There has been plenty of movement in the rankings and we are through just three weeks of the season.
The Big Ten has been as successful as expected this season. There are currently six ranked teams with three teams in the top 10 and two teams in the top six — this includes both Michigan and Michigan State. Maryland and Rutgers are hoping to turn the corner and remain in the middle of the pack while Indiana and Northwestern have fallen.
Even the reliable staple in the conference has sunk. To this point of the season, Ohio State has not looked much like the usual championship contender they are. Instead, they already have a loss and have struggled with a new cast of characters.
With all that being said, let’s take a look at where the power rankings stand after Week 3 action.
(Editor’s Note: AP Poll rankings included after power rankings listing for each team it’s applicable for.)
1. No. 6 Penn State (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 28-20 vs. No. 22 Auburn
Next: 9/25 vs. Villanova
Penn State is legitimate. The defense is good, the receivers are elite, and Sean Clifford continues to be underrated. This will be said every week. Clifford threw for 280 yards and two scores against Auburn. This was a prove-it game for Penn State and they did just that. Early in the year, the Nittany Lions have victories over Wisconsin on the road and Auburn. With an FCS matchup with Villanova coming up, Penn State should be at the top once again after Week 4.
2. No. 5 Iowa (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 30-7 vs. Kent State
Next: 9/25 vs. Colorado State
Sometimes scheduling impacts rankings and the timing did not work in Iowa’s favor. There is no doubt that they are in the top two to this point. On Saturday, they enjoyed a matter-of-fact victory over Kent State. It was 16-7 at halftime and the Hawkeyes won the second half 14-0. This game was never close as Spencer Petras continues to have control and the defense is rock solid.
3. No. 19 Michigan (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 63-10 vs. Northern Illinois
Next: 9/25 vs. Rutgers
Michigan has not played anyone just yet. They are 3-0 but continue to dominate and pound teams into the ground, which is what they are supposed to do. Against Northern Illinois, they totaled 606 total yards and 343 yards on the ground. The Wolverines scored seven rushing touchdowns. We will start to see what Michigan is made of in Big Ten play and it starts with none other than Rutgers.
4. No. 10 Ohio State (2-1, 1-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 41-20 vs. Tulsa
Next: 9/25 vs. Akron
It’s hard to completely jump off the Ohio State bandwagon until we see them lose. They still have a chance to win the Big Ten and advance to the CFB Playoff. This would not surprise anyone. After three weeks, they look a bit suspect. CJ Stroud is inconsistent and the defense has struggled. They already have one loss but it was to Pac-12 Oregon and will not impact the Buckeyes as much as a Big Ten loss would. Do not expect any drama this week against Akron.
5. No. 20 Michigan State (3-0, 1-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 38-17 at No. 24 Miami
Next: 9/25 vs. Nebraska
Michigan State turned in that statement victory on Saturday. Is Miami good? No. They have been overrated for years but this is a top-25 win on the road in dominant fashion. Mel Tucker might have this program turned around much faster than expected. Kenneth Walker III is a huge threat on the ground and Payton Thorne continues to take care of the ball. Walker rushed for 172 yards on Saturday while Thorne tossed four touchdowns. This is another team that will be interesting to watch in conference play — with one win already under their belt.
6. No. 18 Wisconsin (1-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: BYE
Next: 9/25 vs. No. 12 Notre Dame
Wisconsin enjoyed a bye this week and should have used it to find that consistency on the offensive side of the ball. They will face Notre Dame this week and that is not the usual high-powered matchup we could expect. These are two struggling offenses who can play defense. Something will have to give in this game. The Badgers will have to run the ball effectively and Graham Mertz will have to take care of it.
7. Maryland (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 20-17 at Illinois
Next: 9/25 vs. Kent State
Maryland struggled with a below-average Illinois team on Friday night. Regardless, it was a road victory in conference and Taulia Tagovailoa continues to put up big numbers. The offense finished with 481 yards but lost two fumbles that setup the Illini well. The Terrapins were able to escape with a last-second field goal and have a favorable matchup Kent State and its poor defense this week.
8. Rutgers (3-0, 0-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 45-13 vs. Delaware
Next: 9/25 at No. 19 Michigan
Rutgers did what they had to do in three weeks. The Scarlet Knights ended their non-conference schedule with three wins and did it in impressive fashion. Now, Rutgers will be able to show what they are made of and it does not begin in a favorable way. Greg Schiano will lead his team on the road against Michigan, who is looking like a threat this season. The defense will have to step up once again in this matchup. Regardless, Rutgers is 3-0 and preparing for a primetime matchup against the Wolverines.
9. Minnesota (2-1, 0-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: W, 30-0 at Colorado
Next: 9/25 vs. Bowling Green
Minnesota dominated Colorado in Week 3, who almost upset Texas A&M last week. This entire dynamic does not make much sense. So what does it mean? We still do not know much about the Gophers. We will have to wait and see what Minnesota is made of. They have another winnable game against Bowling Green this week to continue to build momentum.
10. Purdue (2-1, 0-0 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 27-13 at No. 12 Notre Dame
Next: 9/25 vs. Illinois
Purdue fought against Notre Dame this week on the road. In the end, it was still a two-score contest. The Boilermakers competed defensively but the offense continued to be underwhelming. They won the time-of-possession battle by nearly nine minutes but rushed for just 57 yards and turned it over twice. That is the difference in this one. Purdue has some work to do on the offensive side of the ball.
11. Nebraska (2-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 23-16 at No. 3 Oklahoma
Next: 9/25 at No. 20 Michigan State
Nebraska is the only team that can leave a seven-point loss to the No. 3 team in the nation with a sour taste. This was a game that should have the Cornhuskers riding high as they nearly pulled off an upset on the road against Oklahoma. Instead, Adrian Martinez and Nebraska put together a head-scratching series trying to tie the game late in the fourth quarter. They will be on the road once against against a hot Michigan State team and it could be a big letdown spot.
12. Indiana (1-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 38-24 vs. No. 8 Cincinnati
Next: 9/25 at Western Kentucky
Maybe Indiana just isn’t that good. The Hoosiers had a chance to pickup their statement win to this point in the season but games are not 45 minutes. All 60 minutes must be taken into account. Indiana led 14-10 at halftime and 24-23 heading into the fourth quarter. Cincinnati scored all 15 points in the final 15 minutes and it was a 14-point loss for the Hoosiers. They turned it over four times with three coming on interceptions from Michael Penix Jr.
13. Northwestern (1-2, 0-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 30-23 at Duke
Next: 9/25 vs. Ohio
Northwestern has some major problems. When you get dominated by Duke, something is wrong. This game was 21-0 after the first quarter and 30-7 at halftime. Yes, the Wildcats scored the final 16 points of the game but it was well in hand. Pat Fitzgerald better make some adjustments and very soon.
14. Illinois (1-3, 1-1 Big Ten)
Most Recent: L, 20-17 vs. Maryland
Next: 9/25 at Purdue
In any given year, Northwestern would be the bottom of the barrel. That is, of course, if Illinois is in the mix. They are finding new ways to lose games and that is never good. It seems like their home-opening victory over Nebraska was years ago after three-straight losses. It does not get any easier with Big Ten play continuing.