14. Rutgers (1-2)
Last Week: 30-16 LOSS vs. Boston College
This Week: @ Michigan, Noon on BTN
Last week I said if Rutgers could find a way to beat Boston College the team may move up. Well, to no surprise, the Scarlet Knights fell short and back down to No. 14 in the rankings they go. This season is looking to be another long one in Piscataway.
13. Minnesota (3-0)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: @ Purdue, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
Minnesota has a huge chance to make a statement against the Boilers this week. The Gophers have played to their level of competition so far this season and if they can do so against a team like Purdue, this might be a matchup of two of the grittiest teams in college football. I expect Purdue to win but if Minnesota can pull out another one, they should move up in the rankings.
12. Illinois (2-2)
Last Week: 42-38 LOSS vs. Nebraska
This Week: BYE
Did anyone else get really super pumped that Illinois was finally going to win a big-time Big Ten game? The Fighting Illini put up one heck of a fight against the Huskers which actually moved them up to 12 in this week’s power rankings. The team in Champaign might be a fun one to watch in the Big Ten West this year.
11. Purdue (1-2)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: VS. Minnesota, 3:30 p.m. on ESPN2
1-2 is not the ideal start for a Purdue team rolling off one heck of a Big Ten season a year ago. They have a chance to right the ship against a Minnesota team that is young and lacks weapons. Expect the Boilers to win this one and move in front of the Hoosiers for the No. 10 spot.
10. Indiana (3-1)
Last Week: 38-3 WIN vs. UConn
This Week: @ Michigan State, 3:30 p.m. on BTN
After a terrible showing against Ohio State, Indiana was able to bounce back with a big win against a struggling UConn program. The Indiana Hoosiers’ path does not get much easier, however. This week is Michigan State on the road. If Mike Penix cannot return for this one (listed as questionable) it may be another long day for the Hoosiers. However, if Penix returns, Indiana could put pressure on a Sparty team that has been inconsistent as of late.
9. Northwestern (1-2)
Last Week: 31-10 LOSS vs. Michigan State
This Week: @ Wisconsin, Noon on ABC
It is starting to look as if Northwestern has lost the magic of its 2018 campaign, after struggling at home to Michigan State. The road doesn’t get much easier for the Wildcats. This week it is at Wisconsin, who has been surging in the polls nationally and won’t be easy to cool down. Expect Northwestern to fall to 1-3 after week five.
8. Maryland (2-1)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: vs. Penn State, 8 p.m. on FS1
This ball game could get very interesting. Maryland started off on fire but cooled down against Temple and Penn State has yet to have a major opponent to go up against. I expect this to be quite the matchup to get a better feel for where both teams are at.
7. Nebraska (3-1)
Last Week: 42-38 WIN @ Illinois
This Week: vs. Ohio State 7:30 on ABC
Nebraska fans were probably sweating bullets at the idea of falling to Illinois this early in 2019. The Huskers held on, however, for a date against Ohio State in week five. This one should be rather exciting considering this will be the Husker’s biggest games of 2019 at home. I (like everyone else) expect Ohio State to run away but an impressive showing by Nebraska could move them up in the rankings.
6. Michigan State (3-1)
Last Week: 31-10 WIN @ Northwestern
This Week: vs. Indiana, 3:30 p.m. on BTN
Michigan State proved all the doubters wrong with a huge win against Northwestern last week. The question remains, can they keep the ball rolling against Indiana in week five? A big win this week may have Sparty moving up in the rankings.
5. Michigan (2-1)
Last Week: 35-14 LOSS @ Wisconsin
This Week: vs. Rutgers, Noon on BTN
I said that the Wisconsin game should be very telling of Jim Harbaugh’s future in Ann Arbor. Bottom line: the guy cannot win when it matters most. Michigan drops two spots mainly because I firmly believe the Wolverines cannot beat the top four teams. We may be moving towards the end of the Harbaugh era in the Big Ten if these struggles continue.
4. Penn State (3-0)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: @ Maryland, 8 p.m. on FS1
Penn State has a huge opportunity to show it is a top-three team in the Big Ten with a big win over Maryland this week. The No. 12 team in the nation still has some work to do to prove it’s willing to compete with some of the Big Ten’s best in Ohio State and Wisconsin. This week should give us hints that they are ready for the next step.
3. Iowa (3-0)
Last Week: BYE
This Week: vs Middle Tennessee, Noon on ESPN2
Another week, another opportunity for the Hawkeyes to show what they can do in an easy non-conference game. Middle Tennessee isn’t great and frankly, Iowa should run away with this one and keep its record at a perfect 4-0.
2. Wisconsin (3-0)
Last Week: 35-14 WIN vs. Michigan
This Week: VS. Northwestern, Noon on ABC
Being a football fan in Madison continues to be nice. The Badgers certainly are elite and they proved that with a big win against Michigan last week. The only thing keeping the Badgers at No. 2 and not No. 1 is a team looking unstoppable in the Big Ten East. Until that matchup in late October, we will just enjoy watching Wisconsin beat up on teams week to week.
1. Ohio State (4-0)
Last Week: 76-5 WIN vs. Miami (Ohio)
This Week: @ Nebraska, 7:30 p.m. on ABC
Not even a question. I don’t care about Wisconsin beating Michigan. Ohio State is playing like a team of men amongst boys and they are flat out scary. Justin Fields is an absolute dog, and JK Dobbins is like a human cheat code. Their defense is impossible to penetrate and bottom line: the team is just good. There is no question they are deserving of their ranking and with their first big test this week, we will be able to see how legit the Buckeyes really are.