Tier 4: The hot seat is a giant fire emoji
14. Purdue (1-3) (Previous: 13)
Last week: Lost to Bowling Green, 35-28
This week: Oh god oh god oh god they have to go to East Lansing
I could make fun of the Boilers for their loss against Bowling Green, but that wouldn't be quite fair, since Indiana lost in the exact same way to the Falcons last year, on a final-minute touchdown. I will say, however, that this happened at the same time as IU getting a pick-6 against Wake Forest, which was quite satisfying.
Next up for Purdue is a trip to Michigan State. Yikes.
13. Rutgers (2-2) (Prev: 14)
Last week: Defeated Kansas, 27-14
This week: Bye
After a grueling win against Big 12 powerhouse Kansas, Rutgers gets to enjoy an early bye week. Wonder what new bad stuff we'll uncover about these guys in that time span.
12. Maryland (2-2) (Prev: 10)
Last week: Lost to WVU, 45-6
This week: vs. Michigan (3-1)
If Randy Edsall wasn't on the hot seat before Saturday, he has to be now, after an embarrassing loss in Morgantown. How bad did the Mountaineers want to win this one? They successfully ran a fake punt while up by 38 on the Terps.
The only thing saving Terps fans now is that top QB recruit Dwayne Haskins is still planning to come to College Park next fall. Well that, and basketball season.
Tier 3: Still something to prove
11. Illinois (3-1) (Prev: 12)
Last week: Defeated Middle Tennessee, 27-25
This week: vs. Nebraska (2-2)
Squeaked out a win at home over MTSU, but next week's opponent should be a little more intimidating, especially if Husker fans make the drive to Champaign and pack Memorial Stadium.
10. Penn State (3-1) (Prev: 11)
Last week: Defeated San Diego State, 37-21
This week: vs. Army (1-3)
Remember when the Nittany Lions were doomed? Well, the week 1 loss to Temple is almost an afterthought at this point. A soft non-con schedule and an early game with Rutgers certainly helps with that.
9. Minnesota (3-1) (Prev: 9)
Last week: Defeated Ohio, 27-24
This week: vs. Northwestern (4-0)
Another week, another close win for the Gophers. However, they were assisted by one of the strangest penalties I've ever seen at the end. Coach Jerry Kill iced the Ohio kicker, who subsequently got penalized... for going through with the kick? Lots of kickers have been iced before and done that, but I've never seen that penalty before.
8. Nebraska (2-2) (Prev: 8)
Last week: Defeated Southern Mississippi, 36-28
This week: at Illinois (3-1)
Still hard to get a read on this team - they're two heartbreaking losses away from 4-0, but also yet to have developed an identity. If the Huskers struggle against Illinois though, fans might begin to really lose patience with first-year coach Mike Riley.
7. Indiana (4-0) (Prev: 7)
Last week: Defeated Wake Forest, 31-24
This week: vs. THE Ohio State (4-0)
For the first time since 1990, Indiana is 4-0. And while Hoosier fans didn't get their wish for College Gameday, the atmosphere against Ohio State in Bloomington on Saturday should still be electric.
Tier 2: Creeping upwards
5 (tie). Iowa (4-0) (Prev: 5)
Last week: Defeated North Texas, 62-16
This week: at Wisconsin (3-1)
Has Kirk Ferentz gone through a drastic transformation in his 17th year at Iowa? The Hawkeyes are doing things they haven't been able to accomplish in recent years, like faking field goals, winning close games, crushing opponents, and even beating their in-state rivals. For now, I'm putting them tied with Wisconsin, since the teams will meet in Camp Randall on Saturday.
5 (tie). Wisconsin (3-1) (Prev: 4)
Last week: Defeated Hawaii, 38-0
This week: vs. Iowa (4-0)
Wisconsin has outscored their last three opponents 124-3. However, the Badgers will be without their top running back to start conference play, as Corey Clement, the successor to Melvin Gordon in Madison, is out for the next 4-6 weeks.
4. Michigan (3-1) (Prev: 6)
Last week: Defeated BYU, 31-0
This week: at Maryland (2-2)
Michigan had by far the most impressive win in the B1G last week, as they shut out a BYU team that had previously played UCLA down to the final possession. The same UCLA team that, of course, went into Tucson and curb-stomped Arizona. And don't expect the Harbaugh hype to slow down after this week, as the Wolverines appear ready to pounce on a demoralized Maryland team.
3. Northwestern (4-0) (Prev: 3)
Last week: Defeated Ball State, 24-19
This week: vs. Minnesota (3-1)
Like Minnesota, Northwestern has won with stingy defense and just enough offense. But the major difference in rankings comes because the Wildcats have defeated Duke and Stanford, both of whom have very respectable wins themselves. Expect an ugly classic B1G grindfest in Evanston on Saturday.
Tier 1: Still at the top until further notice
2. Ohio State (4-0) (Prev: 2)
Last week: Defeated Western Michigan, 38-12
This week: at THE UNDEFEATED INDIANA HOOSIERS (4-0)
Ohio State's been holding back the past couple weeks because they are saving their best plays for Indiana, he said with a completely serious expression on his face. Bad news for the Buckeyes is that the Virginia Tech win now looks less impressive after the Hokies lost to an East Carolina team that is not as good as it was in previous years.
1. Michigan State (4-0) (Prev: 1)
Last week: Defeated Central Michigan, 30-10
This week: vs. Purdue (1-3)
Sparty won't blow teams out, but their wins will never really never be in jeopardy either. One crazy stat is that MSU is 0-4 against the spread so far this season. However, that win over Oregon isn't looking quite as impressive after Utah destroyed the Ducks in Eugene.