After week 3, the Big Ten appears to have a handful of the top teams in college football, but very few surprises. Penn State, Michigan and Ohio State all appear to be a cut above the rest of the conference and are vying for a spot for the College Football Playoff.
With a quarter of the season complete, there are a lot of teams that are able to compete, but also plenty that are just trying to get to a bowl game. Expect the teams to differentiate themselves more over the next several weeks when the full conference season starts.
Check out the latest power rankings below after week 3 of the college football season.
September 17th Big Ten Football Power Rankings
No. 14 Northwestern (1-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 14; Last: Loss at No. 21 Duke 38-14
Northwestern had a lackluster performance against Duke this weekend. However, the Wildcats were not expected to win against the No. 21 Blue Devils. Northwestern gave up nearly 500 yards of offense to the Blue Devils and beat the Wildcats for their fifth consecutive time in the series.
No. 13 Nebraska (1-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 13; Last: Win against Northern Illinois 35-11
Nebraska got their first win in the Matt Rhule era against an unimpressive Northern Illinois team. Even though it isn’t an impressive win, a loss would have been a major blow to any chance to play in a bowl game. The Huskers look to improve to 2-2 against Louisiana Tech next week.
No. 12 Indiana (1-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last: Loss against Louisville 21-14
Indiana is one of the more intriguing teams in the conference. They have not done much to prove they deserve a higher rank, but there are so many teams in the bottom of the conference currently and it is hard to compare apples to oranges thus far. Tayven Jackson looks to be the real deal and a great QB1 option going forward. Expect him to have another great game next week against Akron.
No. 11 Illinois (1-2, 0-1 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last: Loss against No. 7 Penn State 30-13
Illinois could be anywhere between 13th and 9th in their current state. Illinois continues to struggle with their offense and with preventing turnovers. As the season progresses, their window in qualifying for a bowl game is becoming increasingly narrow and challenging for Bielema and his squad.
No. 10 Purdue (1-2, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 10; Last: Loss against Syracuse 35-20
Purdue is struggling to find its real identity and footing this season and dropped another game they should have won to Syracuse this week. Purdue plays a decent Wisconsin team next week and it looks to be another uphill battle for the Boilermakers.
No. 9 Michigan State (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 12; Last: Loss against No. 8 Washington 41-7
Michigan State is facing plenty of turmoil with its coaching staff and a lopsided loss to No. 8 Washington does not help the situation in the slightest. The Spartans face the Terps next weekend and will need all the help they can get.
No. 8 Rutgers (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 11; Last: Win against Virginia Tech 35-16
Rutgers is not a great team by any measure. However, there are a decent handful of worse teams in the conference. The QB and defense both appear to be doing well thus far and Kyle Monangai scored three touchdowns for the Scarlet Knights this weekend.
No. 7 Wisconsin (2-1, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 9; Last: Win against Georgia Southern 35-14
Wisconsin will definitely give the Big Ten West a run for its money this season and have a very diverse offense that could pose a problem for numerous conference foes. The Badgers’ only loss to Washington State may not be that bad after all as the season progresses.
No. 6 Minnesota (2-1, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 6; Last: Loss at No. 20 North Carolina 31-13
Minnesota has been struggling plenty this season and could not manage to get anything going at UNC this weekend. Fortunately, the next two weeks appear to be very winnable games for the Golden Gophers as they travel to Northwestern and face Louisiana at home.
No. 5 Maryland (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 7; Last: Win against Virginia 32-14
The Terps blew out the Cavaliers this weekend behind Taulia throwing for nearly 350 yards and a touchdown. The biggest concern is that the Terps started out the game with being down 14-0, but the Terrapins turned the game around and even forced 4 turnovers in the fourth quarter itself.
No. 4 Iowa (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 8; Last: Win against Western Michigan 41-10
Iowa was flat out the gate against the overmatched Western Michigan team today and pulled out a 31-point victory in the end. It is possible that the Hawkeyes are running up the score more than they would traditionally do in the past with their previously anemic offense.
No. 3 Ohio State (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 1; Last: Win against Western Kentucky
Ohio State has been playing well, but there have been several flaws that can be exploited thus far. Ohio State will look to get challenged next game as they play Notre Dame. They have been playing well overall, but have not played strong competition thus far as their best opponent was Indiana and they did not look phenomenal against them.
No. 2 Penn State (3-0, 1-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 2; Last: Win at Illinois 30-13
Penn State is definitely in the conversation to be the winner of the Big Ten conference this year behind solid play thus far this season. They have not really been tested yet, but they have succeeded the entire time. They have one of the better wins in the conference thus far though as they secured a B1G road win against Illinois. They will host the No. 25 Iowa Hawkeyes in Happy Valley next week and look to improve to 4-0.
No. 1 Michigan (3-0, 0-0 B1G)
Previous: No. 3; Last: Win against Bowling Green 31-6
Like Penn State and Ohio State, the Wolverines have been playing incredible. The most points they allowed was 7 points against UNLV and they have scored > 30 points in each game thus far. Expect them to make a solid resume prior to the CFP selection show. The biggest issue this past week was having four turnovers against Bowling Green.
Featured Photo: Indiana Football