We got one symbolic step closer to Big Ten football Sunday as the Associated Press included the conference’s teams in its weekly Top 25 poll for the first time since August 24. In the AP’s Week 4 rankings released Sunday, four conference squads earned a spot among the nation’s best. The poll featured six B1G teams were featured in its preseason edition.
Ohio State ranked sixth, dropping four spots from its No. 2 overall ranking during the preseason. Penn State came in at 10th, falling three slots from its original spot at seventh overall. Wisconsin and Michigan, who were ranked 12th and 16th respectively in the preseason, now hold the 19th and 23rd places.
Two Big Ten teams who earned spots in the original poll were left out of the latest edition. Minnesota ranked 19th at the beginning of the season and Iowa at 24th. Neither team received enough votes to be included. It will be interesting to see how the teams who aren’t currently playing shift around the polls before their seasons begin. It’s hard for them to rise or fall on their own accounts, but they are likely to see movement based on big wins or losses from other teams.
Indiana and Northwestern (!) both received votes in the preseason poll — NU garnered just one while the Hoosiers had 19 — but neither got the same support this time around.
Still a month away from the first Saturday of Big Ten play, most other conferences will have four to six games under their belts before NU first takes the field. As a result, it will certainly be interesting to see how the voters compare the Big Ten and Pac-12 in particular to the others in the national rankings for the remainder of the season, even once they play. That debate will continue all the way through the selection of the College Football Playoff field.