Big Ten Power Rankings: Week 5
If there's ever been more parody in the Big Ten standings, you'll have to remind me when exactly that was. Outside of the top three and bottom three, nothing in the Big Ten seems predictable anymore.
That being said, the Ohio State Buckeyes reclaim sole possession of the No. 1 ranking in my Week 5 edition of Big Ten Power Rankings. The Purdue Boilermakers find themselves entrenched at the bottom of the rankings.
1. Ohio State Buckeyes (4-0): If you follow any Ohio State Twitter account or watched the broadcast of the Buckeyes' 58-0 rout of Rutgers, then you've heard Ohio State is the only team to not allow a rushing touchdown this season. Aside from that, the Buckeyes defense has four interceptions returned for touchdowns and only two touchdowns allowed. Dominance.
2. Michigan Wolverines (5-0): Michigan's one "weakness" is the offense, but it pulled out a classic Big Ten slugfest in the Big House on Saturday. The defense is remarkable and pulls off ridiculous plays, including this Jourdan Lewis interception to seal the victory. Each week brings us closer to a potential undefeated showdown between the Buckeyes and Wolverines in Columbus.
3. Wisconsin Badgers (4-1): No shame in losing a closely contested battle at Michigan. Alex Hornibrook had trouble moving the ball at times, but Michigan's defense looks like one of the nation's best. Badgers have a bye week next before hosting No. 2 Ohio State.
4. Nebraska Cornhuskers (5-0): It didn't come easily for the Huskers, but a strong fourth quarter helped Nebraska pull away for a 31-16 victory. Turnovers made the game interesting, but as long as Nebraska takes care of the football, they and Wisconsin are the Big Ten West's best.
5. Maryland Terrapins (4-0): Beating Purdue isn't much of an accomplishment, but the Terps annihilated the Boilermakers to remain undefeated. There aren't a ton of unbeaten teams left in the Big Ten, and D.J. Durkin appears to have transformed Maryland from pushover to competitor.
6. Michigan State Spartans (2-2): Losing to Wisconsin wasn't a terrible loss, but losing at Indiana was. The Spartans are in disarray, the offense is out of sorts and several losses could still be on the way with Michigan and Ohio State still on the schedule.
7. Indiana Hoosiers (3-1): It's like Indiana puts a different team on the field each week. After a loss at home to Wake Forest, Indiana bounced back with a primetime win over Sparty on BTN. Perhaps most astounding is the Hoosiers now have an actual defense that creates turnovers and gets stops.
8. Penn State Nittany Lions (3-2): The Nittany Lions won a tight game in overtime against Minnesota without much from Saquon Barkley. Penn State needs to pull out more victories like Saturday's when sharing a division with Ohio State, Michigan and Michigan State.
9. Minnesota Golden Gophers (3-1): In their first road game against their strongest opponent thus far in 2016, Minnesota showed moments of quality and mediocrity. And in reality, that may be exactly what Minnesota is this season. Beat the bad, compete with the average and lose to the good.
10. Northwestern Wildcats (2-3): Northwestern had the worst offense in the Big Ten entering Saturday but exploded for 38 points in a win at Iowa. Regardless of their ability to put forth a consistent effort, Austin Carr continues to torch defenses and haul in touchdowns.
11. Iowa Hawkeyes (3-2): I think I have Iowa figured out. When real national expectations exist, the Hawkeyes only disappoint. When Iowa is under the radar, they exceed expectations. I wrote about how Iowa was overrated after the loss to NDSU, and another week proves me right.
12. Rutgers Scarlet Knights (2-3): Anyone outside of the top six in the Big Ten will lose handily to Ohio State. At least Rutgers kept it close through the first quarter.
13. Illinois Fighting Illini (1-3): Illinois was a surprise this week, but there's still a long road ahead for Illinois before they starting routinely competing with middle-tier Big Ten teams.
14. Purdue Boilermakers (2-2): A 50-7 loss to Maryland. Yep.