maryland

Last Week: 8
Week 3 result: Win, 34-27, vs. SMU
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Terrapins finished their non-conference slate unscathed with a one possession win over a respectable program in SMU. We've seen Maryland role through its out-of-conference games only to fall flat against Big Ten opponents in the past. Is there any reason to expect 2022 to be different?

Next Opponent: Michigan (3-0)

6.) Wisconsin

Last Week: 7
Week 3 result: Win, 66-7, vs. New Mexico State
Record: 2-1
Comments: After suffering an upset loss in Week 2, the Badgers bounced back with a beatdown of one of the worst programs in the FBS. The competitive gap between Wisconsin's Week 3 opponent and its Week 4 opponent is immeasurable, as the Badgers head to Columbus this Saturday.

Next Opponent: Ohio State (3-0)

5.) Michigan State

Last Week: 3
Week 3 result: Loss, 39-28, at Washington
Record: 2-1
Comments: Old, familiar problems reared their ugly head again for the Spartans in Seattle, and Michigan State came back to East Lansing with yet another West Coast defeat. The Spartans still have issues in their defensive secondary, and the lack of depth and high-end talent along the offensive line was evident as well. Things don't get any easier for MSU this week, as they host my pick to win the Big Ten's West division.

Next Opponent: Minnesota (3-0)

4.) Minnesota

Last Week: 4
Week 3 result: Win, 49-7, vs. Colorado
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Golden Gophers non-conference schedule featured three well-below-average teams, but Minnesota beat those teams in the fashion that one would expect a good team to beat them. The Gophers are my pick to represent the West division in the Big Ten Championship game, and their game this week in East Lansing is one that every fan of this conference should tune in for.

Next Opponent: Michigan State (2-1)

3.) Michigan

Last Week: 2
Week 3 result: Win, 59-0, vs. UConn
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Wolverines concluded their stroll through perhaps the worst non-conference schedule of any Power 5 program with another blowout win of a hapless opponent. Michigan enters conference play by hosting the Terrapins, with a Week 5 trip to dreaded Kinnick Stadium looming.

Next Opponent: Maryland (3-0)

2.) Ohio State

Last Week: 1
Week 3 result: Win, 77-21, vs. Toledo
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Buckeyes' offense looked like that old, familiar juggernaut that it's been since Ryan Day came to Columbus as Urban Meyer's offensive coordinator. Ohio State scored 11 touchdowns against one of the preseason favorites to win the Mid-American Conference. We'll see how good that offense performs in Week 4 against what has traditionally been one of the top defensive programs in the conference for the past 30 seasons. The only reason the Buckeyes dropped a spot this week is because their Week 1 win over Notre Dame is looking less and less impressive each week, and the team that jumped OSU went down to SEC country in Week 3 and came home with a win.

Next Opponent: Wisconsin (2-1)

1.) Penn State

Last Week: 5
Week 3 result: Win, 41-12, at Auburn
Record: 3-0
Comments: The Nittany Lions went down to Auburn this past weekend and put an absolute whopping on an SEC team in their own building. Even though the Tigers are expected to finish near the bottom of the SEC West, that's arguably the toughest division in college football, and what Penn State did was mighty impressive. The Nittany Lions return home to face a MAC opponent, before returning to Big Ten play in Week 5.

Next Opponent: Central Michigan (1-2)