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B1G Power Rankings, Week 5


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A look at who has the power this week...

A look at who has the power this week...
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE

The B1G kicked off conference play in exciting fashion this past weekend with Northwestern, Ohio State and Nebraska all winning in dramatic fashion. Penn State continues to roll and Iowa took out the anger, that a week’s worth of bad publicity will create, on their arch-rival. Then there was Purdue’s strange win over Marshall. Here is the updated power rankings.

As usual, these power rankings reflect the team’s performances and injuries compared to the rest of the league, not necessarily the current standings, talent, or a predicted finish for the league, but a fluid representation of where each team currently stands.

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12. Illinois (Last Week 12)

12. Illinois (Last Week 12)
Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE

The Illini look like a team without a lot of fight in them. When you are a softer team in a league that features great line play, it is hard to get the offense going. In more spread-happy leagues, it is possible to get away with being less physical, but not in the Big Ten.

Now I know people will say Ohio State, Northwestern, Indiana, Minnesota, Michigan and Purdue all run spread offenses, but that still leaves four teams in pro-style sets. Ohio State also runs the ball out of the spread a lot more, so I would say the Buckeyes are more power based than West Coast teams. NU also runs the ball a lot. Finally there is Nebraska, which is sort of a hybrid team, but Rex Burkhead is a power back and they run the ball a ton as well.

Long story short, I think first year coach Todd Beckman is used to an offensive system that can thrive in the MAC, but doesn’t have the personnel to run it nor the right system for the league. If a West Coast passing style approach out of a spread worked in the Big Ten, how come Northwestern, Minnesota and Purdue aren’t the best teams in the league? How come Ohio State still runs the ball as often as it does? How come Wisconsin and Michigan State played in last year’s title game? The questions go on and on. I don’t get paid to have the answers, but Beckman does. Between the lackluster team and the fans not showing up, he needs to find answers sooner rather than later. He’ll get a second year for sure, but in today’s college football climate, I’m not a hundred percent sure he would get a third.

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11. Minnesota (Last Week 8)

11. Minnesota (Last Week 8)
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
Two major issues for the Gophers reared their ugly heads against Iowa and they both end in "line." The offensive and defensive lines were routinely beaten off the ball by the Hawks. As a result, Iowa’s running game managed at least five yards per carry before anyone was even touched; when Minnesota had the ball it was tough sledding. This Gopher team is improved, the 4-0 start shows that, but they aren’t quite ready for primetime yet. The question in Minnesota this week has to be: Will they get two more wins to make a bowl? The Gophers have four more home games and travel to Illinois, so I think the answer is yes.
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10. Indiana (Last Week 11)

10. Indiana (Last Week 11)
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
The Hoosiers showed a ton of heart in a losing effort to Northwestern. I like Indiana better than Minnesota and Illinois for that fact. Kevin Wilson has worked a lot of that “woe is me” body language from this program. Now if they just had one or two more playmakers on defense, they could start winning more of the close games.
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9. Wisconsin (Last Week 9)

9. Wisconsin (Last Week 9)
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
The Badgers have two issues that work hand-in-hand. The first is the defense isn’t very good. The second is the offense isn’t reliable enough to make up for the first deficiency. Until something changes, outcomes like the Nebraska game will be the norm against top-end talent in the league. Yes, the Badgers are good enough to beat the Minnesotas, Indianas and the Illinois(s) of the world, but how will they stack up against Ohio State is what Badger fans want to know.
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8. Iowa (Last Week 10)

8. Iowa (Last Week 10)
Reese Strickland-US PRESSWIRE
The Hawkeyes put together a great win last week, but there still are some issues in the passing game. Against stiffer competition, this problem will be magnified. They have an off week to try and improve the issues before taking on the league’s best defense in East Lansing (Michigan State).
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7. Michigan (Last Week 5)

7. Michigan (Last Week 5)
Brian Spurlock-US PRESSWIRE
The Wolverines were off, but the last time we saw them they had major offensive issues. They travel to a hungry (and good) Purdue team this weekend. A loss would drop Michigan to 2-3 and panic would ensue. Hate to call it a must win this early, but it has that appearance.
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6. Penn State (Last Week 7)

6. Penn State (Last Week 7)
Bradley Leeb-US PRESSWIRE
The Nittany Lions are the hottest team in the league right now and the reason is pretty simple, both sides of the ball are clicking. They host Northwestern this weekend in a game that will tell us a lot about how the second half of this year will go for both teams. A PSU win will indicate the Nittany Lions will be a major force even with the postseason ban. A Northwestern win will go a long way to catching the nation up with what Big Ten folks already know: these ‘Cats can ball.
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5. Purdue (Last Week 4b)

5. Purdue (Last Week 4b)
Pat Lovell-US PRESSWIRE
Yes, the Boilermakers let off the gas against Marshall, but they are 3-1 and could have (maybe even should have) won at Notre Dame. TerBush’s game continues to grow as he had a great day against The Herd.
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4. Michigan State (Last Week 2)

4. Michigan State (Last Week 2)
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
The Spartans defense is still amazing, but the offense is not progressing the way anyone thought. Teams are loading the box and making Le’Veon Bell an average back because the passing game is struggling. Andrew Maxwell is throwing nice balls, but the wideouts are dropping his passes left and right.
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3. Northwestern (Last Week 4a)

3. Northwestern (Last Week 4a)
Benny Sieu-US PRESSWIRE
NU might not have the talent on paper as some of the teams behind them, but they have the results (5-0, 4 wins over BCS league teams); as well as Kain Colter, who is instant offense from every position on the field. The biggest critique of this team will be how the defense plays the rest of the season. They gave up points (29) to Indiana, but perhaps the Hoosiers are better than anyone thinks.
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2. Nebraska (Last Week 3)

2. Nebraska (Last Week 3)
Bruce Thorson-US PRESSWIRE
Nobody in the Husker state would make the claim that they played flawlessly against Wisconsin, but the fact is Nebraska found a way to win. Through five weeks the Huskers have the most reliable offense in the Big Ten. This Saturday at Ohio State is going to be fantastic.
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1. Ohio State (Last Week 1)

1. Ohio State (Last Week 1)
Mike Carter-US PRESSWIRE
The Buckeyes defense is downright scary after seeing how they completely shut down Le’Veon Bell. If Braxton Miller stays healthy, this Bucks team has a real shot at perfection.
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More Big Ten Action >> B1G Performance Grades, Week 5

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