Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 4

Story posted September 20, 2017 in CommRadio by Zach Kaplan

Three weeks have passed and the Big Ten is beginning to take shape. Let’s take a look at how the conference ranks thus far.


14. Nebraska Cornhuskers

13. Rutgers Scarlet Knights

12. Northwestern Wildcats

11. Illinois Fighting Illini

10. Indiana Hoosiers

9. Michigan State Spartans

8. Minnesota Golden Gophers

7. Purdue Boilermakers

6. Maryland Terrapins

5. Iowa Hawkeyes

The Hawkeyes have enjoyed a 3-0 start to the season after wins over North Texas, Iowa State and Wyoming. Akrum Wadley continues to power the team offensively, with 410 all-purpose yards through three games. With that being said, Wadley and company have their hands full with No. 4 Penn State coming to town for a night game on Saturday. A win over the Nittany Lions would be their fourth straight against a ranked team at home.

4. Michigan Wolverines

Michigan didn’t look great in a 29-13 win over Air Force and Wilton Speight (3 touchdowns, 2 interceptions) continues to look horrendous at times for the No. 8 Wolverines. They are still overcoming losses on the offensive side of the ball, but Ty Isaac, Chris Evans and Karan Higdon have combined to compile a productive running game. The Wolverines continue to be impressive on defense and special teams however, with the defense allowing less than 15 points per game and a 79-yard punt return by Donovan Peoples-Jones put the game away for Michigan last week. The Wolverines start Big Ten play with a road trip to Purdue.

3. Ohio State Buckeyes

J.T. Barrett has looked very good against some very bad competition so far, but the No. 10 Buckeyes have been paced by one of the most impressive freshman in college football as J.K. Dobbins (425 rushing yards, 3 TD’s) continues to impress. It remains to be seen if Barrett can be more consistent and if Ohio State can rebound from an ugly loss to Oklahoma to bounce back into the College Football Playoff picture. They’ll take on UNLV this week in Columbus.

2. Wisconsin Badgers

Alex Hornibrook had a career day at BYU last Saturday, going 18-of-19, throwing for 256 yards, 4 TD’s and no interceptions, as the No. 9 Badgers rolled, 40-6. Wisconsin has made easy work out of both Utah State (59-10) and FAU (31-14) as well. They remain in the driver’s seat for the Big Ten West and, at this point, it is their division to lose. If Hornibrook can continue to impress, this team will be able to make a run at the College Football Playoff. They host Northwestern to open their Big Ten schedule. 

1. Penn State Nittany Lions

No. 4 Penn State has looked dominant in their first three games, only allowing points in one of them. Saquon Barkley (307 rush yds, 241 rec yds) leads the team in both rushing and receiving yards and Trace McSorley is completing over 67 percent of his passes. Defensively, the tradition of “Linebacker U” continues with Jason Cabinda and Manny Bowen. The Nittany Lions have looked dominant through three games, but only against non-conference foes. They face a tough test going into Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, where the last three ranked teams have all been upset by the Hawkeyes.


Zach Kaplan is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email