Every Tuesday, we rank the SEC and Big Ten teams in one power poll. The order of the SEC teams is based on the Week 4 SDS SEC Power Poll.

The Big Ten had a heck of a weekend.

Early in the day, Iowa withstood a withering first half from Doak Walker Award candidate James Conner, scoring a late touchdown to knock off 3-0 Pitt on the road.

Indiana pulled the shocker on the road against Missouri and Nebraska remained unbeaten by manhandling Miami.

Maryland and Rutgers beat Syracuse and Navy on the road. Wisconsin and Michigan state squashed lesser opponents.

And — oh, Michigan. The Wolverines (2-2) fell to Utah by 16 at home. With Penn State, Michigan State and Ohio State left on the schedule, the search to replace coach Brady Hoke can begin right now behind closed doors.

With Nebraska emerging as a national sleeper, Penn State still unbeaten and the original big three — Michigan State, Ohio State and Wisconsin — creeping back to life, the Big Ten bridged the wide gap a bit this week, claiming three of the top nine and four of the top 11 in the combined poll.

NATIONAL CONTENDERS

Michigan State will hover in the Top 10 for one more week before getting a second national showdown. Meanwhile, we should know whether or not Texas A&M actually belongs in this group after the Aggies get tested by Arkansas’ powerful run game. Alabama and Auburn each maintained control in a pair of commendable wins, but don’t come across as unbeatable as they have at times in the last several years.

1. Alabama
2. Auburn
3. Texas A&M
4. Michigan State

UNBEATEN SLEEPERS

Mississippi State and Nebraska trampolined themselves into the conversation this week with significant wins. All three of these teams are undefeated and can’t yet be discounted at the national level, but they’re still behind in the conference pecking order. Ole Miss and Nebraska have tuneup games before putting that record on the line next week.

5. Ole Miss
6. Mississippi State
7. Nebraska

ONE-LOSS GIANTS

All of these teams have been division favorites at some point this season. Ironically, quarterback play (Ohio State, LSU, Wisconsin) and defense (Georgia, Ohio State, South Carolina) give these teams trouble. While the two SEC East teams and Wisconsin still could win the division, none in this group look like national contenders.

8. Georgia
9. Ohio State
10. LSU
11. Wisconsin
12. South Carolina

NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK

Arkansas already has lost and Penn State could’ve lost two games, but the head coaches are imposing their style on these programs. I wouldn’t want to face the Razorbacks or Nittany Lions late in the year if I’m a contender.

13. Arkansas
14. Penn State

HOT SEAT COACHES

The Hoosiers temporarily cooled Kevin Wilson’s seat, while the Gators couldn’t secure a potential job-saving win at Alabama. Both of these coaches are in a tenuous position, and every game will affect their stock from here.

15. Florida
16. Indiana

WILDLY UNPREDICTABLE

The Tigers are capable of beating any team in the East, but the defense is mediocre beyond the two defensive ends and the offensive line has been exposed. Iowa lost to Iowa State, then secured an impressive road comeback against a secretly-good Pitt team. And Maryland’s offense is feisty.

17. Missouri
18. Iowa
19. Maryland

COULD FADE QUICKLY

Michigan started this movement early with a loss to Utah. The rest of the teams have just one loss thus far, but Tennessee is a three-score underdog against Georgia. Michigan plays Minnesota this weekend and Rutgers the next weekend, so this group will sabotage itself.

20. Rutgers
21. Minnesota
22. Tennessee
23. Michigan

TRADITIONAL PUNCHING BAGS

With Vanderbilt and Louisiana-Monroe in two of the next three outings, Kentucky can get to 4-2 pretty easily and then have a chance to break the mold with an upset. But Illinois and Purdue are fulfilling their usual roles.

24. Kentucky
25. Illinois
26. Purdue

GO AHEAD AND MAKE HOLIDAY PLANS

Vanderbilt (1-3) moved out of the last spot by playing competitive football against South Carolina, while Northwestern didn’t look great against Western Illinois. In any case, watch for these teams to be officially eliminated from bowl contention by mid-October.

27. Vanderbilt
28. Northwestern