Ohio State is ranked No. 2 in both the Associated Press and Coaches Poll. Both have Michigan at No. 4. No matter where you look, the Buckeyes and Wolverines are seen as the Big Ten’s big dogs this season.
But who’s third? Well, that’s where differences emerge.
ESPN’s Dan Murphy has Wisconsin third while Big Ten Network’s Tom Dienhart has Nebraska third in their respective power rankings. It really comes down to where you see more value: schedule strength (even in defeat) or unbeaten records. Wisconsin has the former, with the only loss coming on the road at No. 4 Michigan by 7 last Saturday. Nebraska has the unbeaten record, keeping it intact with Saturday’s rally against Illinois.
After those two, Maryland seems to be the consensus at No. 5 after Saturday’s 50-7 destruction of Purdue. The Terrapins are 4-0 and on a roll offensively, averaging more than 40 points per game.
It gets more muddied from there. Michigan State has the largest discrepancy: No. 7 for Murphy but No. 11 for Dienhart. The Spartans’ best win of the season, Notre Dame, doesn’t look as great as it used to, plus the Spartans have looked average at best the past two weeks — both losses.
Iowa’s fall has also been sudden and surprising. The Hawkeyes were once around the top 10 in the major polls. Now they’re Nos. 10 and 11 in the Big Ten conference, at least for Murphy and Dienhart.
Here’s the breakdown:
Ohio State: 1 (Dienhart)/1 (Murphy)
Penn State: 6/8
Michigan State: 11/7