Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 5

The Big Ten is perhaps the most storied college football conference in the country and have several teams competing at the top of the rankings for a berth in the college football playoff. How do the teams in the Big Ten stack up against each other after the first full weekend of conference play? Here's our power rankings:

14) Rutgers Scarlet Knights

Rutgers' two victories have come over lowly Norfolk State and Kansas, and losses to Washington State and Penn State show that they simply aren't a good team. With head coach Kyle Flood serving a suspension early this year and five players being arrested for armed robbery, this program is in disarray.

13) Maryland Terrapins

Maryland does have a convincing win over a fairly solid USF team, but losses to Bowling Green, West Virginia, and Michigan by a combined score of 121-33 show that this team has a LOT of room to improve.

12) Purdue Boilermakers

Purdue hasn't beaten an FBS level team this season, but their near upset of Michigan State last weekend is enough to show that this team has some potential - at least more than the first two teams on this list. Now we just have to see if they can keep this momentum going and turn it into victories.

11) Minnesota Golden Gophers

Minnesota was expected to compete for the Big Ten West title this year, but three point victories over Colorado State and Ohio and a 27-0 loss to Northwestern has them trending downward. Their offense is the second-worst in the entire country, averaging just over 15 points per game, and their defense isn't good enough to make up the difference. Expect their problems to get worse as they get deeper into conference play.

10) Nebraska Cornhuskers

Nebraska has been extremely disappointing this year, losing to BYU, Miami, and Illinois while only having wins over South Alabama and Southern Miss on their resume. All three losses have come by a combined nine points, so if they can improve their record in close games, the Cornhuskers could turn their season around.

9) Illinois Fighting Illini

Illinois is 4-1 on the season following a victory over Nebraska, but they don't have a single victory they can hang their hat on. However, a disappointing 48-14 loss to North Carolina - along with a below average offense (68th in the country) - suggest they aren't a great team.

8) Wisconsin Badgers

Wisconsin's only two losses of the season have come to Alabama and a four-point loss to Iowa last weekend, and while both have come against ranked teams, there are some alarming problems facing the Badgers. They rank just 80th in total offense and 79th in scoring offense, showcasing just how putrid they are on that side of the ball - a problem that will keep them from being very effective this year.

7) Indiana Hoosiers

Indiana's lone loss of the season came in their seven-point defeat to Ohio State, which was very impressive in its own right. However, the Hoosiers sit a seven in the power rankings because of their lack of a victory over a good team - something they can get Saturday against Penn State.

6) Penn State Nittany Lions

James Franklin's sqaud has rebounded nicely from a season-opening loss to a good Temple team by reeling off four straight victories. Their defense has been the driving force behind their success (18th in the country in points allowed per game), and quarterback Christian Hackenberg has kept their offense afloat. 

5) Iowa Hawkeyes

Iowa is 5-0 and ranked for the first time 2009 because of their defense. They are the only team in the country that hasn't allowed a rushing touchdown, and their rushing offense has been good enough to move the chains consistently. We'll get another chance to see how good this team really is in two weeks when they face Northwestern on the road.

4) Northwestern Wildcats

Northwestern turned heads on the opening weekend of the college football season by dominating Stanford (who just beat USC), and that has continued against Eastern Ilinois, Duke, Ball State, and Minnesota. The Wildcats sport the top defense in the country, allowing just seven points per game, and have one of the best running backs in the country in Justin Jackson (636 rushing yards, TD). Now ranked 13th in the country, Northwestern looks like a team to be reckoned with in the Big Ten.

3) Michigan Wolverines

Back-to-back shutouts, folks. The Wolverines gutted Maryland's offense in Saturday's 28-0 Big Ten opener, posting consecutive blankings for the first time since 2000. The Jim Harbaugh era is bringing plenty of cheer to Michigan's fan base over the past four weeks as the Wolverines have put a combined 119-14 beating on Oregon State, UNLV, BYU and Maryland. We asked ourselves early this week whether or not Michigan's defense is good enough to carry its dominance into Big Ten play. We got our answer on Saturday.

2) Michigan State Spartans

Yes, Michigan State is undefeated. However, a closer look at their games reveals most have been hard-fought victories over less-than-great teams. A three point win over Oregon looked great at the time, but Oregon isn't as good as everyone thought. Air Force, Central Michigan and Western Michigan all hung around much longer than they should have. But it's the most recent game against a terrible Purdue team that is the biggest indicator of the MSU's impending swoon. That's a game Sparty should win by three scores or more. A three point win over Purdue is not enough. Don't be surprised when the Spartans lose to Michigan, Ohio State and suffer an upset later this season.

1) Ohio State Buckeyes

It hasn't always been pretty - especially this weekend's 34-27 win over Indiana - but the defending champion Buckeyes are undefeated. The biggest game of the season will be against Michigan State, which could decide which Big Ten team gets a spot in the College Football Playoff. Still, as long as Ohio State keeps winning, they'll be the favorites this season.

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