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Weekend Rewind, Week 3: Big Ten Power Rankings

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The Big Ten struggled again Saturday, further cluttering an already convoluted conference.

Matthew Holst

The Big Ten went a poor 3-6 against teams outside the conference this weekend and Saturday also included Rutgers' inaugural Big Ten game in a loss at Penn State. Here is how Henry Bushnell and Josh Rosenblat rank the conference's members after three weeks:

1. Michigan State (1-1)

Average: 1 Last week: 1 JR: 1 HB: 1

Michigan State, like Northwestern, had a bye this week after taking a tough loss at Oregon last week. The Spartans are the class of the Big Ten, and probably the only team that would be able to compete against the elite teams in the nation.

T-2. Ohio State (2-1)

Average: 2.5 Last week: 3 JR: 2 HB: 3

Coming off a loss to Virginia Tech, Ohio State got back on track with a 66-0 win over Kent State. Quarterback JT Barrett was on fire, throwing for six touchdowns, setting the Buckeyes up to play Cincinnati in two weeks.

T-2. Wisconsin (1-1)

Average: 2.5 Last week: 2 JR: 3 HB: 2

Also on a bye this week, Wisconsin's standing didn't change much ahead of a matchup with Bowling Green, who beat Indiana this week.

4. Nebraska (3-0)

Average: 4 Last week: T-4 JR: 4 HB: 4

One of two undefeated teams left in the Big Ten, Nebraska took care of Fresno State out in California with a 55-19 win. Nebraska really hasn't played much of anyone yet, but a big-time win against Miami in week four could prove a lot of doubters wrong.

T-5. Michigan (2-1)

Average: 5.5 Last week: 6 JR: 5 HB: 6

Following an absolute beating at the hands of Notre Dame in week two, Michigan responded with a routine win over Miami (OH). The biggest revelation for the Wolverines was the running game where Derrick Green led the team with 137 yards and two touchdowns.

T-5. Penn State (3-0)

Average: 5.5 Last week: 4 JR: 6 HB: 5

The other undefeated team in the conference along with Nebraska opened Big Ten play with a comeback win over Rutgers. The NCAA just lifted Penn State's postseason ban giving the Nittany Lions' season a new meaning.

T-7. Iowa (2-1)

Average: 7.5 Last week: 6 JR: 7 HB: 8

Iowa has been one of the most disappointing teams in the Big Ten after struggling for two weeks before a home loss to Iowa State, giving hope to other teams, such as Northwestern, in the Big Ten's West division.

T-7. Maryland (2-1)

Average: 7.5 Last week: 8 JR: 8 HB: 7

It's gotten to the point in the Big Ten, starting with Iowa, where teams are being graded on their close losses. Maryland played pretty well in a 40-37 loss to West Virginia and faces Syracuse this week.

T-9. Rutgers (2-1)

Average: 9.5 Last week: 11 JR: 9 HB: 10

Put in a tough situation for its Big Ten opener, Rutgers got off to an impressive first half in State College, jumping out to a 10-point lead. Penn State came back to win, but Rutgers showed some positive signs albeit in a loss.

T-9. Northwestern (0-2)

Average: 9.5 Last week: T-12 JR: 10 HB: 9

Northwestern moves up in our rankings after not playing in week three. That's probably because, as has become custom this season, the Big Ten had poor showings as a whole.

T-11. Indiana (1-1)

Average: 11.5 Last week: 10 JR: 11 HB: 12

Over the past two seasons, Indiana has gone 6-0 when holding opponents under 36 points. Those are the only games the team has won. Indiana can score, but the defense as is poor as it gets.

T-11. Minnesota (2-1)

Average: 11.5 Last week: 9 JR: 12 HB: 11

TCU hammered Minnesota 30-7 in week three after wins over Eastern Illinois and Middle Tennessee State. Minnesota, frankly, was outclassed by the Horned Frogs.

13. Illinois (2-1)

Average: 13 Last week: T-12 JR: 13 HB: 13

There had been hope that Illinois could be a dangerous offensive team with Oklahoma State transfer Wes Lunt leading the charge at quarterback. But Washington stopped that thinking pretty quick Saturday as the Huskies handled the Illini with an easy 44-19 victory.

14. Purdue (1-2)

Average: 14 Last week: 14 JR: 14 HB: 14

The Boilermakers actually played pretty well against Notre Dame, keeping the game close throughout much of the first half. The Irish, though, turned it on to break open the game in the second half to cruise to a victory.