Tom Dienhart, BTN.com Senior Writer, September 29, 2013
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.
|POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY|
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
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
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
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
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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