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Big Ten power rankings after Week 3: Rutgers and Purdue hit the mat

Northwestern continues to impress while Illinois crashed and burned in their first true test of the season.

Jerry Lai-USA TODAY Sports

Ohio State and Michigan State are ranked at one and two in the AP Poll, giving the Big Ten its first 1-2 punch in the poll since 2006 with Ohio State and Michigan. The Big Ten had its first conference game of the season and Rutgers got demolished in Happy Valley, giving Nittany Lions fans hope that they can still beat up on some teams in the East with a solid defense and run game.

Ohio State doesn't look quite like the team we thought they were but they continue to get wins. Meanwhile, the West continues to look like it could be up for grabs.

Big Ten East

The Big Ten East is home to the top two college football teams in America according to the AP poll. There was plenty of movement in the poll this week as Maryland got back on track and Penn State throttled Rutgers at home in the Big Ten's first conference game.

1) #1 Ohio State (3-0, 0-0)

Not an impressive win against Northern Illinois. You're telling me the Huskies are really that good? They're not. Holding Ohio State to 20 points is impressive anywhere but at home? This lack-luster win tells me more about Ohio State than it does Northern Illinois. Urban Meyer needs to find a quarterback and stick with him. Until they lose, the defending national champs are still the top dogs. I have to say, through three games, they remind me an awful lot of FSU from last year.

Up Next: Western Michigan (1-2) at home

2) #2 Michigan State (3-0, 0-0)

The Spartans didn't overpower Air Force but it was a nice win and they continue to show that they are a legitimate threat to Ohio State in the division.

Up Next: Central Michigan (1-2) at home

3) Michigan (2-1, 0-0)

The Fightin' Harbaughs got another comfortable win over a team that is not as good as they are. Michigan found their identity two weeks ago. Play great defense and run the ball. They will need to play well to avoid losing to BYU, a team that has already taken down Nebraska and a ranked Boise State squad.

Up Next: BYU (2-1) at home.

4) Indiana (3-0, 0-0)

The Hoosiers held on to beat Western Kentucky in another high-scoring affair. Indiana has figured out how to score a lot of points but it will be a lot tougher to do against Big Ten competition. Nate Sudfeld has looked very, very good at quarterback for Indiana. Can he continue his great play? The Hoosiers have won all three games in second-half comebacks. Will they need another this week against the Demon Deacons?

Up Next: at Wake Forest (2-1).

5) Penn State (2-1, 1-0)

Penn State needed to beat Rutgers at home in their Big Ten opener and did. They roughed up the Scarlet Knights, 28-3. The Nittany Lions ran for 330 yards. Saquon Barkley is a potential star and ran for 195 yards and two touchdowns. Adding insult to injury? He used to be a Rutgers recruit. Penn State now has an identity that they may or may not have stolen from Michigan. Strong defense and a power running game.

Up Next: San Diego State (1-2) at home

6) Maryland (2-1, 0-0)

Caleb Rowe's 297 passing yards is the fourth-most of any quarterback in the Randy Edsall era and it is the most for any Maryland quarterback since Rowe threw for 332 against Virginia in 2013. Rowe gives the Terps a legitimate threat to attack down the field and will keep defenses honest. Maryland struggled mightily against Bowling Green's passing attack two weeks ago. How will they fare against Dana Holgorsen's famed "Air Raid" offense in Morgantown, a place where the Terps haven't won in over a decade?

As if things needed to be harder for Maryland, WVU is also coming off of a bye week.

Up Next: at West Virginia (2-0).

7) Rutgers (1-2, 0-1)

Rutgers has had enough off-field issues for a couple of seasons, never mind just one. Five players were suspended before the season started after being arrested for charges ranging from assault to home invasion. Star wide receiver Leonte Carroo was charged with simple assault after their game two weeks ago for allegedly slamming a woman onto the concrete outside the team's football building. He is suspended indefinitely. Head Coach Kyle Flood was also suspended for improperly contacting a professor about one of his player's grades. The Scarlet Knights then went to Happy Valley and got crushed.

If Rutgers can't rally the troops, they might just do the unthinkable...They might lose to Kansas. The Jayhawks are coming off of a bye week.

Up Next: Kansas (0-2) at home.

Big Ten West

Last week, the Big Ten West had some gritty wins and gut-wrenching losses.

1) #22 Wisconsin (2-1, 0-0)

Joel Stave is having a great season under center and Wisconsin continues to show that they are the team to beat in the Big Ten West. When Corey Clement gets healthy and returns to the backfield, the Badgers will be even more dangerous.

Up Next: Hawaii (2-1) at home.

2) #17 Northwestern (3-0, 0-0)

The Wildcats won an UGLY game last week even though Clayton Thorson didn't complete 40 percent of his passes and got picked off twice. They won because Solomon Vault returned the opening kick-off in the second half for a touchdown and Warren Long had a 55 yard touchdown run and recovered a fumbled punt. The Wildcats have won three in a row to open the season for the first time since 2013. That team promptly dropped seven straight.

Northwestern's defense should be able to handle Ball State and get the Wildcats to 4-0 going into their Big Ten opener against Minnesota.

Up Next: Ball State (2-1) at home.

3) Iowa (3-0, 0-0)

Iowa needed a field goal as time expired to beat Pitt and man, did Marshall Koehn deliver? The senior booted a 57-yarder to give Iowa the win against a Panther squad playing without their best player, running back James Conner.

C.J. Beathard looked good for the Hawkeyes and Iowa came from behind in the fourth quarter for the second time in as many weeks. They have beaten Iowa State and Pitt in back to back weeks in thrilling fashion. The Hawkeyes haven't started a season 3-0 since 2009. They will probably be 4-0 after next week.

Up Next: North Texas (0-2) at home.

4) Minnesota (2-1, 0-0)

Minnesota's defense looks really good but their offense? Not so much. They head to Northwestern in two weeks to open Big Ten play and they'll need to have a plan to put up some points by then. Ohio is no pushover. They beat Marshall and have won all of their games by double digits.

Up Next: Ohio (3-0) at home.

5) Nebraska (1-2, 0-0)

The Huskers came all the way back against Miami and took the lead after scoring 23 points in the fourth quarter only to have the Hurricanes force overtime and win. Mike Riley is having a pretty unlucky season.

Tommy Armstrong Jr. and Jordan Westerkamp are great players but the rest of the team has to step up too. The once-famed Nebraska defense got lit up by Miami sophomore Brad Kayaa to the tune of 379 yards and two touchdowns. Southern Miss has put up 50 points twice this season and their only loss is to Mississippi State.

Up Next: Southern Miss (2-1) at home.

6) Illinois (2-1, 0-0)

Illinois got shelled in Chapel Hill. They lost 48-14. I'm glad I waited to see if they were for real. Wes Lunt was awful. He was 15-32 with no touchdowns and a pick. Illinois' best player was probably senior running back Josh Ferguson, who had 22 carries for a very respectable 133 yards and a touchdown. Almost nothing went well for Illinois last week as they became the first team in the FBS this season to allow a quarterback to throw for more than 200 yards and also rush for more than 100 yards.

You know how Southern Miss put up 50 points twice this season and only lost to Mississippi State? Middle Tennessee has put up 70 points twice this season. Their only loss? At Alabama.

Up Next: Middle Tennessee (2-1) at home.

7) Purdue (1-2, 0-0)

Purdue got crushed at home by Virginia Tech and their back-up quarterback. The Boilermakers only trailed by three after the first quarter and seven at the half. The final score was 51-24.

Austin Appleby was abysmal. He was 9-28 passing for 110 yards with two picks. It looks like it is going to be a long season for Purdue.

This week brings no succor for Purdue but does allow Maryland fans to say, "See? We're not that terrible. That team that beat us by three touchdowns is just really, really good." Bowling Green may be 1-2 this year but they scored 30 against Tennessee on the road and scored over 40 points in both of their other games.

Up Next: Bowling Green (1-2) at home.