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Spartan Nation's Big Ten Power Rankings — Week 5

Michigan State is trending down in our power rankings after back-to-back losses...

The Big Ten Conference dropped two more nonconference games again this week, but most programs started league play in Week 4 of the college football season.

As a result, there's more movement in our weekly 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 4 result: Bye Week
Record: 1-3
Comments: The Cornhuskers had a much-needed bye week this past weekend, but I'm not sure how much it will help this program. This is already a lost season for Nebraksa, who has fired its head coach and defensive coordinator. The most interesting thing the Cornhuskers will do in 2022 is decide who will be the next guy to lead the program.

Next Opponent: Indiana (3-0)

13.) Northwestern

Last Week: 13
Week 4 result: Loss, 17-14, vs. Miami (OH)
Record: 1-3
Comments: Man, this is a terrible football team. Once again, the only thing keeping the Wildcats out of the Big Ten cellar is the fact that they beat Nebraska in Ireland. Since then, Northwestern has lost to Duke, Southern Illinois and Miami (OH). The Wildcats may not win again this season, and Pat Fitzgerald needs to make drastic changes to his coaching staff, particularly on offense.

Next Opponent: Penn State (4-0)

12.) Illinois

Last Week: 12
Week 4 result: Win, 31-0, vs. Chattanooga
Record: 3-1
Comments: The Fighting Illini are half way to bowl eligibility after going 3-0 in nonconference play, and Illinois is a three-point loss to Indiana away from being unbeaten on the year. Illini tailback Chase Brown leads the FBS in rushing yards, and this program is slowly starting to resemble those old, Bret Bielema-coached Wisconsin teams from the early 2010s.

Next Opponent: Wisconsin (2-2)

11.) Indiana

Last Week: 11
Week 4 result: Loss, 45-24, at Cincinnati
Record: 3-1
Comments: The Hoosiers suffered their first loss of the season this week at Cincinnati. Indiana fell behind 38-10 in the first half and was clearly outclassed by the Bearcats. This Hoosier team is better than the one Tom Allen trouted out on to the field last season, but there's still a large gap between Illinois and the best of the Big Ten.

Next Opponent: Nebraska (1-3)

10.) Purdue

Last Week: 9
Week 4 result: Win, 28-26, vs. FAU
Record: 2-2
Comments: The Boilermakers got a win this weekend but didn't look very good in the process, therefore, they drop a spot. Purdue has been a strange team in 2022. They blew a late lead in Week 1 vs. Penn State, blew another lead against Syracuse and then barely squeaked out a victory over FAU. Things just aren't clicking well in West Lafayette right now.

Next Opponent: Minnesota (4-0)

9.) Rutgers

Last Week: 8
Week 4 result: Loss, 27-10, vs. Iowa
Record: 3-1
Comments: Turnovers were costly for the Scarlet Knights this weekend, as Rutgers surrendered 14 points to the Hawkeyes' defense. Greg Schiano's team has looked a little better than expected early this season, but they are about to run into a buzz saw this upcoming weekend in Columbus.

Next Opponent: Ohio State (4-0)

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8.) Iowa

Last Week: 8
Week 4 result: Win, 27-10, at Rutgers
Record: 3-1
Comments: The Hawkeyes are slowing creeping their way back up our power rankings. Iowa has won back-to-back wins following their loss to rival Iowa State. The Hawkeyes are still dreadful offensively — 14 of their 27 points scored vs. Rutgers were supplied by the defense. Can Iowa conjure up some Kinnick Stadium magic this coming weekend with another Top 5 team coming to Iowa City?

Next Opponent: Michigan (4-0)

7.) Wisconsin

Last Week: 6
Week 4 result: Loss, 52-21, at Ohio State
Record: 2-2
Comments: The Badgers were no match for the Buckeyes in Columbus this past weekend. Wisconsin fell behind 45-7 through three quarters before scoring a couple courtesy touchdowns in the final frame. We're used to seeing the Badgers at least put up a fight against the Buckeyes but after that performance, and the home loss to Washington State earlier this season, I'm starting to wonder how good this Wisconsin team really is.

Next Opponent: Illinois (3-1)

6.) Michigan State

Last Week: 5
Week 4 result: Loss, 34-7, vs. Minnesota
Record: 2-2
Comments: The Spartans were manhandled at home by the Golden Gophers and panic is starting to ensue in East Lansing. I think by the end of the season we'll look back and realize that Washington and Minnesota are much better football teams than anyone expected, but that doesn't change the fact that Michigan State still has major issues in the back end of its defense and at offensive line. The Spartans now heads to College Park for another game that appears to be tougher than anyone expected it to be this offseason.

Next Opponent: Maryland (3-1)

5.) Maryland

Last Week: 7
Week 4 result: Loss, 34-27, at Michigan
Record: 3-1
Comments: The Terrapins weren't able to pull of the upset in Ann Arbor, but they made the Maize and Blue faithful sweat it out this weekend in the Big House. Maryland was able to protect QB Taulia Tagovailoa well against Michigan's pass rush, and it resulted in a a decent day for the Terps' offense. Maryland now gets set to host an important game in College Park for both programs.

Next Opponent: Michigan State (2-2)

4.) Michigan

Last Week: 3
Week 4 result: Win, 34-27, vs. Maryland
Record: 4-0
Comments: The Wolverines got more of a test than they expected from Maryland, and it revealed some issues that they need to address. Michigan was not able to get any pass rush against Maryland's Taulia Tagovailoa, and the Wolverines were a little soft against the run as well. The Wolverines are very talented, but we still don't know exactly how good this football team is yet. Michigan should expect another challenge this week when they travel to Kinnick Stadium, or as I like to call it, "the place where Top 5 teams go to die".

Next Opponent: Iowa (3-1)

3.) Minnesota

Last Week: 4
Week 4 result: Win, 34-7, at Michigan State
Record: 4-0
Comments: The Golden Gophers have emerged as the favorite to win the Big Ten West division. Minnesota was my preseason pick to win the West, and they've done nothing but solidify my opinion. The Gophers are a tough, physical football team with an excellent offensive line, and they have one of the best tailbacks in college football in Mo Ibrahim. Minnesota is a good football team, and they have a favorable schedule going forward. At this point, I'd be surprised if they didn't reach double-digit wins in 2022.

Next Opponent: Purdue (2-2)

2.) Penn State

Last Week: 1
Week 4 result: Win, 33-14, vs. Central Michigan
Record: 4-0
Comments: The Nittany Lions played with their food a little bit against the Chippewas, leading just 21-14 at halftime. Penn State tightened up in the second half however, and put some distance between themselves and their opponent from the Mid-American Conference. Coming off a big win over Auburn, maybe the Nittany Lions were a little too overconfident this week. Regardless, they won comfortably and will be a big favorite again at home this week.

Next Opponent: Northwestern (1-3)

1.) Ohio State

Last Week: 2
Week 4 result: Win, 52-21, vs. Wisconsin
Record: 4-0
Comments: The Buckeyes looked scary good in an absolute beatdown at home against Wisconsin. After taking a couple weeks to fine tune its offense, Ohio State has been unstoppable on that side of the ball in each of the last two weeks. This is clearly one of the three best teams in America through four weeks, and they reclaim the top spot in our power rankings for Week 5. Can anyone beat the Buckeyes in Big Ten play this season?

Next Opponent: Rutgers (3-1)