Big Ten power rankings, Week 6: P.J. Fleck’s boat gets capsized

MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach P.J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers yells on the sidelines against the University of Maryland Terrapins in the x quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images)
MINNEAPOLIS, MN - SEPTEMBER 30: Head coach P.J. Fleck of the Minnesota Golden Gophers yells on the sidelines against the University of Maryland Terrapins in the x quarter at TCF Bank Stadium on September 30, 2017 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Photo by Adam Bettcher/Getty Images) /
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MADISON, WI – SEPTEMBER 30: Wisconsin teammates congratulate UW running back Jonathan Taylor (23) after his first touchdown during the Big Ten football season opener between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Northwestern University Wildcats on September 30, 2017, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
MADISON, WI – SEPTEMBER 30: Wisconsin teammates congratulate UW running back Jonathan Taylor (23) after his first touchdown during the Big Ten football season opener between the University of Wisconsin Badgers and the Northwestern University Wildcats on September 30, 2017, at Camp Randall Stadium in Madison, WI. (Photo by Lawrence Iles/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images) /
4

Michigan Wolverines (4-0, 1-0)

Last week: BYE
Last rank: 4th

Even though Michigan State is ranked fifth, there’s still a noticeable gap between them and the Wolverines. But Michigan will have to rely on John O’Korn against the Spartans, as well as for the foreseeable future. That could be a blessing in disguise, as O’Korn seemed to provide a spark on offense when he came in against Purdue.

However, it also feels like a no-win situation. If O’Korn plays poorly, he could cost them some important games. If he plays well, they could have a quarterback controversy on their hands.

3

Wisconsin Badgers (4-0, 1-0)

Last week: W vs. Northwestern, 33-24
Last rank: 2nd

Wisconsin’s offense has looked much improved this year; through four games, only Ohio State and Penn State have averaged more points per game than them. But some expected their defense to take a step back following the departures of guys like T.J. Watt and Vince Biegel. Their win against Northwestern proved how special that unit really is.

The second-best team in the Big Ten in scoring defense added another pick-six and safety to their total. Northwestern’s best weapon on offense, Justin Jackson, only racked up 25 yards on nine carries. And while their offense committed three turnovers, their defense bailed them out by only allowing three points off them.

The most impressive stat was that the Badgers registered eight sacks, as well as three additional tackles for loss. The eight sacks were the most Wisconsin have recorded in a game since 2001. Garret Dooley accounted for three of them as well as 4.5 TFL. Their linebacking corps is going to be just fine.

Alex Hornibrook didn’t have the best game, but his running backs stole the show. Wisconsin is very much becoming RBU due to the fact that they’ve had at least one 1,000-yard rusher in nine of the past 10 seasons. Jonathan Taylor is well on his way to adding to that total and becoming the next great Wisconsin back.