Big Ten Football Power Rankings: Week 5

Story posted September 26, 2017 in Sports, CommRadio by Brian McLaughlin

After a thrilling week in the Big Ten, the conference has shown that any week a team has the potential to fall, no matter who the opponent. Here are the Big Ten power rankings for week five.

1. Penn State (4-0, 1-0 Big Ten)

The Nittany Lions survived a major gut check in Iowa this weekend with a last second win over the Hawkeyes. Penn State’s offense struggled to punch the ball into the end zone, but the defense had its most dominant performance of the year so far, including picking up its second safety of the year. They also have the best player in the nation on offense, so this team is clearly poised to make another run at the Big Ten championship.

2. Ohio State (3-1, 1-0)

A week two loss to the Oklahoma Sooners is a bad mark early on Ohio State’s resume, but this is still a good loss. There are still questions about the Buckeyes secondary and offense, but they seemed to figure out some problems with a dominating win over UNLV this week. They set a Big Ten record with touchdown passes to seven different players. The defensive line is what could make this team special and dangerous as the season progresses. By far the best d-line in the Big Ten, they compete with Alabama and Clemson athletically in the front seven. With an established quarterback and explosive running backs in J.K. Dobbins and Mike Weber, the offense is dangerous and has potential to break out if it can find a consistent receiving threat.

3. Michigan (4-0, 1-0)

Many would believe that a 4-0 team ranked in the top ten should be higher than a 3-1 team, but Michigan has been far from impressive early in the season. Wilton Speight has struggled in 2017 with turnovers and accuracy. An injury early in the game against Purdue for Speight lead to John O’Korn entering the game and playing well, going 18-26 with a touchdown and an interception. A team with a quarterback controversy usually trips up at least once. A long-term injury to Speight may be the easy way out for Jim Harbaugh to avoid controversy and his best quarterback might be on the field. A young and inexperienced defense is going to have to grow up fast to stay undefeated.

4. Wisconsin (3-0, 0-0)

Wisconsin is yet to begin conference play and has the best schedule for any Big Ten powerhouse. They avoid both Penn State and Ohio State and play both Iowa and Michigan at home. This is a team that could go undefeated all the way to the Big Ten Championship in a weak Big Ten West. Unless a lower profile team emerges, we won’t learn much about the Badgers until November. Based on talent alone, it will be hard for the Badgers to move up in the polls and will be over shadowed by its big brothers in the Big Ten East.

5. Iowa (3-1, 0-1)

This may be a slight overreaction after an impressive game against Penn State, but the Hawkeyes showed a great will to win. Many thought it would be against Penn State, but Iowa is likely to play spoiler at some point this season. They play Ohio State at home Nov. 4, which will be a huge test for the Buckeyes who will coming off a battle with Penn State the week before. After keeping Michigan out of the playoff last year, this team loves being the home underdog. Kirk Ferentz may be the most underrated coach in the country and will have his group ready to play every game. While dominated in every statistic against Penn State, the Hawkeyes found a way to keep it close, lead by linebacker Josey Jewel. A possible Big Ten defensive player of the year candidate, Jewel is a difference maker on defense.

6. Minnesota (3-0, 0-0)

7. Maryland (2-1, 0-0)

8. Michigan State (2-1, 0-0)

9. Purdue (2-2, 0-1)

10. Indiana (2-1,0-1)

11. Northwestern (2-1, 0-0)

12. Nebraska (2-2, 1-0)

13. Illinois (2-1, 0-0)

14. Rutgers (1-3, 0-1)

 

Brian McLaughlin is a sophomore majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email bxm48@psu.edu