Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, October 1, 2012

With Week 5 behind us, it's time for my latest Big Ten Player Rankings. Again, I'm doing these a little different this year. Whereas I used to rank the top 10 players – a practice that was tough due to all the talent on both sides of the ball – I'll rank the top six offensive and defensive players each week.

Why six of both? Because it opens up the field, plus there are six teams in each division. So, consider offense the Legends Division and the defense the Leaders Division, or vice versa.

[RELATED: Tom Dienhart's Week 6 Power Rankings]

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State – If there was any doubt Miller's impressive start was the result of playing weak defenses, Saturday's all-around effort at Michigan State showed the sophomore is a legit Heisman Trophy candidate – oh wait, did Geno Smith just throw another touchdown?
Week 5 stats: 16-23, 179 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT; 23 car., 136 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 1

2. Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern – Northwestern tallied all of two 100-yard rushing performances last season. Thanks to Saturday's 139-yard effort, Mark owns three 100-yard days in five games. Don't expect him to stay on three for long, either.
Week 5 stats: 29 car., 139 yards, 1 TD; 2 rec., 8 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 3

Taylor Martinez

3. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska – It's hard to pick out Martinez's most surprising stat this season. Is it the 68 percent completion percentage? Maybe the 11 touchdowns? Or the one interception? You get the point, the junior is having a bounceback season.
Week 5 stats: 17-28, 182 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 8 car., 100 yards, 1 TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 5

4. Le'Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State – Bell's game-high eight receptions would be great in a PPR fantasy league, but it's further proof Michigan State's much-talked-about receivers continue to struggle.
Week 5 stats: 17 car., 45 yards 1 TD; 8 rec., 58 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 2

5. Mark Weisman, RB, Iowa – Weisman for Heisman. Fear the stiff arm. Whichever moniker you prefer, Weisman is getting it done, averaging 169 rushing yards and 2.3 touchdowns the last three weeks. Now, the walk-on gets a week off before taking on Michigan State's defense.
Week 5 stats: 21 car., 177 yards, 1 TD; 3 rec., 12 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 6

6. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State – What's going on here? Not only is McGloin picking apart secondaries on a weekly basis, he's become a reliable finisher near the goal line. If you're not keeping score at home, McGloin has two rushing touchdowns each of the last two weeks.
Week 5 stats: 18-30, 211 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT; 2 rush TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: NR

Next in line: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
Dropped out: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State

[RELATED: See who won Week 5 Big Ten Game Balls]

1. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue – No Big Ten defender impacts the game in more ways than Short. The senior displayed his wide array of skills Saturday, making several plays in the Marshall backfield and blocking yet another kick.
Week 5 stats: 3 TFL, 1 FF, 1 pass breakup, blocked FG, 1 sack
Previous ranking: T-No. 1

2. Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State – Saturday's productive two-interception effort earned Mauti the Walter Camp Defensive Player of the Week. Keep up this kind of play, and the senior may just win Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year.
Week 5 stats: 6 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 INT, 0.5 sacks
Previous ranking: No. 3

Kawann Short

3. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin – Borland followed up one of the best games of his career with another extraordinary effort – even if it came in a loss. The two fumble recoveries were great, but it's a tackle (Watch it) everyone should remember.
Week 5 stats: 9 tackles, 1 TFL, 2 FR
Previous ranking: No. 5

4. Derrick Wells, S, Minnesota – The improved Minnesota defense failed in its first true test away from TCF Bank Stadium. But don't blame Wells, who broke up two James Vandenberg passes to add to his strong start.
Week 5 stats:
4 tackles, 2 pass breakups
Previous ranking:
TNo. 1

5. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State – Hankins and company limited Le'Veon Bell, the Big Ten's leading rusher, to 45 rushing yards (2.6 yards per carry), 107.5 below his season average entering the game.
Week 5 stats: 3 tackles
Previous ranking: No. 6

6. Will Compton, LB, Nebraska – Compton played a huge role in helping shut down Wisconsin's offense in the second half, a performance that allowed the Huskers to rally from 17 points down and card the victory.
Week 5 stats: 10 tackles, 3 TFL, 1 sack, 2 pass breakups
Previous ranking: NR

Next in line: A.J. Hitchens, LB, Iowa
Dropped out: Ra'Shede Hageman, DT, Minnesota web editor Brent Yarina covers football and men's basketball for He writes the popular uniform feature "Clothes Call," which also focuses on the latest cosmetic changes across Big Ten arenas and stadiums. Read all of his latest work here. You can subscribe to Yarina's RSS feed and follow him on Twitter @BTNBrentYarina.