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Big Ten Power Rankings, Week Five: Penn State, Iowa and who else?

The gears are starting to churn in Big Ten football play and teams are starting to get comfortable. Maybe a little too comfortable.

If September wasn’t crazy enough across the college football landscape, October is about to get a whole lot crazier — especially in the Big Ten, and the schedule can back that up.

But for now, there’s still not a whole lot of change in this week’s Big Ten power rankings, aside from the plunging Badgers. 

1. Iowa 

Last week: 24-14 win vs Colorado State

Talk about holding your breath. Hawkeyes fans sure did for three quarters on Saturday, but luckily for them, Iowa escaped. One thing to watch in the coming weeks is the receiving corps — where are they?

Next up: At Maryland 

2. Ohio State

Last week: 59-7 win vs Akron

I think the Buckeyes were more concerned with what happened with K’Vaughan Pope than the Zips. But they did handle Akron, without C.J. Stroud. 

Next up: At Rutgers

3. Penn State

Last week: 38-17 win vs Villanova 

Jay Wright was not there to save Villanova this time and I must say, these Nittany Lions wide receivers are legit. We knew about Jahan Dotson but Parker Washington has stepped up into a big role in the offense. 

Next up: Vs Indiana 

4. Michigan

Last week: 20-13 win vs Rutgers

The Wolverines’ month-long home slate has ended and Michigan finds itself 4-0 for the first time since 2017. Remember when I said Cade McNamara hasn’t had to throw the ball much? Well, he still hasn’t. He attempted a season-high 16 passes against Rutgers. Yes, 16. That’s a season-high. 

Next up: At Wisconsin

5. Michigan State

Last week: 23-20 win vs Nebraska 

Sparty is the only 2-0 team in Big Ten play and escaped against Nebraska. Luckily for them, their good start has them set up well to handle an absolutely brutal late October and November. 

Next up: Vs Western Kentucky

6. Wisconsin

Last week: 41-13 loss vs No. 12 Notre Dame 

You could write a dissertation just based on the issues with this Wisconsin offense. It might be time for a quarterback change as well. Graham Mertz has thrown one touchdown and six interceptions this season. 

Next up: Vs No. 14 Michigan 

7. Indiana

Last week: 33-31 win at Western Kentucky

Things won’t get easier for the Hoosiers in the coming weeks and they get out of September with an even record. Although, a win against the Hilltoppers was much-needed and Michael Penix Jr. looked more comfortable and back into regular form. Happy Valley looms. 

Next up: At No. 4 Penn State 

Graphic (Max Wood/HN)

8. Maryland

Last week: 37-16 win vs Kent State 

The “easy” part of the Terps schedule is over. Now it gets real. They have No. 5 Iowa and No.11 Ohio State in back-to-back weeks. The momentum is there, it’s just a matter of whether or not it can be sustained. 

Next up: Vs No. 5 Iowa 

9. Rutgers

Last week: 20-13 loss At No. 19 Michigan

Rutgers’ defense did what it needed to do to win in Ann Arbor but Noah Verdell and the offense just weren’t enough. There’s no doubt that this Scarlet Knights team is improving.

Next up: Vs No. 11 Ohio State

10. Purdue

Last week: 13-9 win vs Illinois 

This Boilermaker team can potentially fight for a bowl bid towards the end of the season, especially with the Big Ten West schedule. Although, they might want to try scoring some touchdowns. 

Next up: Vs Minnesota

11. Nebraska 

Last week: 23-20 loss at No. 20 Michigan State

If it had not been for an overtime interception, the Cornhuskers could have had the win that turned their season for the better. Instead, people are still asking questions about Scott Frost and the future of one of college football’s all-time great programs.

Next up: Vs Northwestern

12. Minnesota 

Last week: 14-10 loss vs Bowling Green 

Reality check. It isn’t 2019 anymore Golden Gophers. Tanner Morgan only attempted 13 passes, completing five, but that’s what Big Ten football is, right?!

Right?

Next up: At Purdue 

13. Northwestern

Last week: 35-6 win vs Ohio

I will be honest, I probably have Northwestern too low on these power rankings. But right now, there still isn’t a whole lot to like about the Wildcats. Aside from Evan Hull, maybe. 

Next up: At Nebraska 

14. Illinois 

Last week: 13-9 loss at Purdue

From August to September. From high to low. Illinois has come back down to earth, found its little hole and is stocking up on supplies. Will the Illini be in full hibernation come November?

Next up: Vs Charlotte

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