Week 4 B1G Power Rankings

Michigan @ Maryland could be spared (or not?) by this big red blob on Saturday night...which has been called, and I'm quoting "the cone of uncertainty"...which sounds like something Darrell Hazell would probably wear.

1. Ohio State (4-0, 0-0) / Even 
These cats have won 24-straight conference games...and even now, sitting at 4-0, there's a lot of concern in Buckeye-land that they could be ripe for an upset. I can't say they're wrong. Their last 3 games against relative push-overs haven't been the most convincing wins I've every seen. Indiana is going to try and give'em hell.

2. Michigan State (4-0, 0-0) / Even
Speaking of underwhelming performances, Michigan State, while deserving of praise, might not be the 2nd best team in the country. If you go by the transitive property of college football wins, Oregon's blowout loss to Utah drastically hurt Michigan State's stock, and makes that win feel much less impressive. And the vast amount of injuries are starting to become a problem.

3. Michigan (3-1, 0-0) / +4
Few teams have gained as much momentum nationally as the Wolverines over the last week. They simply dismantled a so-called dangerous BYU squad. While the offense can be, shall we say...hit and miss...with the defense playing the way it is, it simply doesn't matter. Utah's huge win against Oregon makes Michigan's narrow loss in Salt Lake City almost look good. College football, y'all.

4. Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) / -1
Call it a hangover, whatever it was Northwestern's 24-19 win over Ball State was enough to drop them down to #4. This is still a good team and a very good defense. But B1G play has been an up and down affair for Fitz and the Wildcats in recent years. NW has the tendency to play up or down to their opponent's level. Hopefully the narrow win against Ball State was just a hiccup.

5. Wisconsin (3-1, 0-0) / -1
Tough not to compare Ohio State's 38-0 win vs Hawaii in week 2 and Wisconsin's 28-0 win against Hawaii in week 4. I didn't watch either game so I can't really do that. But what I do see is Wisconsin outscoring Miami (NTM), Troy and Hawaii 114-3 since losing to Alabama in the season opener. Things will obviously get tougher these next two weeks vs Iowa and @ Nebraska.

6. Iowa (4-0, 0-0) / Even
We joke about "September Heisman's" and teams that fall off the radar in October, but for some reason Iowa feels like a team that's motivated to contend for the B1G west title. Honestly, I like it when Iowa is good...it feels like old times. I think their game this week vs Wisconsin (noon, ESPN) is the conference game of the week and gives the winner a huge leg up on Indianapolis.

7. Nebraska (2-2, 0-0) / +1
It was a tough up and down first four games for the Huskers. Unfortunately for Mike Riley the B1G west is looking to be one big steaming pile of parity and I don't think Nebraska is quite ready for it. I could be wrong, but it just feels to me like this is a pseudo-rebuilding season in Lincoln.

8. Indiana (4-0, 0-0) / +3
IF...and I mean if Indiana can do what everyone in the world is hoping they can do...and is upset the mighty Buckeyes, then the city of Bloomington, Indiana might just be nothing more than a crater of ash come Saturday evening...which means they'd probably have to cancel the rest of the season. But seriously, this game could be a lot of fun to watch (noon, ABC).

9. Penn State (3-1, 1-0) / Even
Okay Penn State...you seem to be on an upward trajectory. A couple of wins in a row and all of the sudden Penn State may have the beginnings of an offense (not the running part though). Rutgers and San Diego State are barely a reasonable gauge, however...and neither is Army. Let's talk after you're trip to Columbus in a few weeks.

10. Minnesota (3-1, 0-0) / -5
Once again, a MAC opponent hangs tough with a Big Ten team and everyone starts to crap the bed. But in this case, those fears are probably justified. Minnesota, the media darlings of the preseason (I'm just as guilty), have squeaked by Kent State and Ohio by 3 points each in the last 2 games. I don't know what's happening to Minnesota and their QB Mitch Leidner, but from what it looks like, might be time to try the backup.

11. Illinois (3-1, 0-0) / +1
Three and one is pretty amazing considering Illinois had to replace their coach right before the season started. It's all going to go downhill from here, but it was fun for Bill Cubit while it lasted. Illinois could be an attractive coaching opportunity for the right guy. Much like Iowa, I like it when Illinois is good.

12. Rutgers (2-2, 0-1) / +1
Hey...a win is a win. Even if it comes against probably the worst team in all of college football...the Kansas Jayhawks. I mean, what else can you say? The easiest part of Rutgers schedule is over and they're 2-2. In a division with Ohio State, Penn State, Michigan State and Michigan...it's gonna be a long season.

13. Maryland (2-2, 0-0) / -3
The bottom of the B1G power rankings is a dark, scary place. I suspect Rutgers, Maryland and Purdue will be alternating spots between the bottom 3 slots all season long. There's a tropical storm heading to College Park for this weekend's game against Michigan. That at least, somehow makes this game more interesting.

14. Purdue (1-3, 0-0) / Even 
What can I say...when you're bad, you're Purdue. Hey, they actually played BGSU pretty well considering the Falcons are basically the Baylor of the MAC. If they win a game from here on in I'll be surprised.

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