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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Four

A new team ascends to the top spot this week as Big Ten play begins across the conference

Penn State v Iowa Photo by Matthew Holst/Getty Images

Week four college football action in the Big Ten finally provided answers to some questions we had, like how far can Saquon Barkley carry Penn State (pretty far) and how good Purdue really was (ehhhh).

However, there are still plenty of questions left like who in the world is actually good in the middle of the Big Ten (no one, apparently) and why is Rutger still in the Big Ten (@JimDelany).

This week’s best win pretty much isn’t a contest. While two team picked up Big Ten road wins, the Nittany Lions’ win in Iowa was far more impressive than Michigan’s win at Purdue.

The Big Ten finished 2-2 in non-conference games this week with Ohio State and Indiana winning.

14. Rutger (1-3, 0-1)
Loss at Nebraska, 17-27

With the loss, Rutger is now 1-8 in Big Ten road games and I forgot about that damn IU game before starting to look up this stat and now I’m nude and red.

Back to the stat. Those eight losses have a point differential of -233 for Rutger. That’s an average loss of 29.1 points per road game.

13. Illinois (2-1, 0-0)

12. Northwestern (2-1, 0-0)

11. Nebraska (2-2, 1-0)
Win vs. Rutger, 27-17

Only beating Rutger by 10 at home should result in a drop in the power rankings the more I think about it.

10. Michigan State (2-1, 0-0)
Loss vs. Notre Dame, 18-38

The biggest droppers of the week, Michigan State falls three spots after a fairly putrid performance at home against Notre Dame. They out-gained the Irish 496-355 but turned the ball over three times and were penalized nine times for 97 yards.

9. Maryland (2-1, 1-1)
Loss vs UCF, 10-38

I have no idea how good Maryland is. The win over Texas was weird and now a loss to UCF is even more confusing, especially at home. Next week’s game against Minnesota should be telling.

8. Purdue (2-2, 0-1)
Loss vs. Michigan, 10-28

In the category of all the bad teams, Purdue appears to be the best of the lot so far. Saturday’s performance stuck fairly close to the script as Purdue hung in on the scoreboard but was never really in the game.

7. Minnesota (3-0, 0-0)

6. Indiana (2-1, 0-1)
Win vs. Georgia Southern, 52-17

One of the biggest movers of the week is Indiana, more by default than anything else. As one of the few teams to win last week or not have a bye week, recency bias plays into this. But for the majority of Sunday’s game, they dominated in a way they should against an inferior team.

5. Iowa (3-1, 0-1)
Loss vs. Penn State, 19-21

While Penn State had the best win, arguably the most impressive performance of the week was Iowa who should have beaten Penn State. The gap between them and Wisconsin closed a bit in my book.

4. Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0)

3. Michigan (4-0, 1-0)
Win at Purdue, 28-10

Michigan pretty much solidified (not that it needed to) that they have the best defense in the conference on Saturday. Purdue managed just 189 yards of offense, had the ball for only 21 minutes and 0-for-12 on third downs.

2. Ohio State (3-1, 1-0)
Win vs. UNLV, 54-21

J.T. Barrett threw five touchdowns in this game and that’s about all you need to know for how bad UNLV is.

1. Penn State (4-0, 1-0)
Win at Iowa, 21-19

I had Ohio State and Penn State tied after last week but the latter had the better win this week and takes the top spot.

Sure, the win wasn’t convincing and was ugly at times, but winning on the road in the Big Ten isn’t easy.

What is easy to Saquon Barkley, though, is the game of football.

28 carries, 211 yards, 1 touchdown
12 receptions, 94 yards, 0 touchdowns
40 touches, 305 yards, 1 touchdown

You know what I think? He needs a breather this week.