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Big Ten Power Rankings, Week Four: Are we in 2015 again?

Is it 2015 again? Iowa, Michigan, Ohio State, Wisconsin, Penn State and Michigan State are all back in the top-25 and maybe we’re starting to see a bit of a plateau in the rankings with teams separating themselves. Not many surprises this week, aside from the surging Spartans of course.

Let’s get into it. 

1. Iowa

Last week: 30-7 win vs Kent State

The No. 5 Hawkeyes bounce back from their two ranked opponents to start the season with a few easy games. As I said before, besides No. 18 Wisconsin and No. 6 Penn State on the schedule, there’s a lot to like about that Big Ten West schedule. Iowa is putting itself in a position to run away with the division. 

Next up: vs Colorado State 

2. Ohio State

Last week: 41-20 win vs Tulsa

The Buckeyes struggled in the first half against Tulsa but freshman TreVeyon Henderson absolutely DOMINATED on the ground. Two hundred and seventy-seven yards and three touchdowns. Is C.J. Stroud the guy? I really don’t think so at the moment. 

Next up: vs Akron

3. Penn State

Last week: 28-20 win vs No. 22 Auburn 

Is Penn State back? I don’t know. I really don’t, but a white-out win over No. 22 Auburn is a good start. The real Nittany Lions judgement day is Oct. 9 at Iowa. 

Next up: vs Villanova

4. Michigan

Last week: 63-10 win vs Northern Illinois 

It really seems like Cade McNamara has barely had to throw the ball through the first three weeks of the season. And that’s because he hasn’t — the junior has only thrown 37 passes, but as long as the Wolverines are winning, it’s not a big deal right?

Next up: vs Rutgers 

5. Wisconsin 

Last week: Bye week 

Soldier Field will welcome two top-25 teams this weekend in a “prove it” type game for both the Irish and Badgers. It’s also a Jack Coan revenge game, so there’s that. 

Next up: vs No. 12 Notre Dame 

6. Michigan State

Last week: 38-17 win at No. 24 Miami 

The Spartans are 3-0 for the first time since 2015, the year Michigan State appeared in the College Football Playoff. Quarterback Payton Thorne looks elite early on in the season with a 9-0 touchdown-to-interception ratio.  

Next Up: vs Nebraska 

7. Indiana

Last week: 38-24 loss vs No. 8 Cincinnati

The Hoosiers have a Penix problem on their hands. After a sloppy first three weeks from the junior quarterback, Michael Penix Jr. has struggled finding his stride and now with two losses in the first three weeks of the season, when is it panic time for IU? 

Next up: At Western Kentucky 

Graphic: Max Wood (HN)

8. Rutgers

Last week: 45-13 win vs Delaware

What is Greg Schiano’s secret stuff with this Rutgers football team? The Scarlet Knights are winning currently, but three ranked opponents in a row might change things for the worse. 

Next up: At No. 19 Michigan 

9. Maryland

Last week: 20-17 win at Illinois 

Maryland is one of five teams in the Big Ten East to start the season 3-0, but after a scary performance against the Illini, there’s still some work to be done. Taulia Tagovailoa has yet to throw an interception and has posted great numbers thus far. 

Next up: vs Kent State

10. Minnesota

Last week: 30-0 win at Colorado

Treyson Potts or Mohamed Ibrahim? Pick your poison. They both do the same thing: absolutely run over teams. Minnesota is a team that could go on a win streak in the coming weeks. 

Next up: vs Bowling Green

11. Purdue 

Last week: 27-13 loss at No. 12 Notre Dame 

The Boilermakers played the Irish tough through three quarters but the offense just couldn’t capitalize. I may have been a little low on the Boilermakers, as their schedule is favorable as well. I could see them make a push for a bowl bid, but the developing David Bell injury is something to watch. 

Next up: vs Illinois 

12. Nebraska

Last week: 23-16 loss at No. 3 Oklahoma 

Holding No. 3 Oklahoma below 30 points and only losing by a possession is an accomplishment for this Cornhusker team. They should be confident moving forward. 

Next up: At No. 20 Michigan State 

13. Northwestern

Last week: 30-23 loss at Duke

It was a battle of the brains in Durham this past weekend, and both teams were fairly evenly matched. This Wildcat team does not look like the same team that won the Big Ten West last year. Not at all. 

Next up: vs Ohio 

14. Illinois 

Last week: 20-17 loss vs Maryland 

The Illini have come back down to earth after their week one win over Nebraska, losing three in a row, and it looks like this Illinois team is pretty much what we thought it was before the season. But the Illini do play hard. I’ll give them that. 

Next up: At Purdue

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