Tom Dienhart, Senior Writer, September 28, 2014

The Big Ten Power Rankings are beginning to solidify, with Michigan State holding steady at the top and Nebraska hot on the Spartans? heels. And those two teams just happen to be meeting this Saturday.


1. Michigan State (3-1, 0-0). Defense? This team is known for its offense in 2014, scoring 73 points last week and 56 this week. MSU is averaging 50.3 points, its highest scoring average ever after four games.
Last week: 1
Up next: Nebraska

2. Nebraska (5-0, 1-0). The Cornhuskers are playing well on both sides of the ball, but the offense is really flying behind the play of Heisman-worthy RB Ameer Abdullah. This is the Big Ten?s lone unbeaten team.
Last week: 2
Up next: at Michigan State

3. Ohio State (3-1, 0-0). The offense is coming on, as J.T. Barrett continues to get better for an attack that totaled a stupefying 710 yards vs. Cincinnati.
Last week: 4
Up next: at Maryland

4. Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0). The Badgers made another statement that they may be the best team in the West. Still not sure how good Tanner McEvoy is.
Last week: 5
Up next: at Northwestern

5. Maryland (4-1, 1-0). The defense stepped up big for the Terps in their Big Ten opener at Indiana. The offense? It continues to shine. This could be a dangerous team.
Last week: 6
Up next: Ohio State


6. Iowa (4-1, 1-0). The offense continues to show balance with C.J. Beathard at the controls, but the defense won the game at Purdue. The Hawkeyes are a work in progress but are improving.
Last week: 7
Up next: off; Indiana, Oct. 11

7. Minnesota (4-1, 1-0). The Golden Gophers will be a factor in the West, coming off that big win at Michigan. This is one of the most underrated defenses in the Big Ten. And if the offense can get some consistent balance, look out.
Last week: 9
Up next: off; Northwestern, Oct. 11

8. Penn State (4-1, 1-1). The wheels fell off the Nittany Lions in an ugly 29-6 home loss to Northwestern. Nothing worked, as PSU fell from the ranks of the unbeaten.
Last week: 3
Up next: off; Michigan, Oct. 11

9. Rutgers (4-1, 0-1). The Scarlet Knights can notch a big win with Michigan coming to New Brunswick on Saturday. Gary Nova must play like he did vs. Tulane.
Last week: 8
Up next: Michigan

10. Northwestern (2-2, 1-0). The Wildcats have rebounded from an 0-2 start to win two in a row. The offense must continue to run well.
Last week: 13
Up next: Wisconsin

11. Indiana (2-2, 0-1). A week after that huge win at Missouri, the Hoosiers laid an egg at home vs. Maryland. What happened to the offense?
Last week: 10
Up next: North Texas

12. Illinois (3-2, 0-1). The offense needs to get Wes Lunt back. The defense? It needs to improve vs. the run. The Illini have to beat Purdue next week.
Last week: 11
Up next: Purdue

13. Michigan (2-3, 0-1). Offense, defense, special teams ? you name it, the Wolverines are struggling with it. Can this season be saved?
Last week: 12
Up next: at Rutgers

14. Purdue (2-3, 0-1). The defense is doing its part. But the offense scored just one field goal in an inept performance. It may be time for a quarterback change.
Last week: 14
Up next: at Illinois

About Tom Dienhart senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men's basketball for and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at, 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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