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YOUR 2015 SLIGHTLY-LESS-EARLY BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: POST-WEEK 5

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This week in the power rankings: Why does THOR+ rank Iowa so high? How far has Wisconsin's offense fallen? What is going on with Michigan State? LOLOLOLOL Nebraska. And much more.

Pat Fitzgerald is SO photogenic.
Pat Fitzgerald is SO photogenic.
Caylor Arnold-USA TODAY Sports

I am running behind schedule again this week, so we are keeping the introduction short and sweet. First, though, remember that all teams but Rutgers have played 5 games and that means that all teams but Rutgers are finally free from the chains (preseason projections) that shackled them for a little over a month now. Rutgers is still 20% affected by them, but it doesn't matter. Rutgers is bad. And their preseason projections being included won't change that.

Lastly, if you would like a reminder of how these ratings work, I will direct you to the first few paragraphs here.

Now, to the power rankings!

Rank Team Coach Offense+ Defense+ Special Teams+ THOR+ PPG vs. Avg. PPGA vs. Avg. W% vs. Avg. W vs. Avg.
9 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 102 169 142 135 32.1 13.1 0.788 9.5
10 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 121 153 68 134 36.9 17.9 0.776 9.3
23 Ohio State Urban Meyer 113 143 103 127 34.6 19.4 0.722 8.7
33 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 92 150 120 121 29.2 17.6 0.675 8.1
37 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 57 179 140 118 21.0 11.3 0.655 7.9
42 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 118 113 49 113 35.7 27.0 0.616 7.4
47 Illinois Bill Cubit 82 136 103 109 27.2 21.4 0.584 7.0
49 Nebraska Mike Riley 103 113 107 108 32.5 26.6 0.579 6.9
60 Penn State James Franklin 80 128 100 104 26.4 23.1 0.547 6.6
74 Purdue Darrell Hazell 98 96 63 95 30.4 30.8 0.484 5.8
80 Minnesota Jerry Kill 46 141 101 93 17.6 20.2 0.466 5.6
92 Maryland Randy Edsall 84 81 144 85 27.7 33.5 0.405 4.9
96 Indiana Kevin Wilson 91 73 113 84 29.7 35.9 0.395 4.7
99 Rutgers Kyle Flood 85 72 146 82 28.4 35.7 0.382 4.6

1. Michigan #9, 135 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
56 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 80 109 88 135 102 28.2
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
3 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 169 140 100 145 169 9.9
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
7 Michigan Jim Harbaugh 101 3.9 184 3.2 142

Another week of football and Michigan continues to impress. Sure, it was only Maryland, but two shutouts in a row against FBS teams is impressive. There are still concerns about how the offense will do against better defenses, and there are enough of those left on the schedule to potentially trip Michigan up once or twice (or maybe more). But, for now, Michigan's stock is moving up in the Big Ten East, while their rivals are trending down.

Up Next: vs. #37 Northwestern

Game Watch Rating: 116

Win Probability: 74%

Projected Score: Michigan 13, Northwestern 8

2. Iowa #10, 134 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
27 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 121 109 106 110 121 33.1
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
7 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 122 127 126 117 153 13.7
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
108 Iowa Kirk Ferentz 87 3.8 49 4.2 68

I already explained how Iowa has jumped to #10 this week in the win projections post, but I still feel skeptical. Maybe it's me not wanting to seem like a homer, or maybe I've just been conditioned to think that Iowa can never have nice things on offense. Whatever it is, it's annoying.

All that being said, Iowa's offensive numbers look really good and not just because of their destruction of North Texas. Wisconsin currently has the #10 defense in the country, according to THOR+, so only 10 points on the road in Camp Randall doesn't concern me that much. (Plus, they should have had more if they finished their drives in the first half.) Pitt currently sits at #39 and Iowa scored 27 on them. The next test comes this week, as Illinois brings the #22 defense in the country (according to THOR+) into Kinnick Stadium. They held what had been a fairly good Nebraska offense to 13 points in Champaign last Saturday (aided a bit by the weather, perhaps), so this should be another decent gauge on how far above average Iowa's offense is this season.

Up Next: vs. #47 Illinois

Game Watch Rating: 103

Win Probability: 78%

Projected Score: Iowa 28, Illinois 14

3. Ohio State #23, 127 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
41 Ohio State Urban Meyer 88 128 26 115 113 30.9
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
15 Ohio State Urban Meyer 147 122 103 101 143 15.9
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
60 Ohio State Urban Meyer 80 3.7 127 3.6 103

I thought Indiana's defense would be just what the doctor ordered to fix what ailed Ohio State's clunky offense. As it turns out, I was wrong. Instead, Ezekiel Elliott and the running game - the part of Ohio State's offense that has not been bad this year - was the only thing that could make Indiana's defense look like... well, Indiana's defense. Cardale Jones, on the other hand, continues to struggle and throw as many interceptions as he does touchdowns and the Buckeyes just have a huge turnover problem in general, considering they are averaging almost 3 per game now. Yes, they are undefeated, but their lock on the Big Ten East is slipping and has been for a while now. They better hope they have another 2014-like midseason charge in them.

Up Next: vs. #92 Maryland

Game Watch Rating: 64

Win Probability: 84%

Projected Score: Ohio State 40, Maryland 16

4. Wisconsin #33, 121 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
73 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 93 91 122 111 92 25.5
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
10 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 134 105 97 118 150 14.2
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
31 Wisconsin Paul Chryst 81 3.7 159 3.4 120

With the preseason projections being officially phased out and the cupcake portion of the schedule now over with, Wisconsin's offense is being exposed as an issue. With Corey Clement being injured, more and more pressure is being put on a bad passing game. Joel Stave should never be relied upon to carry your team to victory, and that is even more the case when he doesn't seem to have very many playmakers at the receiver position. That defense, though. If it is as good as it looks right now, they could still challenge for the Big Ten West.

Up Next: at #49 Nebraska

Game Watch Rating: 155

Win Probability: 53%

Projected Score: Wisconsin 24, Nebraska 21

5. Northwestern #37, 118 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
121 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 86 90 133 107 57 16.5
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
1 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 156 112 132 103 179 7.6
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
9 Northwestern Pat Fitzgerald 161 4.6 119 3.7 140

Michigan wasn't the only team who tossed a goose egg in week 5, Northwestern also embarrassed Minnesota to the tune of 27-0. They continue to impress every single week, but like Michigan, there are still concerns about their offense. Those will be put to the test this weekend, when two of the best defenses in the nation go against lesser-ranked foes on the other side of the ball. Michigan does have the advantage of having a mediocre offense, rather than one of the worst ones in the nation. That, plus the game being played in an Ann Arbor leaves the Wolverines as favorites in what is expected to be an ugly, ugly display of football. 13-8, y'all. Feel the excitement.

Up Next: at #9 Michigan

Game Watch Rating: 116

Win Probability: 26%

Projected Score: Northwestern 8, Michigan 13

6. Michigan State #42, 113 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
33 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 134 90 172 117 118 32.2
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
55 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 108 98 136 115 113 22.8
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
119 Michigan State Mark Dantonio 61 3.5 37 4.3 49

Michigan State is one of the big victims of no longer having their preseason projections included in the ratings. With those no longer counting toward this season's numbers, the Spartans have fallen all the way down to #42 this week. What seem to be the issues? Well, on offense, AIRBHG's offensive line counterpart, AMSUOLHG (doesn't roll of the tongue as nicely as AIRBHG), has decimated the Michigan State front line with injuries. With a Blocking+ rating of 117, this hasn't hurt the Spartans in terms of allowing negative plays, but it may be why they aren't doing so well in the yards per carry (Rushing+) category. As for the other side of the ball, the run defense was likely misleadingly bad against Purdue, but this pretty clearly isn't the Pat Narduzzi-led defense of old. And that shows in the passing game, where youth and injuries have left things dicey in the secondary. Other than Michigan State not being elite, I'm not sure what this means for their season. Will they fall apart against better competition on their schedule, or will they still win 9-10 games? I still think they could do the latter.

Up Next: at #99 Rutgers

Game Watch Rating: 108

Win Probability: 66%

Projected Score: Michigan State 39, Rutgers 27

7. Illinois #47, 109 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
91 Illinois Bill Cubit 86 85 134 113 82 23.0
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
22 Illinois Bill Cubit 135 115 124 117 136 17.4
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
62 Illinois Bill Cubit 128 4.2 78 4.0 103

Illinois showed us on Saturday -- as much as a team can show anything in the sample size of one game -- that their defense is probably pretty decent, while their offense is probably the opposite of that. That means the Illini may possess one of the better defenses Iowa will see the rest of the year, outside of Northwestern and maybe Minnesota (I'm still waiting to see whether the Gophers can get healthy or not). Additionally, if Iowa's offense is for real, that means the Hawkeyes could possess one of the better offenses Illinois will see for the remainder of the year, outside of Ohio State. I am normally superstitious enough to never be fairly confident over the outcome of a game, but for some reason I feel optimistic about this one. Oh, and did I mention that Josh Ferguson is "very, very doubtful" for Saturday? That may have something to do with my optimism.

Up Next: at #10 Iowa

Game Watch Rating: 103

Win Probability: 22%

Projected Score: Illinois 14, Iowa 28

8. Nebraska #49, 108 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
55 Nebraska Mike Riley 105 124 78 109 103 28.3
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
54 Nebraska Mike Riley 62 119 71 111 113 22.7
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
55 Nebraska Mike Riley 132 4.2 83 3.9 107

Let's take a moment to see how things are going across the border with our friends in Lincoln, shall we? Oh... oh my, the meltdown is so horrific, but I can't look away. /grabs popcorn and gets comfortable

As fun as it was to see Nebraska's fan base go into a frenzy over Bo Pel(LLL)ini losing 4 games annually, I'm not going to lie, watching them spontaneously combust like this is more entertaining.

Moving onto actual analysis, though, Nebraska gets a similar, but better opponent this week in Wisconsin. The Badgers also possess a stiff defense, but one that looks better than Illinois. That could be bad news for a Nebraska offense (and coaching staff) that looked discombobulated on Saturday. If there is any good news in this game for the Huskers, it's that Wisconsin's offense shouldn't shred their defense to bits. I'm curious to see how Husker fans will react if they do lose, though.

Up Next: vs. #33 Wisconsin

Game Watch Rating: 155

Win Probability: 47%

Projected Score: Nebraska 21, Wisconsin 24

9. Penn State #60, 104 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
97 Penn State James Franklin 80 100 155 65 80 22.5
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
30 Penn State James Franklin 141 96 143 143 128 19.3
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
68 Penn State James Franklin 100 3.9 99 3.8 100

The 71% win probability for Penn State this week seems a bit high for my personal liking. Penn State's defense looks pretty good this season, but they haven't exactly played a team with much of an offensive pulse. Indiana is pretty easily the best offensive team they have faced this season, so this will be a fairly significant test for this unit, and how they fare may very well depend on the health of Indiana's Jordan Howard and Nate Sudfeld. As for the offense, the Hoosiers present the opportunity for Penn State to score more than their usually small amount of points. If Indiana has all hands on deck for this one, I could see it being a closer game than THOR+ currently sees it being. Plus, rivalry games are always close, and Penn State and Indiana are rivals now, apparently.

Up Next: vs. #96 Indiana

Game Watch Rating: 104

Win Probability: 71%

Projected Score: Penn State 33, Indiana 21

10. Purdue #74, 95 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
65 Purdue Darrell Hazell 73 101 47 118 98 27.1
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
73 Purdue Darrell Hazell 90 94 99 110 96 26.8
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
114 Purdue Darrell Hazell 48 3.4 77 4.0 63

The Boilermakers are a hard team to figure out this year. They sit at 1-4, overall, but 3 of their losses have come by 10 or fewer points. And that 10-point loss to Marshall was actually closer than that, if Purdue had not conceded a last-minute touchdown to the Thundering Herd. Their recent close-but-no-cigar game was this past weekend when they came back from a 21-point deficit to lose by only 3 to the #2 (poll-ranked) Michigan State Spartans. Some are calling this a moral victory, but at some point the moral victories have to stop for Purdue and turn into actual victories. With Minnesota looking so awful right now, the game this week is turning into a must-win for Darrell Hazell and Co. If they can't find a way to victory, the natives may get restless.

Up Next: vs. #80 Minnesota

Game Watch Rating: 137

Win Probability: 59%

Projected Score: Purdue 22, Minnesota 16

11. Minnesota #71, 97 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
127 Minnesota Jerry Kill 82 84 76 111 46 13.6
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
19 Minnesota Jerry Kill 116 119 72 94 141 16.3
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
65 Minnesota Jerry Kill 111 4.0 92 3.9 101

Speaking of Minnesota, what is there left to say at this point? The offense -- play calling and all -- is bad. So bad, in fact, that they pulled the redshirt off of their true freshman quarterback in a game they were getting bludgeoned to death in. The shutout is likely skewing their Offense+ rating downward a bit, but it's still not all that difficult to believe that the second-to-worst offense in the nation resides in Dinkytown right now. The defensive numbers look fine for now, but injuries to the secondary keep piling up and may have have dire consequences for this unit down the road.

Up Next: at #74 Purdue

Game Watch Rating: 137

Win Probability: 41%

Projected Score: Minnesota 16, Purdue 22

12. Maryland #92, 85 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
88 Maryland Randy Edsall 31 113 -38 101 84 23.3
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
94 Maryland Randy Edsall 92 92 84 107 81 30.0
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
6 Maryland Randy Edsall 145 4.4 142 3.5 144

Maryland is bad. Their schedule is not favorable. This can only get worse.

Up Next: at #23 Ohio State

Game Watch Rating: 64

Win Probability: 16%

Projected Score: Maryland 16, Ohio State 40

13. Indiana #96, 84 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
74 Indiana Kevin Wilson 140 87 179 127 91 25.4
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
99 Indiana Kevin Wilson 60 86 125 79 73 32.0
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
48 Indiana Kevin Wilson 140 4.3 85 3.9 113

Indiana's offense is likely better than THOR+ is giving it credit for. At least, with Jordan Howard and Nate Sudfeld healthy it is. Will they be this week? Kevin Wilson isn't saying. Howard's backup at the running back position, Devine Redding, is not very good. After all, his 2.7 yards per carry on 95 carries this season are why Indiana's Rushing+ rating isn't above average. Sudfeld's understudy, Zander Diamont, though, is a fan favorite and played admirably against Ohio State. Will we see him more as the season goes on? It certainly couldn't hurt.

Up Next: at #60 Penn State

Game Watch Rating: 104

Win Probability: 29%

Projected Score: Indiana 21, Penn State 33

14. Rutgers #99, 82 THOR+

Rank Offense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Blocking+ Offense+ PPG vs. Avg.
83 Rutgers Kyle Flood 86 90 52 94 85 23.7
Rank Defense Coach Passing+ Rushing+ Turnovers Pressure+ Defense+ PPGA vs. Avg
100 Rutgers Kyle Flood 95 76 55 93 72 32.1
Rank Special Teams Coach Off. Special Teams+ PPG vs. Avg. Def. Special Teams+ PPGA vs. Avg. Special Teams+
5 Rutgers Kyle Flood 174 4.7 118 3.7 146

Just like Maryland, Rutgers is bad. Their schedule is unfavorable. This can only get worse.

Up Next: vs. #42 Michigan State

Game Watch Rating: 108

Win Probability: 34%

Projected Score: Rutgers 27, Michigan State 39