Sep 28, 2013; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker Christian Kirksey (20) celebrates after intercepting a pass in the second quarter against the Minnesota Golden Gophers at TCF Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports

Big Ten Power Rankings After Week Five

1. Ohio State (5-0, 1-0) – 44 points (all first-place votes) (LW: 1)

Ryan: Boy, the Buckeyes sure are good aren’t they? Their speed ended up being too much to overcome for the Badgers, and Braxton Miller looked like he hadn’t missed a snap while tossing 4 TD passes despite sitting out the past 2 games with a knee injury.  What’s next? The Buckeyes take their nation leading 17 game winning streak into Evanston this Saturday to clash with the Wildcats in a possible Big Ten Championship Game preview.

2. Northwestern (4-0, 0-0) – 38 points (LW: 3)

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Ryan (2nd): The Wildcats had the week off to rest up and prepare for their showdown with Ohio St this Saturday. This is undoubtedly the biggest game in Evanston in quite some time, but on Monday Northwestern was doing its best to downplay any type of significance. When all is said and done, this matchup will show the rest of the B1G exactly how tough the Wildcats truly are this season.

3. Wisconsin (3-2, 1-1) – 35 points (LW: 2)

Ryan (3rd): Jared Abbrederis showed up in primetime in a major way by hauling in 10 passes for 207 yards and 1 TD. Unfortunately for the Badgers, the Ohio St. rush defense took the challenge of stopping the Wisconsin run game very seriously. The Buckeyes held the Badgers to 104 yards rushing on the game which was 245.8 yards below the Badger rushing average on the season coming in to the matchup.  The Badgers will look to regroup on their bye week and get ready to take on Northwestern on October 12th at Camp Randall Stadium.

4. Michigan (4-0, 0-0) – 32 points (LW: 4)

Ricky (5th): Michigan might have had a bye this week, but no one has forgotten their two close calls against Akron and Connecticut. Michigan is a team that needs to prove themselves as they enter Big Ten play. Their first test will be Minnesota who lost last week to Iowa at home. The Wolverines need to show the nation and the Big Ten that they can be that team to be reckoned with week in and week out.

5. Nebraska (3-1, 0-0) – 28 points (LW: 5)

Ricky (7th): Just like many teams in the Big Ten, the Cornhuskers had a much needed bye week this past weekend. However, their first conference foe will not be an easy one. For a team that is battling their coach telling fans to “eff off” and a quarterback battle, this is not what the doctor ordered. With Illinois up first for Big ten play, the Cornhuskers might see their Big Ten title hopes disappear before their very eyes.

6. Michigan State (3-1, 0-0) – 22 points (LW: 6)

Ricky (4th): Michigan State showed in their last game that their offense is completely figured out after losing to Notre Dame 17-13. The Spartans will begin conference play with a match-up with the Iowa Hawkeyes. Iowa is coming off of a huge road win over Minnesota and will be looking to go 2-0 in Big Ten play. MSU’s defense will be their strong point, but they might struggle if the offense isn’t able to get going.

7. Illinois (3-1, 0-0) – 20 points (LW: T7)

Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Mandatory Credit: Bradley Leeb-USA TODAY Sports

Ricky (6th): Illinois came out swinging after losing to the Washington Huskies in Chicago in Week 4 by defeating Miami (OH) 50-14. Nathan Scheelhaase had a career high type of game and showed Nebraska what they will be dealing with in week 6. With the new Bill Cubit offense, the Tim Beckman era is looking bright for the very first time. The team has more wins than it did in 2012 and they will look to do what they couldn’t last season. Win a Big Ten game.

8. Penn State (3-1, 0-0) – 17 points (LW: T7)

Ricky (10th): Penn State was yet another team with a bye this past week, and will gear up for Big Ten conference play. Their first conference foe will be an Indiana squad that go rolled by Mizzou in their prime time game. This could be a “tune up” type game for the Mittany Lions as they get set to play Michigan the following weekend.

9. Iowa (4-1, 1-0) – 13 points (LW: 11)

Ryan (7th): The Hawkeyes proved they aren’t quite the B1G bottom feeders they were thought to be by many within the media when they took away Minnesota’s 13th ranked rush game this past weekend.  The Gophers only gained 30 yards on the ground, well off their normal pace, and the Hawkeyes subsequently left Minneapolis with a well-deserved 23-7 win in the battle for Floyd of Rosedale. Next up for the Hawks is a game against Michigan St. that offers them a chance to move even further up the B1G food chain.

10. Indiana (2-2, 0-0) – 8 points (LW: 10)

Ricky (9th): Indiana had a bad taste in their mouth this week after losing to Missouri in their week 4 primetime game. The Hoosiers look to conference play and will seek a big win over PSU. Although at home, Indiana is the underdog in this game and might be in for a long game. The Hoosiers have proven that they can score points, but can they stop their opponent from getting into the endzone? That is the question.

11. Minnesota (4-1, 0-0) – 7 points (LW: 9)

Ryan (10th): The Gophers were stymied by Iowa this past weekend, and were exposed as a one dimensional team without their starting QB at full strength. Philip Nelson made his return from injury, but he didn’t provide a threat with his legs as he had in his first 2 starts of the season. The Hawkeyes defense was dominant, and the Gophers never got anything going offensively. The Gophers travel to the Big House to face a struggling Michigan team this weekend in the battle for The Little Brown Jug, which is the oldest trophy game in all of FBS college football. Minnesota has not won against Michigan since 2005. If the Michigan defense took any notes from the Iowa game don’t expect the Gophers to win this year either. 

12. Purdue (1-4, 0-1) – 0 points (LW: 12)

Ryan (12th): The Rob Henry era appears to be over in West Lafayette. Unfortunately for the Boilers, the season isn’t even close to being done. Purdue committed 7 penalties for 58 yards and turned the ball over 5 times in their most recent loss, a 55-24 defeat at the hands of MAC member Northern Illinois. No matter how you shake it, this Boilermaker team is awful, and they can’t seem to get past their own miscues. So far this season, Purdue has turned the ball over 29 times, and they have committed 64 penalties for 495 yards. Perhaps they will take their bye week off, regroup, and come out ready to take down the Huskers on October 12th at Ross-Ade Stadium. Then again, perhaps not.

The Writing Illini Big Ten power rankings are a collection of votes from our staff. Commentary is provided by lead editor Ricky Widmer and staff writer Ryan Kraemer.

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