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Big Ten Power Rankings - Week 3

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An ugly week around the conference shakes some things up

Photo by Justin Casterline/Getty Images

That was not a very good week for the league. Five teams lost, another four teams won in less than stellar fashion, and OSU demolished Indiana. Having a bye may have been a good thing this week.

As a reminder, this isn’t a ranking of teams based on record, or place in the polls, but rather my assessment of how the teams are playing at the time. If two teams met on a neutral field and played 100 times, a team that wins 51 times gets ranked ahead of the team that wins 49 times.

Let’s see what we got this week, shall we?

1. Ohio State

With virtually no room for argument, OSU is the best team in the conference. There’s a steep drop off after the Buckeyes, who wiped out Indiana 51-10.

2. Wisconsin

By virtue of not playing, and thus not looking like butt, Wisconsin has climbed into the #2 spot. Truthfully they may have deserved it after week 2, but the Badgers move up with a bye.

3. Penn State

So yeah, that was not the best game the Lions have ever played. It’s a rivalry, and Pitt’s Super Bowl, but the offensive line couldn’t block and the defensive line couldn’t get to the quarterback. Missed explosive plays on offense, and allowed explosive plays on defense. But, a win is a win, and the Lions head to the bye at 3-0.

4. Iowa

Another ugly rivalry game saw the Hawkeyes beat Iowa State 18-17. The Cyclones actually would have had a chance at driving for a game winning field goal, but their blocker ran into the punt returner late in the game, and Iowa recovered the fumble to seal the win. Again, 3-0 is 3-0.

5. Michigan

The Wolverines stand pat on the bye week.

6. Northwestern

So after the top five, SOMEBODY needs to be ranked, so I guess it’ll be Northwestern. They, too, looked lackluster in a 30-14 win over UNLV, but a win is a win.

7. Maryland

The Terrapins, not unlike Icarus, rose too far too fast in these rankings, even getting a top 25 spot in the AP Poll, only to lose 20-17 to Temple. The Terps get the bye and will then take on Penn State on a Friday night, so we’ll see which team uses the bye better.

8. Michigan State

I knew it was just a matter of time before Sparty got exposed, but I actually thought they could get past Arizona State. Alas, the Sun Devils got the 10-7 win, and MSU continues to fall in these rankings.

9. Nebraska

And now we’re into the bottom tier of the league, and again, SOMEBODY needs to be ranked down here, so it might as well be the Cornhuskers, who won 44-8 over Northern Illinois. The best performance in the worst tier of the conference.

10. Minnesota

The Gophers just don’t want to do much in these rankings. A 35-32 win over Georgia Southern should be enough to drop them in the rankings, but everyone around them wants to be worse.

11. Indiana

Smacked down by Ohio State to the tune of 51-10. We’ll see whether the Hoosiers can bounce back next week.

12. Purdue

I thought TCU was underrated heading into their tilt with the Boilermakers, and the purple frogs got a 34-13 win. Again, Purdue Pete would fall in these rankings but for other teams vying for the last spot.

13. Illinois

There are losses, and then there are 34-31 losses to Eastern Michigan. When will Big Ten teams learn not to schedule EMU?

14. Rutgers

Rutgers on a bye is still worse than Illinois losing to EMU.


And now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for, your updated standings!

OSU at the top, and Wisconsin climbs thanks to poor performances by Penn State and Iowa. Michigan rounds out the top five, and the top tier. Northwestern moves up by virtue of losses above them, with Maryland and Michigan State falling. The bottom tier kicks off with Nebraska, followed by Minnesota, Indiana, and Purdue. Illinois wants to be in last place, but Rutgers.

Let’s see what week four brings us!