Spartan Digest Big Ten Power Rankings #4

The fourth week of Big Ten play is now in the books giving fans an even better understanding of where the conference stands. Here is our fourth B10 Power Rankings for 2011 with some major changes.

Another weekend of B10 football is in the books. Highlighted by Saturday nights "Rocket" play by Michigan State, the rankings see a shuffle at the top and in the middle.

#1. Michigan State – The Spartans found magic against in the north east end zone of Spartan Stadium with a play head coach Mark Dantonio called "Rocket" following his teams big win over Wisconsin. The Spartans only get a small window to enjoy the victory as they'll head off to Nebraska this Saturday for a tough road test against the Huskers that could shake up the Legends again.

#2. Wisconsin – Those who watched the Badgers loss to Michigan State still came away impressed with the overall play of the team. Russell Wilson gives the Badgers a chance to win big when added to their already impressive running game. I would be shocked if Wisconsin is not in the Big Ten Championship game at the end of the season.

#3. Nebraska – The next big test for the Huskers will happen Saturday when Michigan State comes to town looking to keep their sights on winning the Legends division. The Huskers are sure to have something to say about the outcome of this game and the path any team takes to the Big Ten Championship game.

#4. Penn State – We more the Nittany Lions up one spot based on their overall record (7-1). Coming off a win over Northwestern, Joe Paterno just continues to win football games. Up next is Illinois before the Nittany Lions get a week off and face the task of playing Nebraska, Ohio State, and Wisconsin to finish out the season.

#5. Michigan – The Wolverines loss to Michigan State may still be on the mind of head coach Brady Hoke. However, he'll need to move of or risk getting beat by a rising Purdue squad that has found life in Big Ten play. A week off should have give the Wolverines time to heal their wounds and rebound.

#6. Ohio State – The Buckeyes had a weekend off following their win over Illinois. We left OSU in this spot because of their win over Illinois. However, Saturday night could find the Buckeyes reeling as they host Wisconsin who will be looking to get back on track after their loss to Michigan State.

#7. Iowa – The Hawkeyes beat a bad Indiana team to earn their fifth win of the season. The winning should continue this weekend as they travel to Minnesota before looking at the hardest part of their schedule with Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, and Nebraska.

#8. Purdue – We have felt Danny Hope has been on hot seat this season. However, the Boilermakers upset of Illinois proves you better be ready to play Hope's young team. Nevertheless, can it really continue in the coming weeks as Hope's team will have to play Michigan, Wisconsin, Ohio State, and Iowa before finishing with Indiana?

#9. Illinois – We were nice to Ron Zook's team a week ago and look what they did by going out and losing to Purdue. It's a good think Illinois already has six wins on the season because Penn State, Michigan and Wisconsin are ahead before a finish at Minnesota.

#10. Northwestern – Northwestern is only in this spot because they have one more win as compared to Minnesota and Indiana on the season. The Wildcats can still play spoiler in the coming weeks but must go 4-1 to end the season if they hope to make a bowl game.

#11. Indiana – Kevin Wilson made a change at quarterback with Tre Roberson but was still unable to get a conference win. It was not a good weekend for the Hoosiers as they also learned their top quarterback pledge Gunner Kiel reopened his recruitment.

#12. Minnesota – No one expected the Golden Gophers to beat Nebraska. Now the race is on between Kill and Indiana head coach Kevin Wilson to see who gets their first Big Ten win. Iowa is up next before a trip to Michigan State.


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