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B1G Thoughts: Reviewing the Big Ten a third of the way through the 2022 season

Four games into a 12-game schedule, this is the perfect time to check in on how the conference is shaping up.

Syndication: The Columbus Dispatch Adam Cairns/Columbus Dispatch / USA TODAY NETWORK

We are officially a third of the way through the regular season of college football, and it is time to reevaluate the Big Ten. We all enter the new campaign with the hope that this will be the year that our favorite teams will achieve their goals. Whether that be winning the Big Ten or making a bowl game, we all are full of hope and belief.

College football is a small sample sport. We do not get to wait long to determine if a team is good or bad. There is still time to grow, but after four weeks it is safe to assume teams are who they have been in their four games played. Some teams are on their way to a bowl game, while others are looking at a lost season. Some fans are celebrating their success and looking forward to each coming week, while others are calling for their coach to be fired.

Four weeks is enough time to build an identity, so let’s take a look at the Big Ten and see where teams stand.

Big Ten Conference Standings

Big Ten East Conference W-L
Big Ten East Conference W-L
Ohio State 1-0 4-0
Michigan 1-0 4-0
Penn State 1-0 4-0
Indiana 1-0 3-1
Maryland 0-1 3-1
Rutgers 0-1 3-1
Michigan State 0-1 2-2
Big Ten West Conference W-L
Minnesota 1-0 4-0
Iowa 1-0 3-1
Illinois 0-1 3-1
Purdue 0-1 2-2
Wisconsin 0-1 2-2
Northwestern 1-0 1-3
Nebraska 0-1 1-3

Big Ten Power Rankings

Ranking Team Record
Ranking Team Record
1 Ohio State 4-0
2 Michigan 4-0
3 Minnesota 4-0
4 Penn State 4-0
5 Illinois 3-1
6 Wisconsin 2-2
7 Iowa 3-1
8 Maryland 3-1
9 Purdue 2-2
10 Michigan State 2-2
11 Rutgers 3-1
12 Indiana 3-1
13 Northwestern 1-3
14 Nebraska 1-3

Having only played one Big Ten game so far, the division standings are hardly indicative of where a program actually stands. For example, Indiana is 3-1 and tied for first in the Big Ten East, but does anyone think they are on par with Ohio State or Michigan? Is Indiana a better team than Wisconsin who is 2-2 and 0-1 in the Big Ten? For anyone with eyes and common sense, it is pretty obvious that they are not. So instead, we power rank teams.

In my power rankings, I take into consideration teams’ record, their strength of schedule, the eye test, and lastly, when teams are close, I choose who I believe would beat the other on the field. That is shown in having Wisconsin at No. 6 despite losing to Washinton State and Ohio State. The teams right behind them — Iowa, Maryland, and Purdue — have shown themselves well on the field, but do I believe they would beat Wisconsin on the field? I do not. Luckily by season’s end we will find out, at least in the case of Iowa and Purdue.

At the top of the power rankings I have Ohio State and Michigan. Four games into the season, I believe Ohio State is the clear No. 1, and there is a gap between No. 2 and the rest of the conference. Ohio State has once again separated itself at the top of the Big Ten, followed by Michigan.

Minnesota has for years under coach P.J. Fleck been striving to reach the top of the Big Ten West, and despite being close, they have been unable to reach the top. So far this season, Minnesota has begun separating itself with a dangerous offense led by sixth-year seniors Tanner Morgan and Mohamed Ibrahim. If there is any year for Minnesota to win the West and book a ticket to Indianapolis, it is now while the rest of the West seems weak, and the players who built the Golden Gophers into a contender decided to use their extra year of eligibility for one last push.

The Big Ten plays nine conference games for a reason. We will learn more about these teams in the next four weeks as they begin the gauntlet that is the Big Ten slate.

Big Ten Stats Leaders

Category Total Player School
Category Total Player School
Passing Yards 1,222 C.J. Stroud Ohio State
Passing Touchdowns 16 C.J. Stroud Ohio State
Rushing Yards 604 Chase Brown Illinois
Rushing Touchdowns 9 Blake Corum Michigan
Receiving Yards 533 Charlie Jones Purdue
Receiving Touchdowns 7 Charlie Jones Purdue
Tackles 43 Cam Jones Indiana
Tackles for Loss 8 Jacoby Windmon Michigan State
Sacks 5.5 Jacoby Windmon Michigan State
Pass Breakups 9 Joey Porter Jr. Penn State
Interceptions 3 Cooper DeJean Iowa
Forced Fumbles 5 Jacoby Windmon Michigan State

After Week 4 the Big Ten has been full of surprises, disappointments, break-out players, and even a coach firing. Ohio State is back in death star mode, Minnesota may be the best team in the West, and Northwestern didn’t bounce back solely because it’s an even year. Multiple coaches are coaching like they want to lose their jobs and daring their administration to fire them. Transfers like Charlie Jones are dominating, while some programs — Nebraska and Indiana — are watching their old quarterbacks shine on new teams while their new transfer quarterbacks are struggling.

These past four weeks have been all we could ask for and more, consistently proving why college football is unmatched as a sport. Don’t be surprised if this article looks different at the two-thirds season review.