Power Rankings: MSU, UW still chasing perfect OSU

Things held steady at the top of my Power Rankings, presented by ArcelorMittal, though I’m sure debate will continue to rage on if Michigan State should be ranked ahead of Wisconsin. Debate on, America. This week’s fast-riser: Iowa. See my latest list in this post.

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1. Ohio State (11-0, 7-0). The winning streak has reached a school-record 23 in a row, as OSU clinched the Leaders Division. Even better—the Buckeyes are playing their best football of the season at the right time. Now, if only Alabama or Florida State would lose.
Last week: 1
Next: at Michigan

2. Michigan State (10-1, 7-0). The Spartans wrapped up the Legends Division title and will play in the Big Ten title game for a second time in three seasons. This team is hitting on all cylinders, as the offense continues to get better and better.
Last week: 2
Next: vs. Minnesota

3. Wisconsin (9-2, 6-1). The Badgers defense is playing as well as any in the league—if not the nation—as it allowed no offensive TDs vs. Minnesota. The offense? It’s as physical and effective as ever. It’s just too bad Wisconsin lost that game at Arizona State.
Last week: 3
Next: vs. Penn State

[ MORE: How did we do? Week 13 Big Ten predictions revisited ]

4. Nebraska  (8-3, 5-2). This team showed great toughness and resilience in winning in overtime at Penn State coming off an emotional loss to Michigan State. The Cornhuskers are on track for a sixth season with nine or more victories under Bo Pelini. Don’t you wonder if NU would have won a few more games with Ron Kellogg III as starting quarterback?
Last week: 5
Next: vs. Iowa, Friday

5. Iowa (7-4, 4-3). For the first time ever, the Hawkeyes have toppled Michigan three times in a row in Kinnick Stadium. Better yet, Iowa earned a signature win for the 2013 season and is poised for a big finish. Take a bow, Herky.
Last week: 6
Next: at Nebraska, Friday

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6Minnesota (8-3, 4-3). That magical four-game winning streak is over. But, no shame in losing to Wisconsin; the Gophers just need more oomph on offense. Where are the playmakers? Still, this is an ascending program with a bright future.
Last week: 4
Next: at Michigan State

7. Penn State (6-5, 3-4). The Nittany Lions have now played three overtime games in Big Ten action. They won the first two; this time, they lost. Is Penn State out of gas? It looks that way. But it has been a great effort once again by Bill O’Brien and Co.
Last week: 7
Next: at Wisconsin

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8. Michigan (7-4, 3-4). The offensive issues persist, as the Wolverines blew a 21-7 lead at Iowa. That’s four losses in the last six games. And the wins were vs. Indiana in a shootout and in triple overtime at Northwestern. Yes, the wheels are officially off. But a win vs. Ohio State would wash away a lot of these bad feelings.
Last week: 8
Next: vs. Ohio State

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9. Indiana (4-7, 2-5). The blowout loss at Ohio State officially eliminated the Hoosiers from bowl contention. The defense has been horrid all season. Now, the offense is struggling, scoring just an aggregate 17 points the last two games. Playing Wisconsin and Ohio State will do that to an offense.
Last week: 10
Next: Purdue

10. Northwestern (4-7, 0-7). That’s seven losses in a row. And, get this: The Wildcats have gone eight quarters in regulation without a touchdown. Injuries have proven to be ruinous for Northwestern in what has gone from a season of promise to one to forget.
Last week: 9
Next: at Illinois

[ MORE: Gerry DiNardo tweets his Week 13 Sunday Ruminations ]

11. Illinois (4-7, 1-6). The Fighting Illini can exhale, as they ended a 20-game Big Ten losing streak. It also was Tim Beckman’s first league triumph. With a visit from Northwestern next, maybe Illinois can finish with two wins in a row.
Last week: 11
Next: vs. Northwestern

12. Purdue (1-10, 0-7). It’s nine losses in a row for the Boilermakers. There really isn’t anything else to say other than: The year can’t end soon enough.
Last week: 12
Next: at Indiana

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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Your Opinion?
Show Comments (12 Comments)
shookwriter27 on 11/24/2013 @ 1:41pm EDT Said:

Michigan and Northwestern have been disappointments this season.

Todd on 11/24/2013 @ 5:52pm EDT Said:

How does the Gophers drop 2 places? they are behind a team they beat and a team that got crunched by Wiscy… minnesota is still the 4th best team in the Conf.

fowhit on 11/24/2013 @ 7:40pm EDT Said:

Everytime I am assigned to write about little brother I realize just how lucky they were to beat Michigan this year

Joe on 11/24/2013 @ 9:03pm EDT Said:

Michigan State VS Ohio State will be a really good game. Yeah I know Michigan State will be the underdog going in to this game but I really do think Ohio will have some trouble and I think the winner will be decided by turnovers the team that makes the least mistakes will win.

Doug on 11/24/2013 @ 10:24pm EDT Said:

well shook, Michigan did exactly what I thought they would do, Hoke is in way over his head.

Spartan in Los Angeles on 11/25/2013 @ 8:07am EDT Said:

That sounds like sour grapes to me

Doug on 11/25/2013 @ 10:43am EDT Said:

drew is mad that Michigan is awful AGAIN, and that MSU will beat Michigan AGAIN, next year, that must be rough to have a crappy job at a crappy paper, you must miss your buddy wobbie parker

Boyd Tracy on 11/25/2013 @ 3:28pm EDT Said:

Wisconsin did not lose the game vs. Arizona State; the officials did. I realize you can’t change the official record and had it bee a conference gem the los would be a loss as far as conference standings. BUT when it comes to looking at bowl considerations and national rankings you can quite easily count it as the win it should have been instead of as a loss that it wasn’t. And unfortunately that same official error is having an adverse effect on every team Wisconsin has played also since a win or loss vs Wisconsin is viewed as being against a team ranked 5-6 places lower than what Wisconsin would otherwise been.

David Voss on 11/25/2013 @ 4:31pm EDT Said:

Iowa-Nebraska will be a slug fest again. The Hawks defense has improved over the season and they run the jet sweep as well as anyone….something Nebraska has had trouble stopping. Rudock looks and sounds like a senior QB and shook off the 3 INT’s to win the game.

That said….the “rivalry” has the same feel of the rivalry between the Hammer and the Nail or the ladybug and the bulldozer…..Nebraska wins again 17-13.

Dennis Antonelli on 11/25/2013 @ 5:24pm EDT Said:

To fowhit: The Spartans were lucky to beat Meatchicken??? What game were you watching? Does minus 48 ring any bells that’s hardly luck my friend

HawkeyeUI93 on 11/25/2013 @ 5:52pm EDT Said:

Todd, Of course that team that allegedly got “crushed” by Wisky [and you think in unfairly ranked ahead of you] demolished Minnesota in Minneapolis and just beat a second team that manhandled the Golden Gophers …

Bruce Hecox on 11/25/2013 @ 9:53pm EDT Said:

Todd, Minnesota 4th best, what are you smoking? Don’t try abc scenarios Minnesota ruched for 30 yards against Iowa, at home.