Another week, more changes to my power rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal. Wisconsin, Nebraska and Michigan State were the big winners, as the Badgers went from No. 4 to No. 2, the Cornhuskers from No. 5 to No. 3 and the Spartans from No. 6 to No. 4. Penn State is also up. Week Seven wasn’t so kind to Northwestern, which dropped from No. 2 to No. 6.
|POWER RANKINGS PRESENTED BY|
1. Ohio State (6-0, 2-0). The Buckeyes are riding an 18-game winning streak, the longest in the nation, as they come out of a bye. And with Michigan’s loss, OSU is the only unbeaten Big Ten left. Too bad the Buckeyes don’t play Michigan State; maybe they will in the Big Ten title game. Hmmm.
Last week: 1
Up next: Iowa
2. Wisconsin (4-2, 2-1). The Badgers are playing well and are a very good team that easily could be 5-1—and perhaps even 6-0. Offense, defense, Wisconsin has it going on both sides of the ball and has a very favorable schedule. Will this team lose again?
Last week: 4
Up next: at Illinois
3. Nebraska (5-1, 2-0). The Cornhuskers have proven to be resilient, already encountering a season’s worth of adversity with a tough start (UCLA loss, more shaky defensive performances) and the release of the “Pelini tapes.” Still, the Huskers appear to be rounding into form and have a sweet schedule.
Last week: 5
Up next: off; at Minnesota
4. Michigan State (5-1, 2-0). The Spartans continue to improve on offense. The defense? It has been in a groove all season. This is a very dangerous MSU team. Fear the Spartans, people.
Last week: 6
Up next: Purdue
5. Michigan (5-1, 1-1). The Wolverines suffered their first loss of the season in gut-wrenching style. (It easily could have been their third defeat.) And issues remain along the offensive line, as Michigan’s running game is stagnant. I’m still not sure how good this team is.
Last week: 3
Up next: Indiana
6. Northwestern (4-2, 0-2). That’s back-to-back losses for the Wildcats, whose viability as a Legends contender has taken a big hit. In the last two games, Northwestern has allowed a combined 75 points. How will the Wildcats rebound?
Last week: 2
Up next: Minnesota
7. Penn State (4-2, 1-1). The Nittany Lions were questioned coming off the loss at Indiana—and rightly so. But Penn State responded with a gutsy effort vs. Michigan, showing resiliency in losing a lead, coming back and winning.
Last week: 9
Up next: off; at Ohio State
8. Iowa (4-2, 1-1). The Hawkeyes were idle on Saturday, prepping for a huge game at Ohio State. Is this Iowa team ready for this challenge coming off that home loss to Michigan State?
Last week: 7
Up next: at Ohio State
9. Indiana (3-3, 1-1). The Hoosiers gave the Spartans a run for their money but were outmanned. But no team may win in East Lansing all season. Still, Indiana is on the rise and still on track to become bowl eligible. There is undeniable progress in Bloomington.
Last week: 8
Up next: at Michigan
10. Illinois (3-2, 0-1). The Fighting Illini are coming off their second bye of the season. A visit from a hot Wisconsin team will show us if the Illini defense has improved, as Illinois looks to end a 15-game Big Ten losing skid that dates to Oct. 8, 2011.
Last week: 10
Up next: Wisconsin
11. Minnesota (4-2, 0-2). The Gophers didn’t play this week but still made headlines with news that Jerry Kill would be on an indefinite leave as he tends to his health. How will this impact Minnesota, if at all?
Last week: 11
Up next: at Northwestern
12. Purdue (1-5, 0-2). Another week, another blowout. And an unrelenting schedule won’t provide any relief for a Purdue program that’s suffering major growing pains. Can the season end now?
Last week: 12
Up next: at Michigan State
|About Tom Dienhart||BTN.com senior writer Tom Dienhart is a veteran sports journalist who covers Big Ten football and men’s basketball for BTN.com and BTN TV. Find him on Twitter and Facebook, read all of his work at btn.com/tomdienhart, and subscribe to his posts via RSS. Also, send questions to his weekly mailbag using the form below and read all of his previous answers in his reader mailbag section.|
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