Brent Yarina, Senior Editor, October 22, 2012

With Week 8 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: Week 9 Power Rankings | Week 9 Bowl Projections]

1. Braxton Miller, QB, Ohio State – Miller had a rough day Saturday, both statistically and physically. The good news: The star quarterback, who looked like he suffered a serious injury on a scramble late in the third quarter (Watch the run), was released from the hospital symptom free.
Week 8 stats: 9-20, 113 yards, 0 TD, 1 INT; 12 car., 47 yards, 1 TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 1

2. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin – It's been vintage Ball the past three weeks. A week after running for a career-high 247 yards and setting the Big Ten record for career touchdowns, the 2011 Heisman Trophy finalist racked up, perhaps, the quietest 166 yards and two scores you've seen in a while.
Week 8 stats: 24 car., 166 yards, 2 TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 2

Matt McGloin
US Presswire

3. Matt McGloin, QB, Penn State – OK, this is getting ridiculous. McGloin, who threw 14 interceptions the last two seasons in split duty, has two interceptions on 259 attempts. That's an interception every 129.5 attempts. By comparison, USC's Matt Barkley is at a pick every 35.5 attempts. McGloin threw two more scoring strikes at Iowa, too (Watch TD No. 1).
Week 8 stats: 26-38, 289 yards, 2 TD, 0 INT; 5 car., 26 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 3

4. Venric Mark, RB, Northwestern – Mark left Saturday's defeat to Nebraska early, but the exciting junior still eclipsed the 100-yard plateau for the fourth time in the last five games and scored a touchdown for the fifth consecutive game (Watch TD). Let's hope he's OK for the Iowa game.
Week 8 stats: 16 car., 118 yards, 1 TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 4

5. Taylor Martinez, QB, Nebraska – As  Tom Dienhart said, referencing David Gilbert's comment: "If you wanna call it skipping rocks on a pond, go ahead. Martinez looked like a champion rock skipper on this day." Forget Martinez's mechanics, the junior was brilliant in rallying the Huskers at Northwestern (Watch game-winning TD).
Week 8 stats: 27-39, 342 yards, 3 TD, 0 INT; 18 car., 65 yards, 1 TD | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: NR

6. Denard Robinson, QB, Michigan – Robinson didn't light up Michigan State, as had the previous two opponents. But he limited turnovers (1) against a top-tier defense, orchestrated the game-winning drive in the final seconds and beat the rival Spartans for the first time in his decorated career.
Week 8 stats: 14-29, 163 yards 0 TD, 1 INT; 20 car., 96 yards | 2012 stats
Previous ranking: No. 6

Next in line: Allen Robinson, WR, Penn State
Dropped out: Mark Weisman, RB, Iowa (No. 5)

[RELATED: See who won Week 8 Big Ten Game Balls]

1. Michael Mauti, LB, Penn State – Plain and simple, Mauti just keeps making big plays. In Saturday night's rout at Iowa, the senior leader picked off his third pass – one off the Big Ten lead – and tallied another sack.
Week 8 stats: 8 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 sack, 1 INT
Previous ranking: No. 1

2. Jake Ryan, LB, Michigan – It's been an incredible past few weeks for Ryan, who followed up his Big Ten Defensive Player of the Week performance with a clutch 10-tackle, one-sack afternoon in Michigan's rivalry win over Michigan State.
Week 8 stats: 10 tackles, 1 TFL, 1 FF, 1 sack
Previous ranking: No. 4

Jake Ryan
US Presswire

3. Kawann Short, DT, Purdue – Short and the struggling Purdue defense limited Ohio State, which averaged 57.5 points in its previous two games, to 29 points in a painful overtime defeat.
Week 8 stats: 3 tackles, 1 FR
Previous ranking: No. 2

4. Chris Borland, LB, Wisconsin – Borland is one of the key cogs of Wisconsin's grossly underrated defense, and the standout linebacker continued to makes plays Saturday.
Week 8 stats: 6 tackles, 0.5 TFL
Previous ranking: No. 3

5. Jordan Hill, DT, Penn StateThe linebackers get most of the attention at Penn State, naturally, but don't forget about Hill, who terrorized Iowa for nine tackles and a sack in Saturday night's dominating win.
Week 8 stats:
9 tackles, 2 TFL, 1 sack
Previous ranking:

6. Johnathan Hankins, DT, Ohio State – Hankins is a huge body who commands double teams and creates opportunities for the rest of Ohio State's defense. But he also can make plays, evidenced by his eight tackles against Purdue.
Week 8 stats: 8 tackles, 1 blocked kick
Previous ranking: NR

Next in line: Mike Taylor, LB, Wisconsin
Dropped out: Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State (No. 5); Anthony Hitchens, LB, Iowa (No. 6) 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.