CLOSE

Jim Harbaugh says his team was outprepared, outcoached, outplayed, after Michigan's thorough beatdown in Wisconsin, Sept. 21, 2019. Orion Sang, Detroit Free Press

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE

To paraphrase Maya Angelou, when someone shows you who you are, believe them. 

It's time to start believing what we see in the Big Ten. 

Most specifically, with Michigan football.

The fissures in its arsenal on offense and defense were peeking through their first two wins. 

But the cracks were busted wide open by Wisconsin. The result was a 35-14 national exposure that leaves many questions hovering over Jim Harbaugh.

And the loss, more than anything else, cost the Wolverines in this week's Big Ten power rankings.  

But how much? Read below:

Leistikow: Revised thoughts on Iowa's place in the Big Ten

1. Ohio State (4-0)

Last week: 1. The Buckeyes cruised in their in-state "scrimmage" against Miami (Ohio), 76-5. Ohio State even spotted the RedHawks a safety and a field goal before Justin Fields had a hand in six second-quarter TDs (four passing, two rushing).  

Next up: at Nebraska, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC. 

2. Wisconsin (3-0)

Last week: 2. The gap between Ohio State and the rest of the conference may not be as big as you think, thanks to the Badgers. They have allowed just 14 points this season, and those were in garbage time to Michigan. But they can't look ahead to Oct. 5 in Columbus just yet. 

Next up: vs. Northwestern, 11 a.m. Saturday, ABC. 

3. Iowa (3-0)

Last week: 4. It was a good off week for Iowa, who jumped to 14th in both the coaches and AP polls. The Hawkeyes have one more nonconference game this season before an Oct. 5 showdown at Michigan. 

Next up: vs. Middle Tennessee State, 11 a.m. Saturday, ESPN2. 

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

4. Penn State (3-0)

Last week: 5. Another team to benefit from having the weekend off. According to ESPN's playoff predictor, the Nittany Lions have a 7% chance to reach the College Football Playoff. At this rate, all they have to do is win out, which includes Iowa, U-M, MSU, Ohio State and the Big Ten title game. Piece of cake, right?

Next up: at Maryland, 7 p.m. Friday, FS1. 

5. Michigan (2-1)

Last week: 3. To borrow a phrase from Dennis Green, they are not who we thought they were. The problems on both side of the ball were apparent, and with the tough slate they have remaining, relief, past this coming weekend, is not in the near future.

Next up: vs. Rutgers, 11 a.m. Saturday, BTN. 

6. Michigan State (3-1)

Last week: 6. A nice takedown at Northwestern made Mark Dantonio the all-time wins leader at MSU. And a second straight complete performance would be good to have this week with the toughest part of MSU's schedule lurking in October: at Ohio State, at Wisconsin, vs. Penn State.

Next up: vs. Indiana, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, BTN. 

7. Maryland (2-1)

Last week: 7. The loss last week to Temple put a damper on our early favorite for Big Ten dark horse, but those feelings can be rekindled with a big performance against Penn State. But you can forget those 60-plus-point games: PSU is third in the Big Ten in scoring defense at 10 a game.

Next up: vs. Penn State, 7 p.m. Friday, FS1. 

8. Nebraska (3-1)

Last week: 9. A high-scoring affair in Champaign, won by the Huskers, 42-38, gives Nebraska a small boost this week. While they are halfway to bowl eligibility, they committed four turnovers and needed a 15-point fourth quarter to win it.  

Next up: vs. Ohio State, 6:30 p.m. Saturday, ABC. 

9. Minnesota (3-0)

Last week: 10. At a certain point, you've got to respect an undefeated team, right? Well, if you like wins over San Diego State, Fresno State and Georgia Southern, then you really like the Gophers. And with games upcoming against Purdue, Illinois, Nebraska and Rutgers, they may be rowing their boat to a bowl game this season.

Next up: at Purdue, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2. 

CLOSE

Shawn Windsor and Orion Sang discuss what they saw in Michigan football's 35-14 loss to Wisconsin on Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, and what it all means. Orion Sang and Shawn Windsor, Detroit Free Press

10. Northwestern (1-2)

Last week: 8. You want to like this Wildcats team, but they just can't score enough and are sub-.500. Then again, not many teams are going to score a lot against MSU, which seemed to figure out the crossing route hell that doomed them against Northwestern in the past. 

Next up: at Wisconsin, 11 a.m. Saturday, ABC. 

11. Indiana (3-1)

Last week: 12. We agree, UConn is not very good. But the Hoosiers are 3-1 after the 38-3 victory Saturday, and they are middle of the pack in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The bad news: Indiana lost left tackle Coy Cronk to an ankle injury. 

Next up: at Michigan State, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, BTN. 

Autoplay
Show Thumbnails
Show Captions

12. Purdue (1-2)

Last week: 1. The Boilermakers apparently had a very physical practice during their bye week after getting worked at home by TCU. But if you need to have your team turn up the heat this early in the season, you're in for a long year. 

Next up: at Minnesota, 2:30 p.m. Saturday, ESPN2. 

13. Illinois (2-2)

Last week: 13. A nice showing at home after losing to Eastern Michigan, but the Illini didn't have enough fight to beat Nebraska. The Huskers tried to hand them the game and this bad team did what bad teams do: hand it right back.

Next up: at Minnesota, Oct. 5, time/TV TBA. 

14. Rutgers (1-2)

Last week: 14. Hard to imagine Chris Ash makes it to January as head coach. Not just because the Scarlet Knights lost at home to Boston College, but during his entire tenure, has Rutgers improved at all? 

Next up: at Michigan, 11 a.m. Saturday, BTN. 

Contact Kirkland Crawford: kcrawford@freepress.com. Follow him on Twitter @HiKirkHere.

CLOSE

Mark Dantonio reacts to his program-record 110th win at Michigan State, impressed with his team in blowout win at Northwestern, Sept. 21, 2019. Chris Solari, Detroit Free Press

LINKEDINCOMMENTMORE