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NCAAF · 2 months ago

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 5: Michigan Dominates Nebraska

Danny Mogollon

Danny Mogollon

Big Ten Power Rankings Week 5: Michigan Dominates Nebraska

Two teams were idle in Week 5 (Ohio State and Wisconsin), while Michigan, Penn State, Maryland, and surprise, surprise, Purdue won in laughers. Indiana fired a coordinator, while the head coaches at Illinois and Nebraska were vocal about their team’s poor performances on Saturday.

Here’s how the B1G teams rank after five weeks of college football:

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(1) Michigan Wolverines 5-0 | 2-0 (1)

Last Week: Won @ Nebraska 45-7 | SP+: 1 | PFF: 3

The critics wanted a “dominant” performance, and boy, did the Wolverines deliver. Coming into Lincoln, the Huskers were highly ranked, rushing the football and stopping the run. Michigan ran for 249 yards and held Nebraska to 32 rushing yards before WR Joshua Fleeks took his first carry as a Husker 74 yards for a TD with just over four minutes left.

Up Next: @ Minnesota (-20.5)

(2) Penn State Nittany Lions 5-0 | 3-0 (2)

Last Week: Won @ Northwestern 41-13 | SP+: 13 | PFF: 5

Despite the final score, the more I watch, the less I’m impressed with Penn State’s offense. The Nittany Lions were tied at ten at halftime in Evanston and averaged a subpar 4.84 yards per play. They better get things going soon (a trip to Columbus in three weeks).

Up Next: vs. UMass (Oct. 14)

More Penn State: Nittany Lions Win Big Over Northwestern

(3) Ohio State Buckeyes 4-0 | 1-0 (3)

Last Week: Idle | SP+: 2 | PFF: 6

Do you want to talk tough? Let’s talk tough. A week after OSU rushed for 126 yards (4.7 YPC), Duke picked up 189 yards on the ground (4.7 YPC) against Notre Dame. Should we be worried about the offense? The Blue Devils also got two sacks after the Bucks were blanked. Are we thumping our chest about Duke-level tough? Slap the floor, I guess.  

Up Next: vs. Maryland (-18.5)

(4) Maryland Terrapins 5-0 | 2-0 (4)

Last Week: Won vs. Indiana 44-17 | SP+: 31 | PFF: 21

The Terps boat raced to a 44-3 lead over Indiana before calling off the turtles. They averaged a whopping 8.42 yards per play, including 10.06 per dropback. It’s not just about the offense this year, as Maryland’s D is sneaky solid.

Up Next: @ Ohio State (+18.5)

(5) Iowa Hawkeyes 4-1 | 1-1 (5)

Last Week: Won vs. Michigan State 26-16 | SP+: 38 | PFF: 30

The Hawkeyes got a big and much-needed comeback win after a fumble return for a TD put Sparty ahead 16-10. The defense pitched a second-half shutout, dynamic CB Cooper DeJean (play him on offense!) returned a punt for a TD, and the offense was the offense. Now we wait to hear how bad Cade McNamara’s injury was.

Up Next: vs. Purdue (-2.5)

Before you make your bets for Week 6, make sure to check out SportsGrid’s college football picks and five-star player props!

(6) Wisconsin Badgers 3-1 | 1-0 (6)

Last Week: Idle | SP+: 25 | PFF: 23

While the Badgers haven’t been overly impressive four games into the season, they will be favored in seven of their remaining eight games (with OSU being the exception), as the B1G West may produce fewer bowl teams than expected.

Up Next: vs. Rutgers (-13.5)

(7) Minnesota Golden Gophers 3-2 | 1-1 (7)

Last Week: Won vs. UL Lafayette 35-24 | SP+: 54 | PFF: 49

With an impressive second half (21-7), the Gophers avoided a disastrous second straight double-digit upset loss. Without leading rusher Darius Taylor, RS freshman Zach Evans ran for 85 yards (5.7 YPC) in his first action of the season. They were very efficient passing (10.6 YPP), with an elite 56 percent success rate on offense.

Up Next: vs. Michigan (+20.5)

(8) Michigan State Spartans 2-3 | 0-2 (8)

Last Week: Lost @ Iowa 26-16| SP+: 57 | PFF: 72

The offense now has two touchdowns in 12 quarters against Power Five defenses, and QB Noah Kim has one TD pass to six interceptions in those games. Linebacker Jacoby Windmon, probably their best defender, is out for the season, which doesn’t help the cause in East Lansing.

Up Next: @ Rutgers (Oct. 14)

(9) Rutgers Scarlet Knights 4-1 | 1-1 (10)

Last Week: Won vs. Wagner 52-3 | SP+: 61 | PFF: 56

Do I believe Rutgers is the ninth-best team in the Big Ten? Nope. But the gap between the teams just ahead and behind them is small. Can they get two wins over the next three games (vs. MSU and at IU after this week)?

Up Next: @ Wisconsin (+13.5)

(10) Purdue Boilermakers 2-3 | 1-1 (11)

Last Week: Won vs. Illinois 44-19 | SP+: 68 | PFF: 66

Wow. I didn’t know the Boilermakers had that in them! They played very crisp on offense (54 percent success rate), as former Iowa WR Tyrone Tracy Jr. rushed for 112 yards, while Hudson Card was efficient (8.04 yards per dropback, 2 TDs, 0 INTs). The defense limited explosive plays and rose to the occasion on third downs and in the red zone.

Up Next: @ Iowa (+2.5)

(11) Illinois Fighting Illini 2-3 | 0-2 (9)

Last Week: Lost @ Purdue 44-19 | SP+: 52 | PFF: 48

That was the worst loss of the Bret Bielema era. The headman was especially displeased with his defense. On a positive note, the Illini may have found a running back in true freshman Kaden Feagin (85 yards, 7.7 YPC), an impressive athlete with excellent size.

Up Next: (FRI) vs. Nebraska (-3.5)

(12) Nebraska Cornhuskers 2-3 | 0-2 (12)

Last Week: Lost vs. Michigan 45-7 | SP+: 69 | PFF: 69

Anyone who thought the Huskers were making progress got a cold dose of reality when Michigan utterly dominated them. Nebraska might be 69th in SP+ and PFF, but there’s little nice about this football team.

Up Next: (FRI) @ Illinois (+3.5)

(13) Northwestern Wildcats 2-3 | 1-2 (13)

Last Week: Lost vs. Penn State 41-13 | SP+: 95 | PFF: 89

The Wildcats made it a game for a half, and really, what more can you expect, considering the talent disparity? The more significant concern is the status of QB Ben Bryant, who was injured in the second half against Penn State.

Up Next: vs. Howard (NL)

(14) Indiana Hoosiers 2-3 0-2 (14)

Last Week: Lost @ Maryland 44-17 | SP+: 91 | PFF: 91

On Sunday, Tom Allen fired his offensive coordinator, Walt Bell. I guess when you allow 44 points, someone has to pay. I get it. The offense has been bad, but is the offensive line, quarterback play, or running game suddenly not even good but OK?

Up Next: @ Michigan (Oct. 14)

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