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Big Ten Power Rankings: Week Five--The Hawkeyes Make a Statement

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Kristofer Green

For the third time in as many weeks, there is a new number one team atop the FBT power rankings..

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.

1. Iowa Hawkeyes

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

KG:
The Hawkeyes completely dominated a No. 5 Penn State team at home in an infamous "White House" atmosphere behind a cool and collected Ricky Stanzi, a physical running game, a suffocating defense, and brilliant special teams. Watch out Big Ten... The Hawkeyes are for real.


2. Ohio State Buckeyes


TC:
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.

KG:
The Buckeyes offense is improving each week, the defense is just plain ridiculous, and Jim Tressel has found a new killer instinct. The Buckeyes have outscored their last two opponents 68-0 and Tressel said this week that the defense is hungry for more.


3. Wisconsin Badgers

TC:
Badgers have taken care of business at home...time to see if they have what it takes away from Camp Randall.

KG:
I am becoming a big believer of this Badger team. They may not win pretty and they may not win by a lot, but they find a way to win no matter the adversity in front of them. Scott Tolzien is maybe the best quarterback in the Big Ten doing what he does.


4. Michigan Wolverines

TC:
The shootout with Indiana was a classic game...too bad it's the horrible referee decision that we'll all remember.

KG:
For maybe the first time this season the Wolverines showed their youth with costly turnovers, bad decisions at quarterback, and stupid errors. Defensively, this team is not living up to expectations and needs to find a solution and fast or the Wolverines early success will be exposed in Big Ten play.


5. Minnesota Golden Gophers

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

KG:
The Gophers are a solid team with two extraordinary players. Adam Weber and Eric Decker are the Gopher offense, but the emergence of Duane Bennett in the Northwestern game is reason to get excited.


6. Penn State Nittany Lions

TC:
Could still win the Big Ten, but they definitely made it hard on themselves when their offense vanished after the first play against Iowa.

KG:
The Penn State offensive line is a problem. The entire Penn State offense is predicated on the offensive line play. When that line breaks down like they did against Iowa on Saturday the result is not pretty. The Nits will have major problems this season against teams with fast and physical defensive lines unless they can find a miracle cure.


7. Indiana Hoosiers

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

KG:
The Hoosiers are shocking. I had written this team off before the season even started and was steering the "Fire Bill Lynch" bandwagon. But I was wrong. The Hoosiers have improved dramatically from week one and are making steady improvement each and every week and fighting hard to win every game. That is a sign of good coaching.


8. Northwestern Wildcats

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

KG:
I am very disappointed in this Northwestern defense and so is Pat Fitzgerald who called his defense "awful" after last week's loss to Minnesota,  The Wildcats are usually very sound defensively, but tackling and intensity has become a big issue over the last few weeks.


9. Michigan State Spartans

TC:
On paper, this has the potential to be a very good football team...especially on the defensive side of the ball.  Too bad for the Spartans that they don't play the games on paper anymore.

KG:
The Spartans are another team not living up to expectations on the defensive side of the ball. The offense is scoring enough points to win, but the defense cannot get off the field. It is a problem Mark Dantonio needs to fix quick with the high powered Michigan offense looming.


10. Purdue Boilermakers

TC:
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?

KG:
The Boilermakers are almost good. Almost. But this season wasn't supposed to be great for the Boilermakers anyway, right? With a new coaching staff and several new starters on both sides of the ball, the way this team progresses is the most important thing. And they are progressing.


11. Illinois Fighting Illini

TC:
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.

KG:
There are some major problems in Champaign. It all starts with head coach Ron Zook, who is failing big time at getting the most out of the talent he has on the field. Just a disgrace.

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