Big Ten Power Rankings, Week Five: Iowa Hawkeyes Make Statement Nation Can See

Kristofer GreenSenior Writer IOctober 1, 2009

For the third time in as many weeks, the BR Big Ten Pollsters have named a new number one team.

After quieting the "White House" in State College, the Iowa Hawkeyes vault up the rankings, supplanting Ohio State and Penn State as the top dog.

The Hawkeyes, down 10-0 at the end of the first quarter would rally behind a suffocating defense, powerful running game, and brilliant special teams to score 21 unanswered points (16 of which came in the fourth quarter).

The Wisconsin Badgers are another team that made a big jump in the rankings this week. The Badgers haven't always won pretty, but there is something to say about a team that consistently finds a way to win.

The biggest disappointments this season are without question Michigan State and Illinois.

The Spartan pass offense is clicking behind the strong arm of Keith Nichol, but the Spartans have failed to run the football with any consistency and the defense is just not playing to its capabilities.

The Illini have scored exactly nine points against FBS schools this season and were completely dominated in both games and the defense has allowed 67 points in those two losses.

Week five will be make or break time for a few teams.

The intensity level rises.

The B/R Big Ten Players of the Week:

Offensive Player of the Week: QB Scott Tolzien, Wisconsin

Defensive Player of the Week: LB Pat Angerer, Iowa

Special Teams Player of the Week: DE Adrian Clayborn, Iowa

The 2009 roundtable members are J.A. Allen, Tim Bielik, Tim Cary, Bret Feddern, Kristofer Green, Ryan Jelley, Jordan Krumrey, Isaac Luber, Kevin Paul, and Kevin Trahan.

On to the rankings...


1. Iowa Hawkeyes (6) 86 points

Krumrey: Physically dominated a top 5 PSU team in Happy Valley...nuff said. Iowa really is who we thought they were.

Jelley: The Hawkeyes were my preseason pick to win the Big Ten and if someone on the offense steps up to complement their dominating defense they very well could.

Cary: The Hawkeyes impressed me...okay, they shocked me with a statement win in Happy Valley.  Best win by any team so far this year.


2. Ohio State Buckeyes (2) 82 points

Allen: The Buckeyes simply took Juice Williams and company out of their game plan and never let them get started. The Illini played poorly, enduring penalties and turnovers and Williams called the game a “nightmare.”

Jelley: The Buckeyes defense has looked fantastic but they must develop a better passing game if they want to get through their Big Ten schedule.

Cary: If the Buckeyes go the rest of the year without giving up a point...well...they'll be pretty good.  This is a big-time defense.


3. Michigan Wolverines 66 points

Feddern: Michigan’s offense looked great.  Michigan’s defense…not so much.  Giving up 467 yards to Indiana at home is unacceptable.

Trahan: The Notre Dame win isn't looking as good anymore and the Wolverines needed a blown call to get by Indiana. They have to start playing defense if they want to compete with Iowa, Ohio State, and Penn State.

Allen: Indiana did everything better than Michigan except win the game. They moved the ball better. They had a better game plan. They were more inspired, more confident and more committed. They just could not score when they got down into the red zone and that cost them the game.


4. Wisconsin Badgers 64 points

Allen: So far they have not left the friendly confines of Camp Randall stadium. Next weekend, however, they will be on the road playing in Gopher territory. The Spartans self-destructed committing four turnovers which the Badgers converted into three touchdowns.

Krumrey: Dominated Michigan State until a late rally by the Spartans when the game was already over. Even though the scoreboard read 38-30 the game wasn't anywhere near that close. That Wisconsin offense is surprisingly consistent and dare I say...good!

Jelley: The Badgers have been one of the biggest surprises of the Big Ten and if the good QB play continues the Badgers could be a contender.


5. Penn State Nittany Lions 59 points

Feddern: The offensive line and special teams for the Nittany Lions need to figure a few things out.  The offense has potential, but not if Clark is scrambling for his life all the time.

Krumrey: A  bad loss at home to Iowa gains the Lions a deserved drop in the ranks...can that offensive line be any worse?

Jelley: The Nittany Lions looked sloppy and unmotivated Saturday and will need to bounce back strong if they hope to stay a contender in the Big Ten.


6. Minnesota Golden Gophers 49 points

Trahan: Minnesota has been somewhat of a pleasant surprise this year. They beat Air Force and played tough against Cal. Plus, they opened the Big Ten season with a win against Northwestern.

Krumrey: Avenged their loss to Northwestern last year by beating the Wildcats 35-34 mainly on the arm of Adam Webber who tossed for only 186 yards but had a pair of TD's to get his team the edge.

Cary: Double-team Eric Decker.  Or let Minnesota beat you.  Your choice, coaches.  Easiest team to figure out in the entire conference.


7. Indiana Hoosiers 41 points

Trahan: They way the Hoosier offense was playing and the way the Michigan defense was playing, they easily could have scored and won in the Big House for the first time since 1967.

Allen: Indiana is so much better than we imagined they would be during preseason estimations. They played Michigan down to the wire and with a bit of luck here or there could have upset the Wolverines at home.

Cary: Hoosiers played Michigan tough in Ann Arbor.  They say close only counts in horseshoes and hand grenades, though, right?


8. Northwestern Wildcats 26 points

Krumrey: Kafka had an impressive day throwing two TD's and over 300 yards passing, but his team still lost to the Gophers. Need to learn how to play that one thing called DEFENSE!

Cary: Wildcats get a hungry Purdue team in West Lafayette this weekend.  Surprised the 'Cats are 'dogs on the road...very intriguing matchup.

Trahan: After a promising start, the Wildcats had to fight of Towson and lost to Syracuse and Minnesota. They need to find a consistent running game and get better on defense. Mike Kafka can't do everything himself.


9. Michigan State Spartans 22 points

Trahan: I think it's safe to say that Michigan State was one of the country's most overrated teams at the start of the season. The running game isn't clicking and the defense isn't all that it was hyped up to be.

Feddern: MSU gave it their best, but it was too little too late at Camp Randall.  Michigan State definitely has a passing game, but the turnovers and lack of defense keep killing them.  

Jelley: The Spartans have been the most disappointing team in the Big Ten so far. With in-state rival Michigan coming to town this weekend they can turn it around.


10. Purdue Boilermakers 20 points

Jelley: The Boilermakers' defense must improve if they hope to have any chance in conference play as they've given up three or more touchdowns each game so far.

Cary: Boilermakers let a golden opportunity to make a national statement slip away in the final moments against Notre Dame.  Will Purdue rebound or fold heading into Big Ten play?
Thais: Granted, they have had some impressive losses (if there is such a thing), but then again they are 1-3 and lost to Northern Illinois, sorry Boilermakers.

11. Illinois Fighting Illini 13 points

Krumrey: The Illini are B-A-D! Did Illinois and Indiana do some sort of body switch in the offseason. What is wrong with this team? Could it possibly get any worse?

Jelley: The Fighting Illini offense has not been what everyone expected and with a young defense it looks to be a long season.

Cary: I apologize for every article I ever wrote that sang the praises of the Illini high-powered offense.  Especially after they got shutout in Columbus Saturday.


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