Big Ten power rankings after Week 3: Penn State can’t quite take over no. 1

Big Ten power rankings after Week 3: Penn State can’t quite take over no. 1

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Just when you think nothing is going to happen in a particular college football week, some stuff seems to pop up out of nowhere. There were some notable developments around the top 25 in Week 3 of the college football season, but things in the Big Ten went pretty much as expected, for the most part.

Overall, it was a pretty stable week for my power rankings. The biggest team on the move for me may have been Michigan State, which got hammered at home by Washington. I fear there will be more big losses on the way for the Spartans, so they could be falling hard and fast if they don’t rebound and rally in East Lansing.

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If there was a week for Michigan to be dethroned, this was it. But Penn State didn’t quite do enough in my book to warrant sliding ahead of the Wolverines just yet. I did, however, opt to keep them ahead of Ohio State for a second striaght week even though Ohio State woke up the offense this week.

Here is a look at my updated Big Ten power rankings following the results of Week 3.

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Last game: Duke 38, Northwestern 14

Northwestern returned to the losing column in Week 3 with a loss at Duke. Duke is off to a good start this season, so we knew this would be difficult for the Wildcats. There is still nowhere to go but up for the Wildcats.

Previous ranking: 14

Next up for Northwestern: vs. Minnesota

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Last game: Louisville 21, Indiana 14

Previous ranking: 13

Indiana dug a hole early against Louisville in Indianapolis, but they battled back. Unfortunately, they couldn’t complete the comeback and came up short against their ACC opponent. Indiana gets one more non-conference matchup to play next week.

Next up for Indiana: vs. Akron

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Last game: Nebraska 35, Northern Illinois 11

Previous ranking: 12

Nebraska won its first game under new head coach Matt Rhule. A new starting quarterback may have helped the cause, but so did simply playing in front of the home fans against its weakest opponent of the season so far.

Next up for Nebraska: vs. Louisiana Tech

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Last game: Penn State 30, Illinois 13

Previous ranking: 11

After getting scorched a week before, the Illinois defense played much better against Penn State. But the offense could not get out of its own way with five turnovers in a home loss to the Nittany Lions. A get-right opportunity could be coming next week for the Illini.

Next up for Illinois: vs. Florida Atlantic

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Last game: Syracuse 35, Purdue 20

Previous ranking: 10

A week after a nice road win against one ACC team, Purdue returned home and dug a hole against another. Purdue had no answers for Syracuse’s mobile quarterback and suffered a tough loss at home by faltering in the fourth quarter.

Next up for Purdue: vs. Wisconsin (Friday)

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Last game: Washington 41, Michigan State 7

Previous ranking: 7

This was perhaps the worst possible week for Michigan State to face a team like Washington. The results were about as bad as they get with over 700 yards of offense allowed to the visiting Huskies. This could be a bad omen for a season about to quickly go in the tank.

Next up for Michigan State: vs. Maryland

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Last game: Rutgers 35, Virginia Tech 16

Previous ranking: 9

Rutgers did exactly what it needed to to in non-conference play to keep bowl hopes alive entering Big Ten play. The scarlet Knights dominated Virginia Tech at home in Week 3 to remain undefeated. But things are about to get much tougher next week.

Next up for Rutgers: at Michigan

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Last game: Wisconsin 35, Georgia Southern 14

Previous ranking: 8

Wisconsin still looks like a little bit of a work in progress. It took some time to get going against Georgia Southern and there was still some room to improve. The Badgers should be OK though.

Next up for Wisconsin: at Purdue (Friday)

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Last game: North Carolina 31, Minnesota 13

Previous ranking: 6

Minnesota’s offensive struggles continued on the road against North Carolina, but it was the defense that had a rough outing in ACC territory. Minnesota had few answers for Drake Maye on the road as they took their first loss of the season.

Next up for Minnesota: at North Carolina

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Last game: Maryland 42, Virginia 14

Previous ranking: 5

After falling behind early at home for the second week in a row, Maryland rattled off 42 unanswered points in a blowout win over Virginia. The Terrapins remain one of the biggest wild card factors in the Big Ten.

Next up for Maryland: at Michigan State

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Last game: Iowa 41, Western Michigan 10

Previous ranking: 4

Iowa managed to score 41 points as Leshon Williams had a big day on the ground against Western Michigan. Iowa faces a stiff road test next week and will need the offense to figure out if it can keep it going.

Next up for Iowa: at Penn State

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Last game: Ohio State 63, Western Kentucky 10

Previous ranking: 3

Ohio State’s offense exploded for 35 second-quarter points against Western Kentucky and looked the best it has this early in the year. The Buckeyes will hope this momentum carries over into a good week of practice with a big road game coming up next weekend.

Next up for Ohio State: vs. at Notre Dame

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Last game: Penn State 30, Illinois 13

Previous ranking: 2

Not every win has to be pretty, although James Franklin called this a pretty Big Ten win. Penn State’s first road test saw the defense lead the way with five turnovers against Illinois, but the offense knows it left points on the board in too many situations.

If Penn State’s offense played a better game, then they may have moved to the top of the power rankings this week.

Next up for Penn State: vs. Iowa

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Last game: Michigan 31, Bowling Green 6

Previous ranking: 1

The Michigan Wolverines got a solid game from Blake Corum but J.J. McCarthy had a tough outing with three interceptions thrown. Michigan lost four turnovers against Bowling Green but had the defense to keep the Falcons from doing any real damage.

Next up for Michigan: vs. Rutgers

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