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BIG TEN POWER RANKINGS: WEEK 4

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Hey, Big Ten play started.

NCAA Football: Penn State at Michigan Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten play is in full swing, and look at that, Wisconsin might be for real? Michigan asserted its dominance, and Nebraska looks to be a sound football team.

We learn more and more about these teams each week, and that’s where the FRAUDS get exposed. ALSO: I noticed Minnesota fans to be more optimistic than usual on Twitter this week. I look forward to the Gilded Rodents losing to a shaky Penn State team in Minneapolis this weekend.

  1. Wisconsin (4-0, 1-0): I was confident the Badgers were going to get blanked going into Lansing this weekend, and look at that, Sconnie forced four turnovers and capitalized on all of them while keeping Sparty out of the end zone for the entire game. Michigan State couldn’t get anything going on the ground at all after running for 260 yards a week ago at Notre Dame. This Wisconsin team looks like a bunch of world-beaters, and if they can get through their next four games unscathed—at Michigan, vs. Ohio State, at Iowa and vs. Nebraska—that would be truly unprecedented.
NCAA Football: Wisconsin at Michigan State Mike Carter-USA TODAY Sports

2. Michigan (4-0, 1-0): The Wolverines took care of business against a banged-up and relatively lackluster Penn State squad. Wisconsin this week is the true test to see if the Harbaugh Hype Train is for real.

3. Ohio State (3-0, 0-0): The Buckeyes had the week off, and have Rutgers and Indiana before they play Wisconsin. I still think Ohio State is probably the best team in the Big Ten, but we’re going to need to see how they perform on the field against stiffer competition so they can get back to No. 1 here.

4. Nebraska (4-0, 1-0): This sucks. Nebraska is just coming out to play every Saturday and is executing sound, creative football. The Huskers racked up over 300 yards rushing against Northwestern, and Tommy Armstrong didn’t throw a punt. Oregon’s loss to Colorado this week does weaken Nebraska’s win against the Ducks a little bit, but still. The Huskers are doing what they need to win, and that’s all you can ask for.

5. Michigan State (3-1, 0-1): Sparty looked like the real deal against Notre Dame only to get pushed around by Wisconsin the following week. I watched a decent amount of this game flipping back-and-forth during Iowa’s contest, and Sparty played about as sloppy a game as I’ve seen from a Mark Dantonio-coached team. I think it’s more likely to see the Spartans rebound from this than spiral.

6. Iowa (3-1, 1-0): It wasn’t pretty, but a win’s a win, I guess. Iowa was one horrific flag away from going up 21-7 and perhaps opening up the floodgates, but that’s football, or so I have been told. I’m more nervous for Northwestern next week than I wish was. Any outcome of that game wouldn’t surprise, and I don’t think that’s a great place to be mentally.

7. Minnesota (3-0, 1-0): People think Minnesota is good, and I don’t really get why. The Gilded Rodents beat a pretty below-average Colorado State team by 7 points, while allowing the Rams to score a season-high 24 points. The Big Ten is incredibly top-heavy, and putting Minnesota this high doesn’t feel right, but the rest of the teams on this list make me sad.

Colorado State v Minnesota Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images

8. Maryland (3-0, 0-0): Maryland had a bye this week. It plays Purdue next week. That is all.

9. Penn State (2-2, 0-1): This might be too low for Penn State, but I don’t care. The Nittany Lions were outmatched against Michigan, and are probably around on-par with their next opponent in Minnesota. That game will also be sad.

10. Indiana (2-1, 0-0): I had such high hopes for #CHAOSTEAM this year, but that loss to Wake Forest this week might have taken the wind out of their sails. Don’t look now, though; the Deacons are 4-0! Perhaps this is the good loss Indiana needed to help its SOS.

11. Purdue (2-1, 0-0): I don’t know what to do with my hands.

12. Northwestern (1-3, 0-1): Northwestern looked … OK against Nebraska? The Wildcats’ best player from last year—Anthony Walker Jr.—does look to be a bit hobbled by injury, but still. Playing at Iowa for homecoming is the only reason Pat Fitzgerald gets up in the morning, so let’s see how we respond this week.

13. Illinois (1-2, 0-1): Yeah I dunno. This team is uhhhhhh not great, and I don’t see their game against Nebraska next week ending well.

14. Rutgers (2-2, 0-1): Rutgers held Iowa to just 14 points, idiots will say. It took some excellent defensive stands by Iowa for the Hawkeyes to come out with a win, those same idiots will say. Rutgers needed Iowa to injure their best player to come out with a win, slightly smarter idiots might say. Yeah, well, the only proper reaction to all those dumb statements is to put Rutgers dead last in these power rankings, because they lost to a not-so-great (?) Iowa team at home. So there.