Dienhart: See my Week 4 Power Rankings

Three weeks are in the books. And this much I know: I don’t know what to make about a lot of teams. My Big Ten power rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, didn’t suffer a massive shakeup following a strange Saturday. Michigan State and Minnesota are most upwardly mobile; Penn State and Illinois took significant hits. Check it out.

[ MORE: Enter the Buffalo Wild Wings Trip to the Football Championship Sweepstakes ]

POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY
ArcelorMittal

1. Ohio State, 3-0. No Braxton Miller, no problem for the Buckeyes, as Kenny Guiton played the role of “super sub” again. That’s a national-best 15 wins in a row for Ohio State, whose defense still needs a sharper edge.
Last week: No. 1
Up next: Florida A&M

2. Northwestern, 3-0. The Wildcats have perhaps been the most consistently successful team in the Big Ten, as the they haven’t suffered a letdown in any game. Ohio State can’t say that (hello, Buffalo). Michigan can’t say that (hello, Akron).
Last week: No. 3
Up next: Maine

3. Michigan, 3-0. To say the Wolverines were lucky to beat Akron would be an understatement. No doubt, Brady Hoke will have his team’s attention the rest of the season after this near disaster. This offense has work to do. Oh, and no more pregame donuts for fans.
Last week: No. 2
Up next: at UConn

[ MORE: Analyzing the numbers: Devin Gardner vs. Akron ]

4. Wisconsin, 2-1. The Badgers are still reeling from a Twilight Zone ending at Arizona State that will have Wisconsin fans buzzing for years. What happened? No time to dwell on it. The Badgers need to improve their passing game if they wanna live large.
Last week: No. 5
Up next: Purdue

[ MORE: Twitter: Reaction to crazy, confusing Wisconsin finish ]

5. Nebraska, 2-1. The Huskers’ worst nightmare came to fruition, as the defense melted down and the offense disappeared after a fast start. How will Nebraska deal with adversity? This is going to be fascinating.
Last week: No. 4
Up next: South Dakota State

[ MORE: Dienhart: "This was a big step back" for Nebraska ]

6. Michigan State, 3-0. It was good to see the offense come alive—finally. And Connor Cook may be the answer under center. But ripping up FCS Youngstown State is one thing; ripping up Notre Dame is another. This attack can’t go in a shell again.
Last week: No. 8
Up next: at Notre Dame

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7. Minnesota, 3-0. The formula for success continues to be a physical run game and solid defense. That has led to a 3-0 start. But at some point, this offense will need some big-play ability in the passing game.
Last week: No. 9
Up next: San Jose State

8. Penn State, 2-1. The defense couldn’t keep up with UCF, allowing 506 yards. No shame there, as this is a good Golden Knights team. On the bright side, Christen Hackenberg had another nice game, hitting 21-of-29 passes for 262 yards with a touchdown.
Last week: No. 6
Up next: Kent State

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9. Illinois, 2-1. Another nice effort for the Fighting Illini, but they weren’t ready to beat a team like Washington yet. The offense had just 319 yards and the defense allowed 614. Still, hope floats.
Last week: No. 7
Up next: Bye

[ MORE: Dienhart's Week 3 honors, grades & more | BTN.com's Leaders of the Week ]

10. Iowa, 2-1. Another brick in the wall for a Hawkeye program that needed to beat Iowa State–and did. This program is gaining momentum. Let’s hear it for Mark Weisman, who has rushed 65 times for 324 yards the last two weeks.
Last week: No. 10
Up next: Western Michigan

11. Indiana, 2-1. It looks like Nate Sudfeld is the man at quarterback, as the Hoosiers won a game they likely had to win to keep bowl hopes alive. And the defense allowed only a field goal.
Last week: No. 11
Up next: Missouri

[ MORE: How did we do? Week 3 Big Ten picks revisited ]

12. Purdue, 1-2.  The Boilermakers played by far their best game of the season. But, alas, it resulted in a loss. Still, Purdue knows it can play and compete with the best after its close loss to the Fighting Irish.
Last week: No. 12
Up next: at Wisconsin

About Tom Dienhart BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.

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Show Comments (10 Comments)
10 Post Your Comment
JoeW on 9/15/2013 @ 11:07am EDT Said:

If beating Buffalo by 20 and maintaining a two score plus lead is a letdown for OSU then ill take it. The Final Drive crew said it last night, OSU is held to a different standard than the rest of the league because of the national title aspirations, their recent history, their talent and their coach. I think NW is very solid, but still beleive a full strength OSU team has too much firepower for NW. The good news is all of this speculation will be settled in just three weeks. Go Bucks!

Faygo on 9/15/2013 @ 11:40am EDT Said:

Much too kind to Michigan and Nebraska.

bob jones on 9/15/2013 @ 12:05pm EDT Said:

Based on solely results so far, would have to rank Nebraska 11th, easily most disappointing team so far. We’ll see if they have a run in them like last year after a similar meltdown.

shookwriter27 on 9/15/2013 @ 1:21pm EDT Said:

Illinois is a 500 team this year. They’ll have their ups and downs. They might yet have another upset in them.

Josh on 9/15/2013 @ 2:25pm EDT Said:

Indiana at 11th? Lol. Wow. I’m glad that Minnesota at #7 can barely beat the Western Illinois of the world.

Mitch on 9/15/2013 @ 8:47pm EDT Said:

@Josh Indiana lost to Navy… Gophers are 3-0, and didn’t exactly “barely beat” Western Illinois. They won by 3 possessions…

Mark on 9/15/2013 @ 10:35pm EDT Said:

IU at 11th is waaaay too low. MSU, Minny, PSU, Iowa and Illini are no better than the Hoosiers right now. They had a dominate win over a Bowling Green team that was getting votes in the polls.

Chris on 9/16/2013 @ 1:11pm EDT Said:

Hey Josh – Navy just scored again – Maybe this is why Indiana is at 11th???

Rob Olds on 9/16/2013 @ 1:35pm EDT Said:

The Big Ten has its problems, including Ohio State. They gave up 34 points and 503 yards of offense to Cal…nothing to write home to mom about, either.

Grant on 9/16/2013 @ 11:30pm EDT Said:

Indiana will suck like they always have in the B1G with that Ole defense.

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