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YOUR STILL-WAY-TOO-EARLY BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: POST-WEEK 3

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At this point, can we really call these "Power Rankings" anymore?

Yep.
Yep.
Reese Strickland-USA TODAY Sports

The Big Ten played another weekend of football, and they still look terrible. Yeah, that's all I've got for an intro.

Because it's still early in the season, preseason projections are still heavily influencing each team's ratings. The preseason projections will slowly get stripped out, and will be fully out of each team's THOR+ rating after they have played five games.

For a refresher of how these ratings work, see here. Also, the numbers that are listed under categories ending in "vs. Avg." represent a team's projected winning percentage, number of wins out of a 12 game schedule, points per game, and points allowed per game if they were to play an average college football schedule. Finally, the categories with a "+" sign are adjusted for strength of opponent. Turnovers, you will notice are not. That's because turnovers can be highly influenced by luck. In the future, I will probably try to adjust these better for luck, but that takes some time that I don't have right now.

Post-Week 3 Power Rankings

Rank Nat'l Rank Team Offense+ Defense+ Special Teams+ THOR+ Proj. W% vs. Avg. Proj. W vs. Avg. Proj. PPG+ vs.   Avg. Proj. PPGA+ vs.   Avg.
1 #13 Ohio State 141 129 94 132 0.762 9.14 37.95 19.51
2 #17 Nebraska 125 134 125 129 0.741 8.89 34.49 18.25
3 #18 Wisconsin 132 127 112 128 0.735 8.82 36.21 19.97
4 #26 Michigan State 118 122 131 121 0.678 8.13 32.90 21.04
5 #38 Michigan 112 116 131 115 0.635 7.62 31.48 22.50
6 #39 Maryland 94 128 164 115 0.633 7.60 27.64 19.65
7 #51 Penn State 71 146 100 107 0.572 6.87 21.08 16.01
8 #56 Illinois 104 114 52 104 0.553 6.63 28.84 23.59
9 #58 Indiana 125 90 48 103 0.545 6.54 34.20 29.06
10 #61 Minnesota 94 113 84 101 0.530 6.36 26.39 23.55
11 #64 Rutgers 99 95 134 100 0.521 6.25 28.25 27.05
12 #65 Iowa 75 138 31 100 0.518 6.22 21.82 18.67
13 #73 Northwestern 81 115 74 96 0.488 5.85 23.02 22.93
14 #109 Purdue 74 65 78 70 0.292 3.51 21.65 34.49

1. Ohio State #12, 132 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#11 124 106 69 90 141 34.47
Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#24 154 105 134 134 129 15.93

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#73 59 3.48 129 3.58 94

After a 66-0 massacre of a terrible Kent State team, Ohio State jumps into the top spot in the power rankings this week. Now, Kent State is terrible this year, let's not sugarcoat things. THOR+ has them as the 117th best team in the nation this season, at 35% worse than the average FBS team, so it's not like Ohio State has a resume-worthy win here. I mean, just look at this:

Yeah, that's Kent State in a nutshell. Of course, when you do play terrible teams like Kent State, it's more impressive when you win by 66, than win by 4, or even lose. Currently, I don't think Ohio State is the best team in the conference (I'd personally give that distinction to Michigan State right now), but I don't think it's crazy to think that Ohio State is #2 or #3 even without Braxton Miller. At this point, THOR+ sees Ohio State as a true-talent 9 win team, and looking at their schedule, I don't think that's too hard to picture.

Up Next: Bye Week

2. Nebraska #17, 129 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#26 129 123 129 116 125 30.51

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#16 122 107 52 110 134 14.78

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#24 107 3.98 143 3.48 125

Speaking of beating up on lesser opponents, Nebraska moves up to #2 in the power rankings after going to Fresno State and picking up a 55-19 victory. On the one hand, THOR+ puts Fresno State at #99 in the country. On the other hand, Nebraska went on the road, two time zones away, and came away with a blowout. Through three weeks, the Fightin' Pelinis have pummeled #96 Florida Atlantic and #99 Fresno State. They also struggled with FCS McNeese State. I still have no idea what to make of this Nebraska team, but hopefully we find out more this weekend when they host the Miami Hurricanes at home.

Up Next: vs. #29 Miami (Florida)

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 72.64%

Average Score: Nebraska 31, Miami 20

3. Wisconsin #18, 128 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#15 99 127 105 108 132 32.30

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#29 100 114 100 102 127 16.35

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#47 101 3.92 124 3.62 112

The Badgers had a bye week last week, but fall to the #3 spot this week. This is because even when teams don't play, the teams that they have played in the past have played and opinions of those teams can change, league averages can change, other teams can shoot up the rankings, etc. In all honesty, it's still early in the season and it doesn't mean a whole lot, whether Wisconsin has a THOR+ rating of 132 or 128 or 56. Okay, maybe it would be pretty concerning to have a THOR+ rating of 56 at any point in the season, but 132 and 128 is just splitting hairs. Anyway, we didn't learn anything about Wisconsin in week 3 due to being off, and we probably won't learn a whole lot about them in week 4 against Bowling Green. They do get a chance to avenge their Big Ten brethren's loss from this past Saturday, however, and for the sake of quelling the nationwide Big Ten-mocking, please win this one convincingly, Wisconsin.

Up Next: vs. #77 Bowling Green

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 86.35%

Average Score: Wisconsin 48, Bowling Green 18

4. Michigan State #26, 121 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#36 137 111 122 111 118 28.81

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#38 115 114 104 135 122 17.58

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#16 118 4.09 145 3.46 131

Like Wisconsin, Michigan State took the third week of the season off, so we didn't learn anything new about them. Also like Wisconsin, we probably won't learn anything new about them this week, as Eastern Michigan comes to town. And while they are also a MAC team like Bowling Green, the Eagles are nowhere near as respectable as the Falcons. Currently, THOR+ ranks Eastern Michigan as the worst team in the country at 52% below the average FBS team. They are so bad that THOR+ projects that they would lose to an average team by about 23 points. Michigan State is currently 21% above average (and probably better thanks to the preseason projections pulling them down) and THOR+ has them winning by 43. Unfortunately, if you are looking forward to seeing Michigan State play someone interesting again, it won't come next week either. So while Michigan State has a chance to move up in the rankings with a blowout win this Saturday, I'm looking ahead to October 4th in anticipation of the Spartans vs. the Cornhuskers.

Up Next: vs. #128 Eastern Michigan

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 97.94%

Average Score: Michigan State 52, Eastern Michigan 9

5. Michigan #38, 115 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#44 93 121 41 85 112 27.26

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#43 104 125 60 99 116 18.95

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#14 130 4.22 133 3.55 131

For folks waiting for Michigan to take a tumble in the rankings, well, here you go. A week after getting embarrassed by Notre Dame, Michigan beat Miami of Ohio 34-10, and didn't look real great in doing so. At halftime, the Wolverines were only up 17-10 over the Red Hawks thanks to a miserable second quarter. They were able to outscore Miami 17-0 in the second half, but I don't think this game inspired a whole lot of confidence in anyone inside or outside of Ann Arbor. The defense was fine, for the most part, but this Michigan offense still looks to have huge holes in it. Devin Gardner and the passing game aren't rating out very high right now, and they aren't looking so hot when it comes to holding on to the ball and blocking, either. This offense was good enough to put up 86 points on the 123rd and 107th best teams in the nation, according to THOR+. But they were also good enough to put up zilch against the #10 team. This week, they get the #28 team in the nation, and luckily for Michigan, Utah's defense doesn't appear to be as good as their offense right now. If Michigan wants to retain some respectability (for their school and for the conference), then they need to find a way to pull this one out at home.

Up Next: vs. #28 Utah

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 59.74%

Average Score: Michigan 32, Utah 27

6. Maryland #39, 115 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#70 89 98 49 86 94 22.79

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#28 106 116 122 109 128 16.14

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#2 190 4.85 138 3.51 164

The Terrapins almost helped the conference get a decent win this past weekend, but suffered a last-second loss when West Virginia won the game on a 47 yard field goal. I don't know how much stock we can put in Maryland's offense after scoring 37 points on West Virginia's defense. After all, they did only score 24 on South Florida the week before. But Maryland's defense and special teams both looked the part on Saturday, as the former forced 4 turnovers and the latter scored 16 points (3/3 on field goals and 1 punt return touchdown) and blocked a field goal. This week, expect a lower scoring struggle, as Maryland heads to Syracuse to face the Orange, who also seem to have a good defense this year. THOR+ makes Maryland the underdog because they are on the road, but this game is definitely winnable. Similar to Michigan, for the conference to retain some level of respectability, Maryland needs to come away with a win in New York this Saturday.

Up Next: at #52 Syracuse

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 43.14%

Average Score: Maryland 17, Syracuse 22

7. Penn State #51, 107 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#106 106 78 67 94 71 16.93

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#8 132 127 129 124 146 12.04

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#65 124 4.16 76 3.97 100

On Saturday, the Nittany Lions won one of the ugliest games in the history of college football, outside of the legendary 6-4 game, of course. Christian Hackenberg got his 300 passing yards, but it wasn't easy. He was running for his life all game long and finished with 0 touchdowns and 1 interception. The running game continued to be non-existent, as the box score shows the non-Hackenberg guys rushed for 50 yards on 19 carries, which is a whopping 2.63 yards per carry, in case you were wondering. But for as bad as this offense appears to be, the Penn State defense continues to look quite the opposite. They held Rutgers to 4.74 yards per play and forced 5 Gary Nova interceptions. Sure, Rutgers isn't great this year, but that's an impressive defensive performance on the road no matter who you are playing. At this point in the season, this Penn State team looks like they will go about as far the defense and Christian Hackenberg can take them.

Up Next: vs. #98 Massachusetts

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 82.75%

Average Score: Penn State 30, Massachusetts 11

8. Illinois #56, 104 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#53 111 84 58 95 104 25.31

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#46 89.49 107.66 80.14 101.07 113.90 19.34

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#122 65 3.54 40 4.25 52

Illinois marks the spot where we start to get to the embarrassing loss portion of the power rankings this week. The Illini went to Seattle this past weekend and got buried. I don't think anyone expected them to win this game, but after Washington played close games with Eastern Washington and Hawai'i, there was a little hope that Illinois could put up a respectable fight. As it turns out, though, that hope was severely misguided. Any hope that the Illini had was crushed in the first quarter, as the Huskies were up 21-3 after one. Things weren't much better by halftime, either, as the score was 38-12. The first half was so bad that this tweet sums it up pretty well:

The second half was less dramatic, as Illinois outscored Washington 7-6. Unfortunately, the first half counted and they still lost by 25. Right now, Illinois seems to be a decent team with some big holes. They can throw the ball, but can't run it on offense. They can stop the run, but not the pass on defense. And they don't seem to have much of a kicking game. That's not good enough to go on the road and beat Washington, but that should be enough to take care of Texas State at home this weekend.

Up Next: vs. #83 Texas State

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 74.85%

Average Score: Illinois 41, Texas State 22

9. Indiana #58, 103 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#25 106 119 110 111 125 30.52

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#78 97 103 77 96 90 24.64

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#124 78 3.68 17 4.42 48

Despite losing to a MAC team, Indiana moves up in the power rankings this week thanks to Iowa Ferentzing to Iowa State and Minnesota getting stomped on by TCU. Overall, Indiana looked like the team that THOR+ has thought they were all along: all offense and no defense. THOR+ also expected them to lose to Bowling Green by a few points, and guess what? They did. This week Indiana heads to Mizzou and THOR+ doesn't particularly like this match up for the Hoosiers, either.

Note: The fact that Tevin Coleman comes to Kinnick in about a month scares the crap out of me. It should also scare the crap out of Iowa's linebackers.

Up Next: vs. #11 Missouri

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 11.88%

Average Score: Indiana 22, Missouri 50

10. Minnesota #61, 101 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#71 68 95 52 92 94 22.63

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#51 111 98 122 93 113 19.63

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#91 86 3.76 83 3.92 84

Embarrassing loss number three this past weekend was courtesy of our rodent friends to the north. Minnesota's 30-7 loss at TCU continued the Big Ten's national nightmare of being the laughing stock of every college football fan and media outlet in 2014. Of course, THOR+ projected a 33-14 loss, so a blowout was expected, but their performance against the Horned Frogs was bad enough to drop their THOR+ rating 4 percentage points from last week to this week. The game was an absolute nightmare for the Gophers, as they didn't even score their first and only touchdown of the game until the fourth quarter. Mitch Leidner again proved incapable of throwing the ball competently, and apparently now has a broken foot.* And David Cobb showed that just because you're a good running back, it's still hard to run for positive yardage when the opposing defense is stacking the box because your passing game is so damn awful. As far as Minnesota's defense goes, well, it's not exactly a compliment when Gary Patterson is asked about how far along his offense has come this year and he responds with this:

Yep. This is how low the Big Ten has fallen.

* Even before the injury happened, it was looking like Minnesota might have a quarterback controversy for the second year in a row, so now I guess we will get to see what Chris Streveler can do.

Up Next: vs. #103 San Jose State

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 81.00%

Average Score: Minnesota 39, San Jose State 18

11. Rutgers #64, 101 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#62 95 95 49 98 99 24.01

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#70 92 96 99 107 95 23.52

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#10 132 4.24 136 3.53 134

Rutgers continues to fluctuate, as their close loss to Penn State actually moves them back to around average again this week. This happened, despite their Offense+ rating dropping, because their defense held Penn State to 13 points. Penn State is nowhere near being a good offense right now, but this comes a week after the Howard Bison ran all over this Rutgers defense. All of this doesn't mean much, however, because the Scarlet Knights still don't appear to be that great of a team and they face a daunting (if you can call the Big Ten "daunting" this year) in-conference schedule this season. They also face a challenging opponent this weekend, and I would not be surprised at all if they fall to 2-2 on the season.

Up Next: at #40 Navy

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 26.96%

Average Score: Rutgers 22, Navy 38

12. Iowa #65, 100 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#98 92 83 97 98 75 18.13

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#13 91 123 95 106 138 13.99

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#127 79 3.69 -18 4.68 31

Iowa continues to plummet in the power rankings because... well, you watched the game. You know why. Yes, the kicking game is sketchy as hell and the linebackers are vulnerable in coverage, but the offense is the glaring problem with this team right now. Remember last week when I said this unit was looking worse than the 2013 variant? Well, it is and it's looking almost as bad as the 2012 version, too. And I'm not the only one to notice. This offense has officially de-railed, tumbled down a canyon, landed on an orphanage, caught fire, leaked gasoline everywhere, and blown said orphanage up. (Are you happy, Kirk and Greg? You just murdered a bunch of innocent orphans.) With the preseason projections still helping this offense out a bit, Iowa is currently 25% below the average FBS team in Offense+. If we take the projections out and look at their three game sample, the Hawkeyes are a whopping 37% below average. The numbers with preseason projections are nice enough to think that Iowa could muster, on average, 18 points (not counting points from field goals or kickoff or punt returns, which hahahaha good one) per game against a normal FBS team. The numbers without the preseason projections think that Iowa is good enough to score a measly 14 offensive points against an average team. An average offense would be projected to score about 24 points per game against an average team. Whichever way you dice it, this offense sucks.

The running game is abysmal, but I think I'm more concerned with the passing game at this point. I think if Iowa even showed a semblance of a passing game, the running game would open up, as a result. In other words, I'm officially ready for the C.J. Beathard experiment to begin. In the past, I've defended Jake Rudock, and put most of the blame on Greg Davis or Kirk Ferentz (who still deserve a lot of the blame for Iowa's offensive incompetence), but Rudock looked lost against Iowa State. It got so bad that every pass play that Iowa called turned in to a Rudock scramble about a split second after the ball was snapped. It was like he would make one read, tuck the ball, and run. Repeat ad nauseam. I don't expect Beathard to be our long-haired savior, but I do expect him to make this offense actually look somewhat explosive, or at least somewhat competent. I also expect him to make it so opposing defenses actually have to worry about Iowa being a threat in the passing game. I was patient with Rudock through his first season, but he's now three games into his second year starting, and I just don't see a whole lot of improvement. Sure, he led Iowa back against Ball State, but he was ineffective for most of the game before that. And outside of the pass down the seam to Ray Hamilton, he never looked like a confident, competent passer against Iowa State. I'm hoping that 2014 Pittsburgh, like 2008 Pittsburgh, marks the game in which Iowa makes a change at quarterback for the better. I hope the Hawkeyes don't lose at Pitt like they did in 2008, but C.J. Beathard needs a shot to see what he can do. I think we all agree he probably has the most upside of the two anyway.

Up Next: at #47 Pittsburgh

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: 23.90%

Average Score: Iowa 16, Pittsburgh 29

13. Northwestern #73, 96 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#89 83 94 107 99 81 19.59

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#45 101 110 85 94 115 19.08

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#104 54 3.43 93 3.85 74

Pat Fitzgerald and his Wildcats took this past weekend off, which left them time to ponder their 0-2 start. And I'm sorry, now I'm just being mean because I hate my team so much right now.

Up Next: vs. Western Illinois

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: No Projections for FCS teams.

14. Purdue #109, 70 THOR+

Offense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
#102 73 92 79 93 74 17.64

Defense Rank Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg.
#103 92 87 75 91 65 30.29

Special Teams Rank Special Teams Off.+ PPG vs. Avg. Special Teams Def.+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
#100 110 4.01 46 4.20 78

Kudos to Purdue for putting up a better fight against Notre Dame than Michigan did a week ago. Losing by 16 to a team that just embarrassed Brady Hoke's Wolverines by 31, should be seen as an accomplishment for this Boilermaker squad. Of course, that just tells you how bad it is to be a football fan in West-Lafayette right now. And clearly, I'm still taking my Kirk Ferentz-induced anger out on others. I think that means it's time to wrap this up.

Up Next: vs. Southern Illinois

THOR+ Projected Chances of Winning: No Projections for FCS teams.