Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

Week 5 Big Ten West Power Ratings

Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska all won as they were expected. It was Wisconsin's win that turned heads and is another sign the Badgers are not going to concede to their difficult schedule.

Big Ten West Power Ratings:  Week 5

 

No. 1 Iowa Hawkeyes

DTCR:  27% (No Change)

Week 5:  The Hawkeyes opened Big Ten play with a trip to Rutgers to face the Scarlet Knights.  While Iowa was not overly impressive in the 14-7 victory it still counts as a road victory in the Big Ten.  Most team cherish conference road victories and the Hawkeyes will as well.  For Iowa to win the Big Ten West they will have to flex their muscle over the course of the next four weeks. The Hawkeyes get Northwestern at home, then trip to Minnesota and Purdue before returning to square of with Wisconsin.  A 4-0 stretch would leave the Hawkeyes at 5-0 in the conference heading into their bye week and in prime position.

 

 

No. T2 Minnesota Golden Gophers

DTCR:  26% (No Change) 

Week 5:  The Gophers still haven't really done anything that most everyone didn't expect.  The Gophers are 3-0 but that is exactly what was expected for the Gophers in the nonconference.  What is surprising is the fact that roles have been reversed in Dinkytown. The Gopher offense, under the guidance of new offensive coordinator Jay Johnson and the leadership and play of fifth-year senior quarterback Mitch Leidner, is the new face of the program.  However, the once stingy defense is struggling and giving up big plays, allowing lesser opponents to hang around longer than appreciated.  Minnesota, like Iowa, has a chance over the next few weeks to prove they belong amongst the top tier of the West.  The Gophers could easily go 5-0 in the next five weekends (at Penn State, v. Iowa, at Maryland, v. Rutgers and at Illinois) to set up a major showdown with Nebraska on November 12th.

 

 

No. T2 Nebraska

DTCR:  26% (No Change)

Week 5:  The Huskers have never had an easy time with the Northwestern Wildcats and many had Nebraska on upset alert last weekend as Big Red traveled to Evanston to tangle with the disappointing Fitzgeralds.  Nebraska let Northwestern hang around but in the end won comfortably 24-13 to get a road win and open the conference season 1-0 and stay perfect overall at 4-0.  After the contest with Northwestern the Huskers hit the cruise control on their way home.  Wouldn't you?  Considering the Huskers get Illinois at home this weekend, followed by a bye week, and then come back with a road game at Indiana and a home game with Purdue.  Nebraska is counting on being 7-0 before the schedule gets interesting in late October.

 

 

No. 4 Wisconsin

DTCR:  21% (No Change)

Week 5:  The Badgers did it again, continuing to prove that nothing will get in their way of continuing to play excellent football.  This time is was a conference opening road victory over a Top 10 Michigan State team.  The victory moves Wisconsin to 4-0 (1-0) and Top 10 status of their own.  However (and I know I sound like a broken record) but now their schedule really gets tough.  The Badgers head back to Michigan this weekend but this time they will be walking into The Big House to line up against Michigan.  After a bye week the Badgers finally head home to host Ohio State and then travel to Iowa City.  I would expect Wisconsin to lose all three games, but they continue to burn me.i

 

No. 5 Northwestern

DTCR:  0% (No Change)

Week 5:  The Cats continue to disappoint in 2016.  Northwestern had a chance to bounce back after a poor nonconference slate and show the rest of the Big Ten they were still a threat following a 10-win season in 2015. It didn't happen.  Northwestern allowed Nebraska to leave Evanston with a hard fought 24-13 victory.  While you can never count out a Pat Fitzgerald coached team any given Saturday the Wildcats are not a threat for the division title this year.  However, if any team that lines up against the Cats doesn't bring their A game they will regret it and they will get burned.  Northwestern in a spoiler role is a dangerous opponent. Northwestern currently sits at 1-3 (0-1) and that will most likely turn to 1-5 (0-3) in three weeks after a trip to Iowa City, a bye week, and then a trip to East Lansing.

 

 

No. 6 Illinois

DTCR:  0% (No Change)

Week 5:  Illinois was off last week, most likely using the time to lick their wounds following back-to-back losses to North Carolina and Western Michigan.  Coming off the bye week the Illini will be in Lincoln to take on the Cornhuskers of Nebraska.  While Illinois will have to play well just to avoid a blowout loss they do have a chance to get some momentum in the two weeks that follow.  Illinois will host Purdue and then travel to Rutgers.  If Illinois can win those two games they be able to sell progress to recruits.  If not, many will be putting the Illini on a 1-8 or 0-9 conference record.

 

 

No. 7 Purdue

DTCR:  0% (No Change)

Week 5:  The good news for Purdue is that they are 2-1 at the end of nonconference play following a 24-14 home victory over Nevada. The bad news for Purdue is that they will never win again in the Darrell Hazell era.  Not only is Purdue a bad football team they have no talent waiting in the  wings in West Lafayette.  Expect Purdue to come after Western Michigan head football coach P.J. Fleck once the season is over, if not sooner.  The problem is Fleck may be looking for a better landing spot in the Big Ten.

 

 

*DTCR:  Division Title Confidence Rating


Gopher Illustrated Top Stories