Power Rankings: Surging Iowa shoots up list

With six schools off and just four games that featured no upsets, there was little movement in my weekly Big Ten power rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. Iowa was the biggest winner, jumping three spots from No. 9 to No. 6. Conversely, Minnesota fell like a rock from No. 6 to No. 10. Here is my latest Power Poll.

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1. Ohio State (5-0, 1-0). Braxton Miller looked impressive in his first action since early in the second game of the season. This team has won a national-best 17 games in a row and enters next week’s huge showdown at Northwestern with lots of momentum.
Last week: No. 1
Up next: at Northwestern

2. Northwestern (4-0, 0-0). The Wildcats are priming for a huge visit from the Buckeyes, who haven’t lost to NU since 2004. This week’s to-do list: Improve the pass defense and get tougher vs. runs up the middle.
Last week: No. 2
Up next: vs. Ohio State

3. Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1). No shame in the loss at Ohio State. This is a very good Badgers team that showed me it could pass if needed and thrive in a hostile environment. And the defense is strong, too. Is there a better linebacker in the nation than Chris Borland? I think this team may be able to win the Legends Division; too bad it’s in the Leaders.
Last week: No. 3
Up next: Bye; vs. Northwestern, Oct. 12

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4. Michigan (4-0, 0-0). The Wolverines seemingly have more questions than answers as the come off a bye week and prep for the Little Brown Jug game vs. Minnesota. Will the offensive line play better? Is Devin Gardner over the turnover bug? What is this team’s mind-set? Fascinating.
Last week: No. 4
Up next: vs. Minnesota

5. Nebraska (3-1, 0-0). The Huskers can’t be having much fun during their bye week. Issues still swirl around the defense. And next up is a game vs. a hot Illinois team that has one of the Big Ten’s top offenses. Here’s hoping Taylor Martinez’s toe is healthy.
Last week: No. 5
Up next: vs. Illinois

6. Iowa (4-1, 1-0). That’s four victories in a row for the Hawkeyes, who looked thoroughly dominating in manhandling Minnesota. This is beginning to look like a vintage Kirk Ferentz team, boasting physical line play, a strong rushing attack and efficient quarterback play. It’s time to fear Iowa.
Last week: No. 9
Up next: vs. Michigan State

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7. Penn State (3-1, 0-0). The Nittany Lions didn’t play last week but had arguably their biggest win in two seasons last week with news that the NCAA was lifting scholarship restrictions.
Last week: No. 7
Up next: at Indiana

8. Michigan State (3-1, 0-0). The Spartan offense remains a conundrum, as the search for answers continues. Quarterbacks have been shuffled, receivers have moved in and out of the rotation, different combinations have been tried at receiver … to no avail.
Last week: No. 8
Up next: at Iowa

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9. Illinois (3-1, 0-0). The Fighting Illini bounced back fabulously from the loss to Washington, notching over 600 yards of offense vs. Miami (Ohio). And the defense showed life vs. the RedHawks, too. This suddenly is a hot and dangerous team.
Last week: No. 10
Up next: at Nebraska

10. Minnesota (4-1, 0-1). The Golden Gophers were dominated in the trenches on both sides of the ball. So, instead of notching a statement victory vs. Iowa, Minnesota has its first loss, and plenty of questions about its offense.
Last week: No. 6
Up next: at Michigan

11. Indiana (2-2, 0-0). The Hoosiers have had to live with that ugly home loss to Missouri for days. Let’s hope Indiana has plugged some big holes on defense with Penn State and its strong offense coming to Bloomington. The season is threatening to get away from IU.
Last week: No. 11
Up next: vs. Penn State

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12. Purdue (1-4, 0-1). If Boilermakers fans didn’t know this was going to be a long season, they should now after getting pummeled at home by a MAC team on homecoming, 55-24. No Purdue team ever had given up more points in Ross-Ade Stadium. I’m speechless.
Last week: No. 12
Up next: Bye; vs. Nebraska on Oct. 12

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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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (13 Comments)
bigtengrad on 9/29/2013 @ 11:27am EDT Said:

I’m glad you’re giving Iowa such a boost now that they have lost to NIU, beat one-win Missouri State, beat a one-win ISU team, beat a winless WMU team, and now beat undefeated Minnesota who had their best win of the year over another one-win team, SJSU. Good lord, man, consider the competition when you come up with this crap. Iowa will not win another game until 11/9 @ Purdue to cap off their last win of a 5 win season. At least you were decent enough to not penalize Wisconsin for losing to OSU. I used to really like reading your stuff, Tom. Now, not so much.

JoeW on 9/29/2013 @ 1:27pm EDT Said:

Without the screw job in the desert UW would have been ranked in the top 20 going into Columbus and would still be ranked today. ASU just put a beat down on SC. We will know a lot in the next two weeks. NW will be in a track meet this coming week and then head to Madison and be involved in a slug fest the following. I think it is also clear based on games played (and how B10 opponents have performed) that there is a big gap between the top 3 and the rest of the conference.

akble on 9/29/2013 @ 2:08pm EDT Said:

Hawks beat the same no win WMU team that Mich St beat by less than two TDs by 59-3 taking knees at the goal line or would have been worse. Don’t see a team he lists below the Hawks they will not beat and a couple above they may well beat. They are strong in the trenches and they will keep getting better

Scoonie on 9/29/2013 @ 2:53pm EDT Said:

If you think Iowa is bad this year u clearly have no clue what in the H you are talking about! The defense is very very solid. And the Run game is dominate! Still have work to do in the secondary and throwing the ball but everything is greatly improved from last season no doubt. I say Iowa goes 2-2 beating Michigan State and Wisconsin at home with losses to Northwestern and Ohio State. That will put them at 6-3 and once again bowl eligible. I say Iowa ends up with a 7-5 record overall.

Mike on 9/29/2013 @ 3:34pm EDT Said:

Settle down @bigtengrad, don’t your panties in a bunch. Iowa is there by default. Penn is arguably a better team, but they had a bye week so they stay at 7. UIllinois and Indiana are absolutely atrocious, Minnesota lost to Iowa, Purdue got trounced on, and Michigan State will play Iowa next week to get a better feel for where they stand with one another. These rankings are perfectly fine with the exception of NW who is going to get absolutely obliterated by the Buckeyes and has no business in that #2 spot. Michigan and Wisco are both better teams.

Josh on 9/29/2013 @ 4:15pm EDT Said:


You are too partial to your own judgment. It has only been 5 weeks of the season. If 10 sports analysts judged the B1G ten, you would most likely get 10 different responses.

What will happen in the B1G in the next 9 weeks? No one knows, so just accept other writers’ opinions as well as your own.

Brian on 9/29/2013 @ 6:18pm EDT Said:

Must be a loser ???
Mich state has had a week to prep for the HAWKEYES
HAWKEYES 21 – 10

Bruce Carlson on 9/29/2013 @ 7:27pm EDT Said:

Like most people who predict these games they have not realized yet after all these years that Iowa is unpredictable. Iowa is building again after a number of years of being neglected and left out by writers who fawn all over Michigan and Ohio state as though there are no other teams in the big ten. Bigtengrad is probably a Wisconsin fan and even their coach developed many of his skills while coaching at Iowa. The NFL has looked to Iowa for front line men for many years. Iowa has a very young team and I suggest the rest look out for them for a few years to come.

Lefty on 9/29/2013 @ 10:35pm EDT Said:

Who died and made this whomever now it all?

Silly Rosie on 9/29/2013 @ 11:12pm EDT Said:

@bigtengrad Who exactly should be ahead of Iowa? Their one loss is to the No. 23 ranked team, they have won two road rivalry games, and beat a Western Michigan team 59-3 by a larger margin than Northwestern and MSU combibed. Who has PSU beat? 2-2 Syracuse?? Who has MSU beat? Youngstown State and the winless South Florida? Iowa is very deserving of this ranking, more son than any of the 6 teams below them.

scott s on 9/30/2013 @ 8:17am EDT Said:

hey guys
michigan fan here. i really dont know what to think about all the teams in big ten? who is good and who isnt? that includes my team michigan after the last 2 games i have no idea were they stand good or not good? is minny good or not good?? stat are really deceiving right now because of all the bad teams that our non conf. teams played?? do you guys agree? the next couple of weeks we will really now i think. any thoughts from you all?

Monte Bainter on 9/30/2013 @ 10:26am EDT Said:

Really wish the Big Ten teams would do a better job of scheduling non-conference opponents. We really need to strengthen our non-conference schedules with more powerful teams instead of all these directional schools. Sure, we might get our hats handed to us from time to time, but I am sure we can score a few wins of our own along the way. Besides the obvious television revenue and fan interest it would create, we could better gauge where our teams rate on the national stage. Plus our teams would have to work and prepare harder in preparation for a powerful non-conference foe. If we should lose, wouldn’t you rather lose to say an Alabama, Oregon, or a Miami(Fla.) instead of a Appalachian St. or Western Michigan? At least with a loss to another power conference school, we could still hold our heads up knowing we gave it a shot. Lose to a directional school and you just end up shaking your head in disbelief. Nothing against these schools and it’s a noble cause that our schools’ are creating a payday for them, but to me it’s like training the guy that’s trying to take your job. I’m just saying that scheduling tougher teams just seems to me to be a win-win situation, win or lose, because of possible fan interest, national exposure, recruiting, and so much more.

Ken Smith on 9/30/2013 @ 12:08pm EDT Said:

How bad is Purdue? The Bye is favored by a touchdown.