Ohio State didn't have to play this week to remain the unanimous No. 1 team in our weekly Big Ten Power Rankings. But the real intrigue comes just below the Buckeyes.
Wisconsin backed up its season-opening victory against LSU with another statement win against Michigan State. The Badgers have now beaten two top-10 teams in a season for the first time since 1962. No league team has a resume as impressive as Wisconsin through four games, which is why the Badgers shot past Michigan and now reside in the No. 2 spot.
We'll find out exactly where those two teams stack up when Wisconsin plays at Michigan on Saturday. For now, here's a look at the rest of the Week 4 Power Rankings in the Big Ten.
1. Ohio State (3-0): The Buckeyes received all five first-place votes yet again this week. Ohio State plays host next weekend to a Rutgers team that hung tough with Iowa on Saturday, but the Scarlet Knights will be hard-pressed to stay close in Columbus. Urban Meyer is 31-1 at Ohio State in Big Ten regular-season games
2. Wisconsin (4-0): The Badgers dominated Michigan State 30-6 to prove their season-opening victory against LSU was no fluke. This team has passed every test thus far, and the good news is we don't have to wait long to see another seismic Big Ten game. Wisconsin plays in the Big House against Michigan on Saturday.
3. Michigan (4-0): The Wolverines put a hurting on Penn State in a 49-10 blowout Saturday. Aside from one poor half against Colorado, Michigan has looked like a dominant force. The toughest task yet arrives Saturday, when Wisconsin travels to Ann Arbor in the teams' first matchup since 2010.
4. Nebraska (4-0): Nebraska came back from an early deficit to beat Northwestern 24-13, and quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. looked impressive again. After throwing 16 interceptions last season, he has tossed only one INT through four games this season. Nebraska will make the Big Ten West very intriguing the next couple months.
5. Michigan State (2-1): The fact Michigan State lost to Wisconsin in East Lansing for the first time since 2002 is not a complete shock given the two programs' similarities. Rather, it's the way the Spartans lost. After Michigan State took a 3-0 lead, Wisconsin outscored MSU 30-3, and the Spartans committed four turnovers. Time to regroup for a road game against Indiana.
6. Minnesota (3-0): Both of the Gophers' victories this season against FBS teams have been one-touchdown squeakers. But Minnesota is undefeated and could perhaps be a sleeper team in the Big Ten West. Running backs Rodney Smith and Shannon Brooks combined for 184 yards and three touchdowns in a 31-24 victory against Colorado State.
7. Iowa (3-1): The Hawkeyes certainly didn't earn themselves any style points during a 14-7 victory against Rutgers in Piscataway. But at least Iowa escaped one week after it could not against North Dakota State. Iowa doesn't appear as invincible as once thought, and that means we shouldn't just hand the Hawkeyes the Big Ten West. Iowa plays host to Northwestern on Saturday.
8. Maryland (3-0): Kudos to D.J. Durkin for having the Terrapins unbeaten as they enter Big Ten play. No, Howard, Florida International and Central Florida aren't exactly powerhouses. But better teams have found ways to lose this September. Maryland can keep the good vibes rolling with a home game Saturday against a Purdue team that is 2-22 in league games the past three seasons.
9. Penn State (2-2): Beating Michigan would have represented a seminal moment for Penn State coach James Franklin. That didn't happen, of course. But the Nittany Lions should be expected to be more competitive. They allowed six rushing touchdowns and 326 yards on the ground to the Wolverines. At least Penn State running back Saquon Barkley is still entertaining.
10. Indiana (2-1): A 33-28 setback against Wake Forest really stings for an Indiana team trying to make a return trip to a bowl game. Indiana has an extra conference game this season, but the Hoosiers haven't won four Big Ten games -- the number they'd need for bowl eligibility -- since 2001.
11. Purdue (2-1): It wasn't always pretty, but the Boilermakers found a way to defeat Nevada 24-14 in West Lafayette. Considering coach Darrell Hazell hadn't previously started 2-1 in his tenure at Purdue, this is a big deal. Purdue may struggle to become bowl eligible, but the Boilermakers have at least given themselves a chance by finishing the nonconference season with a winning record.
12. Northwestern (1-3): The Wildcats have taken a significant step back after last season's 10-win season. Given the schedule ahead, it may be tough for Northwestern to make a bowl game. Iowa is on the docket Saturday in Iowa City.
13. Rutgers (2-2): Rutgers put up a fight until the end during a 14-7 loss to Iowa. The bigger development from the game was an injury to playmaker Janarion Grant, whose 76-yard reception ended with a right ankle injury and him being carted off the field. The Scarlet Knights can ill afford for Grant to miss extended time, particularly with Ohio State and Michigan next on the schedule.
14. Illinois (1-2): The Fighting Illini spent Saturday on a bye, and coach Lovie Smith likely needed the extra time following a 34-10 home loss last weekend against Western Michigan. Smith's first season won't get any easier when Big Ten play begins. Illinois plays at Nebraska on Saturday.